Toronto natives to debut new material at M for Montreal this week
Canadian singer-songwriter Ralph grew up listening to the 70s music her parents would play around the house. She was later drawn to 90s and contemporary pop. So it comes as a bit of a surprise to her when people say her music seems inspired by the 80s.
The Toronto native, who describes her music as “pop, synth, disco-soul,” explained that the reason her songs have been dubbed as “80s-esque” is probably due to the prevalence of synthesizers in her most recent EP. Although she said she “can appreciate elements of the 80s” in her music, Ralph wants to progress toward a more contemporary sound and experiment with genres she is more naturally drawn to.
The singer released her self-titled EP in March and has since been working with a handful of writers and producers to expand her artistry and highlight perspectives outside of her own in her music. Ralph said that before putting out this EP, she hadn’t realized all of its tracks dealt with common themes of love and relationships. Most of the singer’s creative inspiration comes from personal experiences, whether from her own life or that of others. “I don’t really know how to write songs that aren’t personal,” she said. “I like to be as honest as I can in my music because if it’s honest, people will understand it.”
Ralph recently began working with fellow Toronto musicians, The Darcys. She approached them with a song she wrote called “Screenplay,” hoping to develop it into a duet between exes. The song describes the all-too-familiar situation of seeing an ex in public and pretending their presence doesn’t affect you. Ralph explained that The Darcys helped add a male perspective to the song, which provided depth and made it relatable.
After completing “Screenplay,” Ralph and The Darcys continued to write together and cultivate a strong creative relationship. “It came about very naturally, in the sense that their music is similar in theme and that we [also] liked each other,” Ralph said. The possibility of going on tour together at the end of 2017 came up, and it seemed like the best move for everyone. Ralph said they want to “see as many people as possible” and share new material with their combined audiences, both of which continue to grow.
Ralph is working with Canadian producer Stint, who is based in Los Angeles, as well as a team of songwriters from various studios in anticipation of her full-length album. The album is slated to be released next year. Ralph said that, although she is extremely grateful for the male artists who have had a hand in developing her sound, she is currently seeking to collaborate with more women. “As much as I love men and I support men, I want to keep working with as many females in the industry as I can,” the singer said. “If [I] can employ women in music and grow those careers, I want to.”
Ralph and The Darcys will be performing at Petit Campus on Nov. 17 as part of the local music festival M for Montreal. Their tour will conclude with a show in Waterloo, Ont., on Nov. 18.