Paper Heart


On “You Made It Rain,” the song that opens her debut album, Risa Binder gets caught between cynicism and belief. As her crush leans in for a kiss, the skies open up—and while she wants to live in a world where such things magically happen, she’s suspicious. “It was so perfect, like the world was a movie set,” the Maryland native sings, perhaps revealing a bit of where she’s been. Before moving to Brooklyn, where she now lives, Binder studied songwriting with Nashville pros. Once in New York, she split her time doing open-mic gigs and auditioning for Broadway shows—so she knows about theatricality, storytelling and what goes on behind the scenes. And yet on these 10 tunes, all of which she wrote or co-wrote, she reveals the real person behind the pretty face and radio-ready voice. Binder believes in serendipity and second chances, and on every track (except perhaps “Feel Like Myself,” her self-empowered Kelly Clarkson rock-out moment) she comes across as fresh-faced and innocent. Paper Heart is recommended for fans of Colbie Caillat’s earworm pop, Taylor Swift’s Top 40 twang and songs that, however expertly crafted, feel as spontaneously romantic as a kiss in the rain.

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