How Singer Ralph (Inspired by Cher!) Plans to Put Toronto's Pop Scene on the Map
Ralph premieres song "Superbloom" — inspired by a rainy trip to L.A. — with PEOPLE
Ralph is ready to put Toronto’s pop scene on the map.
The Canadian singer-songwriter caught up with PEOPLE ahead of the release of her new single “Superbloom” (which PEOPLE can exclusively premiere) and her endeavors starting music label Rich Man Records.
“‘Superbloom’ is new Ralph but has elements of OG Ralph,” the 29-year-old — who’s toured with Canadian sweetheart Carly Rae Jepsen — laughs. The new song has elements of the ’80s synthpop sound fans fell in love with when she started dropping music as Ralph — a genre she strayed away from but has now reclaimed.
The infectiously catchy and optimistic love song is one of Ralph’s many autobiographical tracks, which follows her during a visit to Los Angeles when things were a bit rough with her boyfriend at the time.
“I’m in California where it never rains. You and I were fighting and I needed space,” she starts on the track. “Every day is sunny is what they say. Since I landed here, it’s raining every day.”
“I felt really depressed and bummed and I got to L.A. and it was rainy,” she recalls.
“But then there was also this beautiful natural phenomenon happening, where all these fields were covered by flowers,” she adds.
Then she sings in the track’s chorus: “Maybe the rain will pass soon and leave us with a super bloom. Baby, I know it’s been a rough June. I hope we make it to our superbloom.”
“I’m not afraid to write autobiographical songs that delve into a scary honest place,” she confesses. “‘September Fades’ [from A Good Girl] is within that realm too. I talk about being a manipulative person in a relationship, which was hard to write about but also very therapeutic.”
“It can be a little intimidating sometimes talking about personal stuff to a huge audience,” she adds. “I remember when one of my songs came out. That day, it was about an ex-boyfriend of mine and I had broken his heart a little bit so I called him, just to be like, ‘Hey like I just want to check in and make sure you’re okay. The song came out today.’ If you’re gonna be with a songwriter, you know what’s going to happen.”
“I never want to define my career by how the industry perceives you. I know we worked hard, I know we put out good stuff. But that being said, just imagine how many other artists they listen to and they chose my music as something that can contend in an awards show,” she says. “It feels really good and like another really positive step towards what we’re working for.”
Putting out much of her latest music as an independent artist, Ralph is ready to be back with a label — her own.
Collaborating with her manager Laurie Lee Boutet, Ralph is officially starting her own music label to help showcase the vast pop talent in the music city of Toronto, which she believes is “weirdly overlooked.”
“It was really encouraging to see that you really can do it on your own,” she says about being an independent artist. “We really made a community of people who want to help us, who believe in what we’re doing. And we wanted to make that community for the other pop artists in Toronto, who just need some guidance.”
The record label’s name — Rich Man Records — is inspired by none other than a quote from Cher.
“I was looking at quotes by Cher and there was one that I read before and loved about how her mom said to her, Sweetheart, you need to settle down and marry a rich man.’ And she was like, ‘Mom, I am a rich man.’”
The record label’s name is also a “double entendre” about the music industry that’s run by “old, white men.”
“We just really want to show people that two young women can get the job done,” she says. “And that we just want to highlight the power of women pioneering their way through an industry that is largely male-dominated.”
With “Superbloom” out and a new decade ahead of her, Ralph is ready to focus this year on the new label. She says that while the new track will likely be part of an album down the road, this year will be dedicated to Rich Man Records and more single releases.
“With music, it’s exciting and horrifying because every day, there’s the potential that something amazing could happen or something horrible or nothing at all,” she says. “I think that a lot of nine-to-fivers don’t know what that feeling is. It feels like constantly holding your breath. But I guess that’s what keeps me alive.”
“Superbloom” is out everywhere Wednesday.
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