RALPH IS A GOOD GIRL ON HER SMASHING DEBUT

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photos / Jacqueline Ashton

We have all been waiting for Canadian popstress Ralph to release a synth-infused full body album since her addicting self-titled debut EP was released last spring.  Singles on that EP like Cold To The Touch” and “Tease”, and “Lit The Fire”  jumped unto playlists favorites like literal and pun intendable,  wildfire. Those flames have not been put out, in fact, they spread into hearts of industry faves and a rabid fan base with no signs of being put out.
 
We talk with RALPH about putting out her debut, being pops new favorite ‘Good Girl’ next door,  and what this babe on fire has coming up next.
 

 
 
You recently (jokingly) tweeted you were looking for someone to pretend to be you while you did interviews so you could watch ‘Insecure’ and drink hot toddies. So… Is this really you, Ralph!?
Haha, yes, it’s really me. Would a fake Ralph know that real Ralph has a bat-shaped birthmark on her left thigh? I think not.
 
 
I heard you’re very much inspired by the ’80s, which you can certainly hear in the music! What are some of your favorite songs, movies, even fashion from the era?
Musically, my favorite 80s artists/songs would be Blondie, Whitney Houston, the Eurythmics, Madonna (‘For a Girl’ is an underrated track), PRINCE obviously, and Tears for Fears ‘Head Over Heels’. Movie wise, I’ve always been obsessed with ‘Risky Business’, ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day off’ (Sloan is the babe we all want to be), ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ and ‘Heathers’. I love these movies because of the characters and stories but also, because of the outfits. Bold shoulders, teased bangs, denim and oversized trenches….love it all.
“Weather” is such a perfect end-of-summer bop, and reminds me so much of Sandy and Danny from ‘Grease’ and those will they, won’t they romances of summer. What there a particular experience in *your* life that inspired the lyrics?
I’ll be honest and say that we were obviously inspired by Grease when we wrote those opening lyrics, “summer nights, they happened so fast”. There wasn’t a particular experience or person this summer that I was thinking about, but I’ve definitely had my share of summer “will they won’t they”s in the past. I remember two years ago, I had been seeing someone all summer and it had been hot and fun and full of adventure, but once September rolled around I think we both felt this palpable change. It felt like this crossroad had all of a sudden appeared. I referenced that memory a little when I was writing ‘Weather’.


 
What’s the most exciting thing about finally having your debut album out?
New material and new music videos! I want my fans to always feel intrigued and involved in my music, and I think having new songs and visuals helps keep that interest alive. I’m also excited to share my album because I think it showcases new sounds and growth in my musical style. I’m looking forward to feedback from my fans.
 
 
What’s the message behind naming the album ‘A Good Girl’?
The album name is a little tongue in cheek, because I don’t think anyone is “good” or “bad”. Humans are too complicated to be thrown into such limiting categories – I know I am. The songs all tell different, personal stories and each one varies in content – sometimes I’m the one who is hurt, sometimes I take ownership for hurting others. I wanted the name to ironically reflect on that idea of a complex human who can’t be defined, the album art also mirrors this idea with the double-sided images of me serious and then winking.
 
 
Was there a song on the album that was particularly challenging to create, whether lyrically or musically?
Yeah, ‘Cereal’ was a hard one to write. It came from a sad place (obviously, since we all know the songs are usually autobiographical) and was challenging to lyrically tackle. I wanted to truly and honestly summarize my feelings post-breakup with my boyfriend, and I wanted to do it in a way that felt unique and fresh – there are so many songs about heartache, I wanted mine to revolve around a relatable concept that hadn’t been used a million times before. The idea of cereal happened naturally, I was telling my friend about crying into my cereal that morning and she was like “that’s good. Use that.” I’m so happy I pushed through the emotional challenges I faced writing the song though because I love it now and feel so deeply connected to it.
 
 
You also dabbled with hip-hop on ‘Girl Next Door,’ which really expanded your sound into new territory. How was working with TOBI on that?
I wanted to insert more RnB and soul into the album because those are two of my favorite genres, so ‘Girl Next Door’ was a really fun song for me to create. I reached out to TOBI because his lyrics grabbed me; he’s such an exceptional writer and his melodic rap/singing style is so special and captivating. We immediately hit it off and he loved the idea behind the song, he had actually written a similar track so he had words that fit perfectly into his verse. Collabing and performing with him is awesome, his energy is infectious – he’s gonna go far.
 
 
On that track, you sing, “Change is gonna come / I know it, we know / But you better believe I’m still the girl next door.” When that change *does* come in your life, what do you hope or want that to look like?
Haha, geez, good question. I would love to be financially comfortable and able to live off music. I would love to be able to afford a big, sunny apartment in Toronto (rent is HIGH here!), I would love to send my parents on a trip to Italy (they have been SO generous with me over the years), I’d like to hire all my friends who have worked for me for free and pay them the fees that they deserve for their time and talent. I would also like to use my success to benefit others, whether that’s contributing financially to non-profits and organizations that I support, or using my Ralph persona to help raise awareness or funding for said groups.
 
 
As someone in the Toronto music scene, who are some other Canada-based artists who you feel are really killing it?
A L L I E, Garcons, Bambii, Hoodlem, Mormor, Charlotte Day Wilson, Tika, Jaunt, Frigs.
 
You were nominated for Best New Artist at the iHeartRadio MMVAs this year, which was such a huge moment! What was that like?
It was wicked! Being nominated for an MMVA is pretty trippy, I used to go to the awards when I was a teen and scream in the audience at Shaggy and Nelly Furtado. Very odd being on the other side now, but I think it shows growth and increased interest in my music, right? That’s pretty great!
 
 
I know topics like mental health and women’s empowerment are incredibly important to you. Why is advocacy such a critical part of what you do as an artist?
I think if you’re going to be a public figure, you may as well use that platform to speak out about things you’re passionate about. Especially now, when strong voices are so valuable and needed within our society. I speak about mental health and eating disorders and womxn because I have personal experience and powerful feelings about them all. I hope that in speaking about these topics, which can be uncomfortable and awkward, it encourages and empowers listeners, or at least makes them feel less alone.
 
 
What can fans expect after the album drops on the 28th? Will we be seeing you on tour?
Yes! I’m heading to San Francisco and LA at the beginning of October, then the UK, Paris and NYC after that. I’m also heading off on a 6-week cross Canada tour with Ria Mae and Neon Dreams. Check out my insta for dates and info! @songsbyralph

 

CONNECT WITH RALPH:

FACEBOOK // INSTA // ITUNES

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