Toronto pop sensation RALPH is all about creating songs with substance. ‘For Yourself’, the opening bop to her new album A Good Girl, explores the theme of self-love and accepting yourself which she says “is maybe a little reminder or a voice of encouragement for listeners to practice self-care.”

Ahead of RALPH’s 25 date tour across the US and a quick stop in London, the pop newbie shares her top tips on how to practice self-care and why she believes we need to focus on mental health and addiction within the music community.

“For Yourself”, the opening track to your new album A Good Girl, sounds like it’s all about self-love and the importance of knowing how to value yourself. Why is this so important in your opinion?
The song was inspired by Ru Paul, the queen of self-love and acceptance, and the famous ‘Drag Race’ line – “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love someone else?” Even though I’m an extrovert, I’m also a big introvert and spend a lot of time alone – I need to so that I can check in with myself and make sure I’m feeling good, grounded, healthy, and happy. I think it’s easy to let self-worth become defined or dictated by others, so making sure that you know how to step back and focus on how you feel is so important. It’s not easy, so this song is maybe a little reminder or a voice of encouragement for listeners to practice self-care.

What top tips can you give on how to learn to value yourself?
Listen to your gut. If you feel like staying in on a Saturday night because you feel exhausted, DO IT. There will always be more parties. Make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who make you genuinely happy and who SHOW UP when you need them. Try writing more – journals, notes to yourself, songs, poems, whatever. It’s really cathartic and sometimes you write things you didn’t even know you were feeling. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed by therapy, ever! Get good sleep. Eat better, drink water, be honest about how much shit you’re putting into your body and whether it’s making you feel good. Check in with yourself and be honest. Never be afraid of reach out, there are so many call centres (anonymous ones too!) where you can call and talk to someone if you need it!

in “Girl Next Door”, you sing, “Change is gonna come, but you better believe I’m still the girl next door.” What change do you think is coming? What would you like to change in the world?
I wrote the song because I’d had a couple of close friends say the same thing, “when you’re rich and famous, don’t forget about us”. I thought it was funny because even if I was to get rich and famous (FINGERS CROSSED), I truly don’t think I could ever forget the people who raised me and keep me grounded. So that was the change I was alluding to, it was more fame and fortune based, but if we’re talking changes in the world… Jesus, where do I start? I would love for Trump, Pence, and Kavanaugh to take a fishing trip and mysteriously disappear. I would like to see more conversation and awareness around sexual consent and sexual health, instead of seeing sex-ed canceled in schools and a looming threat to make abortions illegal across America again. And not to sound like Miss America here, but I truly wish I could wake up tomorrow and guns just wouldn’t exist. There is nothing good that comes from guns, period.

From a relationship reflected in the changing seasons (“Weather”) to crying about the end of love over a bowl of cereal (“Cereal”), your lyrics are quite metaphorical. Do you follow a formula when you write?
Nope. I just write from the heart. Whenever I have an idea or hear something I like (sometimes I’m inspired by overheard conversations or lines from movies and books), I immediately write it down. My phone notepad is just a mess of strange, emotional sentences and paragraphs.

You say that the album title A Good Girl represents “a multi-faceted character who is good-hearted but makes mistakes” – which mistake in your life would you say you have learned and grown the most from?
Oooh, that’s hard. Being unfaithful and then telling the truth. From start to finish, that situation messed me up the most but taught me a lot about who I am and who I want to be.

Have you noticed any challenges faced by musicians in today’s industry?
Hahaha, oh just a few. I think being a woman within the music industry is still a struggle; there’s just less of us and I think it makes us feel like we have to work 10x harder and be 10x more talented and successful than the average male. I also think that it’s becoming increasingly more obvious that we need to focus on mental health and addiction within the music community, we’ve lost so many talented artists to suicide and overdoses. Often the lifestyle that’s paired with touring and performing is really dangerous and detrimental, I would love to see more conversations about how to change that.

Is there anything in your career that you feel like you are still learning?
Oh god, everything, all the time. I’ve gotten better at patience, turns out it really is a virtue. I would like to be better at self-producing and playing instruments, I need to really dig into some youtube videos. I’m constantly trying to learn more music production and music tech language so that I can hold my own and communicate what I want effectively.