Ralph shares the top five inspirations behind her debut album ‘A Good Girl’
After captivating the hearts and ears of pop-heads worldwide, Toronto artist RALPH recently dropped her debut album in the form of A GOOD GIRL, via Yunizon Records. A ten-track collection ranging from our personal fave ‘Tables Have Turned’ to unheard cuts like ‘Bedroom Eyes’, A GOOD GIRL explores a year of great change for Ralph, expressed through disco-infused synth-pop with a hearty dash of R&B vibes.
A GOOD GIRL comes after a year of tremendous success for Ralph since her self-titled EP, and paves the way for an even more jam-packed year ahead. After scoring spots in new music playlists from Spotify and Apple Music, as well as extensive love and coverage from blogs and radio stations across the world, she’s about to embark on a massive 25 date tour across the US, Canada and the UK. The recently dropped vid for ‘Long Distance Lover’ shows exactly why she’s found such success; it’s glittery throwback pop full of personality and passion without taking itself too seriously.
Ralph says that A GOOD GIRL is a collection of stories and emotions following her 2017 debut EP. To get a little deeper into the themes of the album, we asked Ralph for the top five experiences that inspired her debut album.
Inspiration #1: My Longest Relationship to Date
I’ve dated a ton, but I’ve never really done serious, long term monogamy. Not because I was adverse to it, but just because it never really presented itself – usually my relationships lasted about 3-4 months, or I would be dating someone in a casual, open way. Over the course of the album, I met someone and ended up dating them for almost a year. It obviously led to a lot of new feelings and situations; intense happiness and a sense of stability (which was a new sensation for me) but also a lot of fear and self-questioning. I think I’ve always struggled with this idea that dating someone seriously can potentially take away focus from your craft and self-work, which has always been so important to me. I don’t want to lose myself or my alone time, because I need that to be a happy and healthy human. I touch on that in the song ‘For Yourself’, which talks about loving yourself and never needing anyone else to make you feel whole. But, I also wanted to try giving myself to this person who was kind and loving and understanding, because that’s what growing up is right? Trying new, scary things that make you vulnerable. That’s largely what ‘Tables Have Turned’ is about.
Inspiration #2: The Break-Up
After dating for almost a year, I had a freak out and ended things with my boyfriend. It was devastating because I hugely cared for him…but I also felt this immense pressure and anxiety building inside of me. I was feeling like I had a lot of personal things to deal with and couldn’t do it while focusing on someone else’s needs and desires. I saw my songwriting slipping and my fitness regime (which keeps my anxiety at bay) getting sacrificed, and I could feel myself pulling away from him, which in turn was hurting him and wasn’t fair. I spent 3 months crying and doing a lot of night runs (sometimes I’d cry and run at the same time), during which I also wrote the song ‘Cereal’, which is actually my favourite track on the album. It’s sort of brutal to listen to, because it so vividly takes me back to that sad, broken
place, but I also think that’s what makes it so special. I’m back together with my boyfriend now, the space was so hugely beneficial for both of us and I think we’re stronger and way more honest and open then before. I played him ‘Cereal’ recently and found myself getting really nervous, I think I was afraid for him to hear it and hate it because it was a reminder of a really tough summer. But I think he appreciates the raw beauty of the lyrics and melodies, and also he understands that he’s with a songwriter – writing is how I deal with my emotions, so you sort of have to accept that if you’re going to be a part of my life.
Inspiration #3: Pop Gods Ari & Demi
Let’s be honest, Arianna Grande and Demi Lovato have amazing pop albums. The structure, the hooks, the production…it’s unreal. Ari’s ‘Dangerous Woman’ is an insane banger and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve listened to it and analyzed the entirety of the track. I also
love ‘Thinking Bout You’, which is the last song on ‘Dangerous Woman’ and is a b-side beauty. It’s this stunning love song that is slow and although not a radio single, shines because of it’s honesty and lyrical simplicity. It also inspired ‘Cereal’, because I loved the idea of a closer song that felt like an intentional end to an album. Ari’s new album wasn’t out when I was writing my album, but ‘God Is a Woman’ is epic and ‘Breathin’ is my new personal mantra song when I’m feeling stressed or if I have to fly
somewhere (I hate flying, FYI) Demi’s album ‘Tell Me You Love Me’ was a huge reference point for me in the studio, I would often use her songs as an example of pop brilliance – they had energy, catchy choruses, crazy production and clever lyrical content. ‘Daddy Issues’ is so clever and ‘You Don’t Do It For Me’ has such great melody lines. I think they’re both exemplary pop artists who make GOOD pop and continue to play with their style, which is something I admire and strive to do with my own artistry.
Inspiration #4: Mental Health Awareness
It’s been really amazing to watch the shifting conversation regarding mental health over the last couple years. The taboo seems to be lifting and this encouragement to vocalize your personal stories and struggles has become increasingly present. Celebrities, politicians, educators, friends, family – everyone is becoming more comfortable talking because it heals and makes us realize we’re not alone in our struggles. I’ve personally spent a lot of time and energy over last two years becoming more comfortable with my issues (anxiety and 10 years of eating disorders), talking to my family and doctor and even publicly discussing them, which was huge because I was so secretive for so long. It’s been intimidating but also really cathartic, plus I’ve had so many people reach out with their own stories. I’ve always used writing as a therapeutic tool, whenever I feel anxious or overwhelmed I try to write out my thoughts, so this album was hugely inspired by that – the songs were created as a way of self-healing. Additionally, ‘Dark Clouds’ was written for a friend who was going through a rough round of depression. She wanted to feel better but just didn’t know how, and I wanted so badly to help her but mental health is more than just hugs and back rubs – it can be deep and terrifying. I wrote the song so that she could listen to it and hopefully register how deeply she was loved and valued. I hope the song is a reminder for all my listeners that they are loved and supported and never alone.
Inspiration #5: Money, Excitement and Hope
When you’re a new artist, money is hard. You DO have to spend money to make money, it’s true, but then you find yourself eating dinner at your parents house 4 nights of the week. It’s exciting, because anything is possible and everyday is an opportunity…but it’s also stressful. I think when you’re creating an album and putting out new material, whether it’s songs, videos or photos, you just hope that something will stick. Or maybe Beyonce will hear your song in a starbucks and will post it on her insta story and BOOM suddenly your career blows up and money isn’t a looming worry anymore. This album was born of that bundle of emotions – blind faith, hope and will to succeed. The song ‘Gimme’ reflects on that in a tongue and cheek way – I reference a Chanel choker because I actually do own one. I bought it as a gift to myself two years ago, because I had worked so hard and released my EP and felt like I deserved a reward. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt guilty and almost sold the damn thing, but I’m too proud. It would feel like defeat and I’m far from done. The song talks about having Chanel chokers and good red wine because I hope to one day own both those things comfortably, without any guilt. All this to say…*wink wink nudge nudge* buy my album and stream those songs, guys! Hahahaha!
INTRO BY MAX LEWIS