Ralph Hughes has been consumed by poetry since the age of 10. Starting with his earliest exposure to some of the most considerable talents in RnB like Stevie Wonder, Neyo, and Musiq Soulchild, this Maryland original has consistently produced music that is jumping with 90's music nostalgia and a neo-soul articulation. This year, he steps forward on his journey for musical enlightenment with his newest single, "Biggest Flex."
Beginning with a warm gauzy of electric guitar fingering, delivering a way to layers of circling delays, "Biggest Flex" displays Ralph Hughe's palette, replete with an audible, Tame Impala–like production. The chorus acts as an oasis for the Maryland native; here, he can sing delicately and sound sweet, even blending flawlessly with the female featurette's vocal gentleness. Hugh's words leave a wistful, fleeting impression as they drift away on the pronounced decays found throughout the pre-choruses too. Ralph Hughes is particularly on point, with verses that address the feeling of reminiscence, appreciation for your S.O., and the not so new spirit of flexing in an elegantly compressed and mesmeric way. We, like the song's personas, have heard this sermon before, and feel convinced by the bright mood and pleasant tonality in the delivery instead of its contents. As the song develops into spirals of vocal echoes and trades amongst vocalists—it's Hughe's effortless vibe and melancholy you're left thinking about. There's a massive appetite for this kind of unapologetically relaxed sound, one evidenced by the communal frenzy for new RnB talent that deserves a spotlight. In this single, I think we've found it.
Listen to "Biggest Flex" here.
Welcome to BuzzMusic Ralph! We're thrilled to be experiencing this song for the first time. How did you endeavor to establish the tone of this new single? Did it come naturally to you?
When I first heard the beat, I wanted to create a sound that was familiar but different. That's when the tone came to me, something wistful/nostalgic but with a naturally tranquil type of feel. I started off with a scenario in my mind that I wanted to play out in my song, and then the lyrics started to come to me. The beat, the tone and the lyrics all fell together organically like all my songs do.
When you think about your influences with regards to music, who do you believe had the most significant impact on you earliest in life, and has that influence developed since then?
I pull inspiration from so many of the greats that it's hard for me to narrow it down to just one. However, if I had to pick just one, I would definitely say Stevie Wonder has had the biggest influence on my music. Still to this day, I always marvel at his ability to connect a feeling within a song. The biggest lesson he has taught me as a songwriter is that the best songwriters create feelings and memories outside of their own perspective while still connecting to their audience. By using empathy, the best songwriters can create masterpieces about a perspective they've never experienced but can persuade their audience that they have. Over the years, those who have influenced me began to expand to Ne-Yo, Musiq Soulchild, Michael Jackson, Boyz 2 Men, Brian Mcknight and Dru Hill, etc., for I am always trying to create that atmospheric but relatable tone. My list can go on but I will stop there for now.
How do you approach collaboration with different artists that are featured on your tracks? Is it all business, do you confide in friendship first, or is there something else to it?
When it comes to creating, I am passionate about the energy that my music invokes in my audience. With collaborations, I would need to work with individuals who share the same passion as me, making the relationship between me and the artist just as important as the music. I am friends with a lot of artists who do share the same vision in music as me so I often do start with my friends first when it comes to collaborating. I believe that allows for the most genuine and vulnerable music to be created between two collaborators. Business is important but when it comes to the creation process, I believe the best tracks come from unguarded energy.
Thank you for spending this time with us here at BuzzMusic! Is there anything we should keep an eye out for from you with regards to new releases coming this year?
Thank you its been a pleasure. I have multiple singles I will be releasing on my SoundCloud (www.soundcloud.com/ralph301), Apple Music, and Spotify. I can't wait for the world to hear all that I have been able to create during this time period of time so definitely be on the lookout. Thank you again!