Photo credit: Mariah Hamilton
There are elements of vintage pop glamour to RALPH’s (née Raffa Weyman) music; 80’s beats with silky smooth vocals about heartbreak, desire and most importantly, self-love.
RALPH first introduced herself in 2015 with “Trouble,” an effortless fusion of danceable, disco-inspired instrumentation and bitter-sweet pop sensibilities.
Subsequent buzzy releases saw RALPH stretching into other genres, like the country-blues tinged “Young Heart Run Free” and the hip hop / pop crossover track “Girl Next Door” featuring fellow Canadian artist and rapper TOBi. RALPH’s hard to categorize, but counts Stevie Nicks, Donna Summer, Cher and Sade as influences and it comes through in her poetic lyricism.
Today, RALPH shares her first single of 2019 and the first from an upcoming EP due in October, “Gravity,” along with an animated music video. The earworm-worthy track leans into an indelible 90s house groove interspersed with funky, syncopated keys; carefully crafted beats; and RALPH’s crystalline-as-ever vocal.
RALPH says about writing “Gravity,” “When I was younger, Electric Circus was the coolest thing happening in Toronto. I would try to stay up late so I could watch the furry cowboy hats and tube tops on TV, and I truly wanted to grow up so I could dance at EC. This song is an ode to 90’s house with a contemporary pop flair. I want to make people dance to this one.”
The “Gravity” video was animated by NYC-via-Toronto multidisciplinary artist Amika Cooper (AKA Blackpowerbarbie), who is well-versed in illustration, collage, 2D animation. The technicolor video finds cartoon RALPH navigating outer space among playfully nostalgic 90’s motifs.
RALPH notes about the video collaboration, “I’ve admired Amika’s work for awhile. There’s a strength and beauty in the women she creates, so I reached out to see if she’d be interested in illustrating a video for me and creating a cartoon Ralph. My vision was a combination of Sailor Moon meets Gucci animation campaign meets Anime meets Britney Spears’s ‘Oops’ video and the results are perfect.”
“Gravity” is RALPH’s first release since her 10-track debut 2018 album A Good Girl, which was released via 604 Records. The first single, “September Fades” sees RALPH reflect on her experience of taking advantage of a man’s love, captured in a Twin Peaks-inspired music video that’s shot in the “Evergreen Motel.”
If “September Fades” is about taking advantage of a man’s love, then the track “Tables Have Turned” is the aftermath. Opening with twinkling retro synths and soft strum guitar, RALPH contemplates how things have changed from the beginning of a blossoming September love, but ultimately embraces the release from the competition in the cathartic chorus.
On “Girl Next Door” featuring TOBi, RALPH turns the lyrics further inward, ruminating on her musical ascent, and mirrors the struggle rising artists often face in remaining grounded.
“If you ever develop an ego and start acting like an asshole, your friends and family are the ones who remind you of who you really are,” RALPH says of the track. “That was the idea behind the lyrics, talking about potential change but acknowledging that you’ll always be the same person no matter what.”
A Good Girl, which has amassed over 6 million Spotify streams to date, granted RALPH a nomination for Best New Canadian Artist for iHeartRadio’s Much Music Video Awards and a 24-date international tour.