MU­SIC Ralph digs deep on

The Georgia Straight - - Music - By

AKate Wil­son

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.

see page 38

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