MUSIC Ralph digs deep on
fter experimenting with a range of genres in Toronto’s music scene, the most important thing to Raffaela Weyman—known on-stage as Ralph—is having creative freedom.
Beginning the project after meeting a producer on a date that lacked a romantic spark, Weyman initially added vocals to the beats she received from him over email. It didn’t take her long, though, to realize that she had to be involved in all stages of the writing process to connect with the tracks. Taking the plunge as a solo artist with a backing band, songs that she created caught the ear of Vancouver’s 604 Records, where she inked a deal that indulged her need for artistic autonomy.
“We wanted the label we were going to sign with to allow us to have a lot of freedom,” she tells the Straight on the line from her tour bus in Alberta. “604 were great because they were like, ‘You guys have been working on this for nearly two years already. You have a clear aesthetic; your videos are great, your songs are great, and we just want to facilitate more. We don’t want to control it.’ That was music to my ears, because I don’t want a 60-year-old dude telling me what’s cool. They’ve been really supportive with that. The deal was really good.”
Unlike that of labelmate Carly Rae Jepsen, whose bubblegum pop is a staple on club stereos, Ralph’s equally mainstream sound is more slow-burning, with whispers of R&B. Progressing from her first release— a self-titled EP in the ’80s-revival tradition—the performer has spent the past two years making her new material feel more mature in both its music and lyrics. Last September the singer dropped her debut album, A Good Girl, which she hopes captures her evolution as an artist.
“On the EP I think I played the victim card a bit more, and there were a lot of songs where I was like, ‘You did me wrong, you broke my heart,’” she says. “And maybe I’ve done more living and growing in the past year, but I realized that I wanted this album to explore more of an honest relationship, which means that you’re at fault often too. You’re not always the good guy. I wanted to talk about complicated relationships with yourself, with your friends, mental health—i wanted to touch on deeper content.”
Part of Weyman’s newfound maturity involves consciously embracing and celebrating people from all walks of life. Boasting a large LGBT following, the singer deliberately writes tracks that don’t just depict heteronormative love, and hopes that her catalogue can touch those from all cultures.
“It’s really cool having that community invite me in as an ally and as a guest,” she says. “It’s important to me to honour that, and make sure that when I’m writing my songs and making my visuals I’m doing it in an inclusive way. So I stay away from too many gender pronouns, and in music videos, I make sure that any characters and relationships are of different types. That’s really important for me. It’s been such a wonderful community to have on my side, because at every show the most excited people in the audience are queer men who come with these amazing outfits and makeup jobs, and they want to take pictures and spread the word.
“I want people from all around the world to have access to it [the album], and to connect with the music,” she continues. “I love the idea of people in Asia hearing the songs and connecting with this girl from Toronto. I want people in different communities hearing these tracks, and letting them uplift them, and tell them that they’re good enough.”
CONCERTS JUST ANNOUNCED
GORD GRDINA NYC QUARTET VANCOUVER local legend and Capu alumnus Gord Grdina teams up with his quartet of world-renowned New York City–based performers. Presented by the Blueshore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts. Dec 8, Blueshore Financial Centre for the Performing Arts. Tix $28/25 at www.capilanou.ca/centre.
THE STEVE KOZAK BAND Local blues band featuring singer-guitarist Kozak. Dec 9, 7-10 pm, Blue Martini. No cover.
WINTER BANG! FESTIVAL A day of electroacoustic music. Dec 12, 12-1 pm, 2-3 pm, 7:308:30 pm, Roy Barnett Recital Hall. Free. MARIA HO QUARTET Local jazz vocalist celebrates Christmas. Dec 16, 8-10 pm, Frankie’s Jazz Club. Tix $16.
UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER PARTY Fundraiser featuring house band Groove & Tonic supports Make-a-wish BC & Yukon. Dec 20, 8 pm, Venue. Tix $33.50/$55.
NEW YEAR’S EVE 2019 GLITZ & GLAMOUR GALA Top 40, funk, Latin, old school. and Caribbean music on four dance floors. Dec 31, 9:30 pm, Hilton Metrotown. Tix $60.
