The release of Ralph's debut album, A Good Girl, cements her sleek, melodic sound previously heard on her fun, and infectious self-titled EP. The album take its listeners on the distances from the first glimpse of infatuation to the sometimes, inevitable heartache. As a longtime friend of VSP, we sat down with Ralph to talk about her writing process, her favourite style icons, and the future of pop music.
During the recording of ‘A Good Girl’, what were your biggest influences?
Over the 16 months that I wrote the album, a lot happened - friendships changed and I spent more time alone, I fell into my first long-term relationship and then ended it. I became aware and more comfortable talking about mental health, body issues and self-love, and I started to see my music gaining more and more attention, which was exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. I think those themes all contributed to the album. All the ships - friendships and relationships with partners, yourself, and your career.
How would you describe your writing process?
I’m inspired by anything and everything - an overheard conversation, a moving scene in a film, a character in a book, a text message - so I’m constantly writing lyric ideas. My phone notepad is a mess of random phrases, sentences and sometimes entire verses or choruses. Then I bring those ideas into the studio and talk with my producer about what I’m feeling or thinking about that day. I’m an open book in the studio. In order for me to write a song I’m passionate about, it has to tap into an honest place.
What would you like your audience to take away from this album?
I hope that people feel inspired by the honesty and vulnerability. The whole point of the album name is that it’s tongue in cheek, because humans are too complicated to be ONE thing, myself included. I’m not good or bad, and that’s totally fine. I wanted the songs to show that in their separate narratives, for example some of the lyrics talk about being hurt while others admit to being the heartbreaker. Humans are complex and that’s what makes for compelling stories, right?
What have you been listening to as of late?
I’ve been listening to MorMor (i love the Jacques Greene remix of his track ‘Heaven’s Only Wishful’), Ella Mai, Jim Junior, Ariana Grande, new Robyn, Maggie Rogers, King Princess, LEON, and Yellow Days.
Who have been your favourite style icons?
I always look to Rihanna for inspiration, Solange, Tiffany Hsu, Anna Della Russo (love her risks), Chloe Sevigny, Diana Ross AND Tracee Ellis Ross, Reese and Molly Blutstein, Stephanie Broek, Pandora Sykes.
How would you describe your style onstage and off?
Honestly they’re really similar, but I would say that onstage I’m always trying to bring a strong, statement look, where as real life Raffa can be a bit more chill. Onstage I love monochromatic looks, onesies, crop tops with a high waisted pant, anything with a little sparkle and outfits I can move in (I do a lot of dancing) - think like Rejina Pyo meets Adam Selman, Horses Atelier meets sport. Offstage I love a hoodie and trench look, a tight high-waisted jean with a slide or a cool sneaker, turtlenecks, mixing patterns, loud jackets and statement earrings. I’m always switching up my bags but my easy go-to is my beloved nylon canvas Prada crossbody, from VSP of course.
What direction do you think pop music is heading?
What’s so amazing about pop is that it’s a hybrid genre at this point - pop artists are infusing their music with a bunch of different styles, there’s so much room to experiment. Some of the best music right now is pop - Drake, Ariana, Dua Lipa, Young Thug & Elton John, Janelle Monae, Kali Uchis, Selena Gomez - and it’s drawing listeners because the songs are saturated with sounds and melodies from different musical genres. I think pop is having an intense comeback.
Photos by May Truong
Text by Marlowe Granados