From the infectious tunes she writes, to gorgeous threads that have landed her in the pages of ELLE magazine, RALPH doesn’t half-step when paying attention to detail.
Case in point: Flashbacks and Fantasies, the catchy title of her EP, that arrives on November 17th. “All the songs deal with the idea of yearning for something that isn’t there anymore, or that never was, so I wanted a title that would unify those themes,” says RALPH (a.k.a. Raffaela Weyman). “For example, ‘Last Time’ is about seeing your ex and having an intimate encounter with them, and there’s another song about knowing there’s someone out there for you who you haven’t found yet. I think there’s an aspect of flashbacks and fantasy in both of them.”
And there’s definitely an aspect of confessional songwriting, as it pertains to the fun and messy world of relationships. RALPH says that while everything she writes is autobiographical, she doesn’t feel vulnerable sharing her experiences with millions of strangers.
“I don’t worry about people knowing about the ins and outs of my relationships, but I do think about how a song might affect the person that it’s about,” she says. “For example, when I released the song ‘Gravity’ [earlier this year], I was nervous that an ex would be upset, and accuse me of airing dirty laundry.” But, she adds quickly, “If someone is with me, they should be aware of the fact that the delights and traumas of my life are going to come out in my songs.”
By all accounts, RALPH’s personal stories are resonating strongly with music fans. To date, the 27-year-old singer has earned more than 26 million streams on Spotify, four million on Apple Music, and her videos have racked up more than 1.5 million views. She played the Mariposa Folk Festival this past summer, appeared on CTV’s national eTalk show, and opened Canadian tour dates for Carly Rae Jepsen. Credit those impressive numbers and mainstream reach to her versatile, soulful voice – she’s a classically trained vocalist – and her “glossy pop.” It’s a term she prefers to “electro pop,” even though synths play a huge role in her super-catchy tunes.
“The delights and traumas of my life are going to come out in my songs.”
On Flashbacks and Fantasies, RALPH is moving further away from being pigeonholed as “the singer who releases mid-tempo bangers by experimenting with things I hadn’t tried before,” she says. “There’s a slow R&B song on it, an anthemic Robyn-like track, and a House-inspired dance jam. I hate the idea of being predictable so, yeah, the new record will feel different, but it’s recognizably RALPH.”
While RALPH’s music takes lethal aim at dancefloors, she doesn’t shy away from spicing her pop with social commentary. “There’s a song on the new EP called ‘Headphone Season,’ and it’s about when a stranger asks me to give them a smile or to smile more,” she says. “I hate that because it’s someone telling me what to do with my face or body. At the end of the song you hear me saying, ‘Here’s an idea. How about you never tell women what to do with their bodies?’”
Last August, RALPH helped organize, and performed at, a pro-choice benefit in Toronto – one that she says raised $17,000 for the Bay Centre for Birth Control at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, and the National Network of Abortion Funds in the U.S.
“I’m constantly inspired by the increasing number of women who are sharing their personal stories, like [those of] being sexually assaulted in the workplace,” she says. “I write songs with social commentary because I want all of us to be more aware, and sensitive, and respectful.”