BOWIE BALL Eighteen local bands perform at a David Bowie-inspired cancer benefit. Jan 12, 7 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. Tix $15/$20.
COIN Indie-pop quartet from Nashville. Feb 24, 8 pm, Venue. Tix on sale Nov 30, 10 am, $25.
DARLINGSIDE Indie-folk quartet from Boston. Mar 9, 7:45 pm, Biltmore Cabaret. Tix on sale Nov 30, 10 am, $20.
JEREMY DUTCHER Classically trained operatic tenor and composer. Mar 9, 8 pm, Rio Theatre. Tix on sale Nov 30, 10 am, $20.
IL DIVO Multi-national classical crossover vocal group. Mar 13, 8 pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Tix on sale Nov 30, 10 am, $49. VIAGRA BOYS Punk band from Stockholm, Sweden, plays tunes from latest album Street Worms. Mar 25, 8 pm, Fox Cabaret. Tix $15. MARIANAS TRENCH Local pop-punk quartet. Mar 29, 8 pm, Orpheum Theatre. Tix on sale Nov 30, 10 am.
CHELSEA AMBER Singer-songwriter performs tunes from new album Face the Waves. Mar 30, 7-9:30 pm, Bez Arts Hub. Tix $12.
JON AND ROY Folk-rock and reggae trio band from Victoria. Apr 6, 9:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom. Tix on sale Nov 30, 10 am, $25. WHITE DENIM Rock band from Austin, Texas, plays tunes from latest album Performance. Apr 19, 9 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. Tix on sale Nov 30, 10 am, $20.
BUDDY GUY American blues legend. Apr 22, 8 pm, Orpheum Theatre. Tix from $63. SNOW PATROL Alt-rock band from Scotland. May 13, 8 pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Tix on sale Nov 30, 10 am, $65/49.50/35.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29
THOR Christmas In Valhalla CD release party. Nov 29, Donegals Irish Pub. Tix $17.50.
JOE BONAMASSA American blues-rock singer and guitar wizard. Nov 29-Dec 1, 8 pm, Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
CONCERTO INVIERNO Guitarist Daniel Bolshoy performs works by Astor Piazzolla and Joaquin Rodrigo. Nov 29, 10 am, The ACT Arts Centre. Tix $25.
FUSIONFEST: MUSIC TECHNOLOGY CONCERT Concert by the Douglas College Fusion Bands Nov 29, 7-9 pm, Douglas College Laura C. Muir Performing Arts Theatre. Free.
JOHN STETCH Jazz pianist fuses melodies from all around the world. Nov 29, 7-10 pm, Old Crow Coffee. Tix $20/$25.
INDIE NIGHT AT THE ANZA Featuring local bands Dark Dials, Rat Silo, and Gun Control. Nov 29-30, 7 pm–2 am, ANZA Club. Tix $15. KLEZMER & YIDDISH FOLKSONGS Songs of political and social resistance. Nov 29, 7:30 pm, Or Shalom. Tix $18/$36.
JASPER SLOAN YIP Local musician celebrating the release of Post Meridiem on vinyl, with guest Wallgrin. Nov 29, 7:30 pm, The Red Gate Revue Stage. Tix $10/$20 with vinyl. MARY GAUTHIER American folk singersongwriter. Nov 29, 8-11 pm, WISE Hall. Tix $30/$35.
THE WASHBOARD UNION Local country band, with guests Aaron Goodvin and Nice Horse. Nov 29, 8:30 pm, Commodore Ballroom. Tix $29.50.
6LACK Hip-hop artist from Atlanta, with guest Summer Walker. Nov 29, doors 8 pm, show 9 pm, Harbour Event Centre. Tix $40. CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD American blues/psych-rock band featuring former Black Crowes singer Chris Robinson. Nov 29, 9 pm, Venue. Tix $27.50.
Irish punk rockers from the ’70s, with guests the Mahones. Nov 29, 9 pm, Rickshaw Theatre. Tix $39.50.
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