Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.
RALPH – ‘Romeo And Juliet’ Soundtrack
My Dearest Romeo and Juliet Soundtrack,
How do I thank you for all you’ve done? You have had such a profound impact on me that I have recreated several of your songs in my adult life. I remember the first time I listened to you, I was young, just a kid. My cousin Chloe had purchased you and we listened from start to finish, over and over again as we lay in the bunk beds up at our family farm house. Each song was magical and different and mature.
‘Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)’ by Quindon Tarver gave me full body goose bumps, I’ve never felt so consumed by the beauty of words and voices. It taught me that songs don’t have to be overproduced to captivate – if the words and delivery are good enough, nothing else matters.
‘Talk Show Host’ by Radiohead was dark and moody, and there were SWEAR WORDS which was exciting. I loved closing my eyes and listening to this song, the moment the sparse guitar intro kicked in I could feel this terse energy building. That little guitar lick is legendary to me – so simple but iconic. I didn’t really understand the words, I wasn’t really sure who walked around with a “gun and a pack of sandwiches,” but that was cool because then I just focused on the instruments and the feeling behind the song, which was nice for someone like me who is normally so obsessed with lyrics. This might be surprising, but I actually did a cover of this song fairly recently at a House of Vans show – we were opening for Mac De Marco and I wanted something edgy and raw. Obviously this was THE pick.
‘Young Hearts Run Free’ showed me what a feel-good DANCE song is all about. Every time it came on, I just wanted to jump around and dance and celebrate motha fukin LIFE (as cheesy as that sounds, it’s true!) It had an element of empowerment and freedom, and you could just feel it through the speakers.
It’s no wonder that years later, it would be my cover song when I became RALPH.
‘Kissing You’ by Des’Ree was probably the most special to me though. It’s one of the first times I can remember being moved to tears by music, which is a special feeling. SO MUCH emotion in that voice and in those chords, that piano solo just leaves your heart aching like woahhhhh. I think it was because of this feeling that I agreed to open my mouth for Chloe when she said “sing it out loud for me, you have such a good voice, Raff”. At this point, I genuinely didn’t even know I could sing or even wanted to – I was so nervous and embarrassed that it took a lot of pushing. But once we turned off the lights and everything was quiet and dark, I opened my mouth and just let the words come out. Years later, I remember this night because it sparked something inside of me. I also had the pleasure of singing for my friends as they walked down the aisle at their wedding recently, and I can only hope I did it justice.
So, as you can see, you have been a huge presence in my music career – from teaching me how to get over my nerves, to current day providing me with inspiration as a pop singer and performer. You might be older now, and maybe the teens don’t know who you are, but in my opinion you’re ageing like a fine wine. You just keep getting better and more delicious as you become a pop culture beacon. Thank you for all your contributions and the magical moments you gave to me, I’ll never forget you.
Raffa aka Ralph
RALPH’s new single ‘Tables Have Turned’ is out today.