Raffaella | The Family Interviews
Something about the name Raffaella conjures imagery of a Disney princess. But don’t think this born-and-bred New Yorker is all sugar and spice and everything nice.
An alt-pop chanteuse with a literary penchant, Raffaella composes introspective earworms that deal with themes of culture, gender, and misogyny. Her tongue-in-cheek style carries a punch — a solid right hook if you will.
Below, we discuss her classical training, the clarity of contradictions, and her genre friends!
Give it a gander, give her a follow, and get on with your day.
BOWLING: A Mad-Lib by Raffaella
Almost every community in America now has a bowling KOKOMO because bowling has become very DARLING with young GUMDROPS. Most of them become very DUMB. The main object of the game is to roll a heavy ELEPHANT down the alley and knock down the 3 pins which are at the other end. If you knock them down in one roll, it's called a MANAGALA!! If it takes two rolls, it's called a BRRAPP BRAPP PEW PEW. Many alleys have automatic ELBOW setters. Others hire BOOBS who set the pins with BIG FOOT. The most important thing to remember when bowling is to make sure you have a good grip on your CARE BEAR or you're liable to drop it on your PINKY TOE!
Would You Rather…
be trapped in a dark closet with a swan or a scorpion? Please explain why.
Oh both are so awful. I guess a scorpion because I’d have a better shot at killing it and I wouldn’t feel too bad about it – swans seem to have more of a personality, they’ve always reminded me of the mean girls in high school, too much trauma there to confront
Some Questions with Raffaella
Which do you prefer scented candles, or room spray?
Scented candle, because ambiance
How did your classical music training influence your current practice and style?
It served as an important backdrop – my choice to start studying voice instead of piano was sort of my first big rebellious/autonomous move… singing felt much more liberating having had the experience of studying piano… I quit when I was pretty young, like 13, so most of what’s in my head is pretty ingrained/in my subconscious. It did introduce me to some of my favorite composers, like Debussy and Liszt.
Do you drink Coffee or Tea? How do you take it?
Coffee black no sugar, if I’m feeling fancy maybe I’ll make it an oat milk latte
Your songwriting touches on themes of social commentary and has a tongue-in-cheek sensibility. How do you balance a dreamier, lighter sound with the sharper edge of your lyrics?
I’m a big fan of contrast/contradiction... It’s easier to see something bright when you’re in a dark room – I guess, in this case, the something bright would be the lyrics, the dark room would be the melody.
Who would be your dream musician to collaborate with?
What was your favorite era of music?
Right now. I think Weyes Blood is a great example of someone capable of reaching the sentimentality and heart that existed during Joni Mitchell’s era, but with lyricism and sounds that feel much more modern.
A lot of your music follows a narrative quality. How has literature and written arts informed your work, if at all?
I usually need to be reading a book if I’m writing music – sorta like training for a marathon, small exercises every day to prep for the big one. I think I sneak a literary reference in almost every song; Sylvia Plath for Balaclava (“dumb as daisy petals”), JD Salinger for Hell Yeah and Ballerina (“…the courage of a nobody”)…
Where is your favorite place to find/discover new music?
Usually my best resource is my friends; I’ve got an indie friend, a pop friend, a bedroom pop friend, a rock friend…
What was the best toy you remember from your childhood?
I had a pink terrycloth piggy, named her piggy. Loved piggy a little too much, lasted a little too long… I still have her, though I don’t bring her around anymore.
Did you play any instruments growing up?
I played the flute in middle school, but it smelled really weird to me so I quit after a couple of years and moved to chorus class.
Any final comments? (This is your electronic soapbox for one last answer.)
I’m in love with Jia Tolentino. Everyone should read everything she’s ever written. She deserves all the superlatives.