Published Oct 02, 2018It was supposed to be so easy.
Raffaela Weyman, aka pop artist Ralph, just needed "ten songs that I loved" and her debut album, A Good Girl, would be in the can. For a prolific writer like Weyman, it should have been a cinch.
"But," the Toronto singer tells Exclaim!, "you can write ten songs, but if you keep going to sessions, you keep writing more songs, then all of a sudden it's 'I like this song more than this song and if we have this song, it doesn't make sense to have this song — they're about similar topics.'"
In the year following the release of her self-titled debut EP last spring, Weyman travelled to Europe and Los Angeles where she wrote with a number of different producers as well as working with regular collaborators Mike Wise and Nathan Ferraro at home in Toronto.
"The more sessions you have, the more of a challenge it is," she says. "I have a lot of songs and a lot of songs that I loved." Ultimately though, it came down to what sounded like a body of work.
Like her EP, the songs on A Good Girl are about relationships, a theme that Weyman admits is becoming a personal cliché. "It's kind of my thing." Buoyed by her keen sense of humour and knack for storytelling, the six tracks on her EP took aim at those who had done her wrong over shimmering '80s synth-pop production. For her album, Weyman wanted to expand her lyrical horizons, detailing relationships of all stripes, both with yourself and with others, yet retaining her unique point of view.
"It's about exploring the moments that you've been hurtful as well," she says. "You end things, but then you also feel sad." Weyman and her producers similarly played with the record's sound, adding hints of R&B and dance music to her palette. "I see the album as a matured version of the EP."
Though she's built her name in the pop realm, Weyman grew up in a house filled with her parent's folk records and cut her teeth writing and playing folk music. A trained singer, she opts for an effects-free singing style even if it means that a perceptible twang, a hangover from her folk days, sometimes rears its head.
"I prefer to leave those little quirks in to give it character," she says. "If you're listening to me on the radio, you're like 'Oh yeah, that's Ralph,' instead of saying, 'I don't know. That could be anyone from Bebe Rexha to Selena Gomez.'"
A Good Girl certainly puts Weyman on the level of artists like Rexha and Gomez in terms of her craft, but Weyman is rightfully daunted by their fame. "To get to that level where you just can't live a normal life, you can't go to the grocery store, your friends don't want to hang out with you because they don't want to be in the spotlight, I don't think that's something I'm striving to achieve," she says. "I just want to be able to live a good life and be comfortable financially, be able to do music and have people hear it, respect it and respect me as an artist."
A Good Girl is out now 604 Records.