Hailing from Quebec is pop artist Raphaël Roberge. Last fall, he released his guitar-fuelled single, “Break My Own Heart”– A song that speaks to how sometimes, the best thing we can do for someone we love is to let them go when we’re the ones falling short in the relationship. The single also marks a move in a new stylistic direction for the artist, one inspired by the likes of JP Saxe and Jeremy Sucker.
Recently, I spoke with Roberge about his path to pursuing music, his latest single and his goals for this year.
Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell us a bit about your path to pursuing music? What made you want to become an artist?
Raphaël Roberge: In my childhood, I dreamt of becoming an actor and started dipping my toes into the profession around the age of eleven, but right around twelve or thirteen, my voice changed and I realized I could sing. While my high school offered a theatre program, in my free time I chose to develop my singing voice, took lessons, and even began participating in competitions across Quebec and New Brunswick. I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in the fourth edition of MixMania and tour with the Mix4 cohort. In 2015, I released my first single “Libre Comme L’air” and later that same year my first self-titled EP. Since then I’ve been releasing music and working with other artists and writers to fully develop my image, style and voice.
Kyla Pearson: What is one message you hope to share through your music?
Raphaël Roberge: I usually write about relationships, I find human interaction deeply moving and I’m often inspired by the way people can impact each other. It is important for me to be able to create music that emulates the bond that forms between individuals, the good that comes from it and the bad too. In this way, I hope listeners can relate to my music in a way that supersedes simply enjoying its sound and can feel the various facets of interconnectivity.
Kyla Pearson: You recently released your pop single, “Break My Own Heart”, which speaks of evaluating one’s own efforts in a relationship and letting someone you love go for their own good. Can you tell us a bit more about the songwriting and recording process?
Raphaël Roberge: I was struggling to find my place in my relationship, where I did not know how to compromise with my partner in a way that would balance our relationship. In the meanwhile the burden was on my counterpart, I could see they were suffering and I considered ending things to prevent hurting them more. Talking to my friend Lydia (an amazing singer and songwriter) about it helped me understand how to improve for myself, be a better boyfriend, and inspired “Break My Own Heart”. A few days later, Lydia called me with a chorus and the song practically wrote itself; with Jake Davey’s help, it was ready to be recorded after a single writing session! We even got to write a bridge! However, we didn’t believe it added much to the song and ultimately decided to cut it from the final version. I also can’t go without mentioning the ever-talented Luca The Producer who killed it on the production and really tied the whole project together with Lydia’s back vocals.
Kyla Pearson: Stylistically, the song is the first of many releases that demonstrates your new sound. How would you say it differs from your previous songs? How does this sound better represent you as an artist?
Raphaël Roberge: While I’m proud of my first endeavours, I have to admit they often did not quite match up to what I was hoping for. Of course, I believed in making a different sound back in 2015. However, I struggled to stand up for myself and really defend the image and music I wanted to create. Luckily, I think I finally found the right team of eclectic personalities that can really work in synergy with me to help create the music I want to make. This song, in particular, is written alongside Lydia Sutherland and Jake Davey, and produced by Luca The Producer. As for my upcoming music, I’m working with some amazing songwriters from Calgary, Toronto, and even Australia. People who listen to my old stuff (and people who don’t) will be really surprised with what’s coming next. It’s still pop but has a higher overall quality, clever lyrics and themes.
Kyla Pearson: Where do you think the best song ideas come from? What is your ideal setting to write?
Raphaël Roberge: To be honest, inspiration often comes in bursts. Sometimes I’ll go a while without any new ideas and work on other projects, but then I’ll be hit with a sudden flood of concepts. In those periods I reach out to Lydia. We then work on weeding out the good ideas from the less good ones. We then invite other writers to writing sessions held over Zoom or FaceTime. This really helps finesse the project until it’s ready to record. Sometimes Lydia has ideas that she thinks could fit my “brand” and hands them over to me. The writing process that ensues is the same. As for the ideal writing environment or setting, it doesn’t have to be a physical space. Rather, it’s a mindset of confidence and creativity shared with my colleagues.
Kyla Pearson: What live shows do you have coming up that fans can catch? What is one venue or show you’re looking forward to sharing “Break My Own Heart” at?
Raphaël Roberge: Unfortunately, I don’t have any live shows lined up for now. Due to COVID-19, it is difficult to predict the reopening of venues and theatres. It’s even harder to anticipate when slots will be available, as music festivals are essentially booked with acts who could not perform all the way back in 2020. However, I am looking into alternative arrangements for my upcoming singles. I am very excited to sing my newest material in front of an audience as it is my strongest project and the music I’m most proud of to date.
Kyla Pearson: What is one thing fans may not know about?
Raphaël Roberge: I have a habit of developing random obsessions out of the blue, that I will go from constantly participating in to completely dropping a little while later. Four years ago, I had a meme page and then I went crazy over BookTube. I even considered starting my own channel and bought over fifty books. All through my teenage years, I collected horror film DVDs. However, I believe the horror genre is one obsession I’ll never drop. Now I’m a little better at managing my interests and hobbies. I still indulge a little, but I try to keep myself grounded.
Kyla Pearson: Lastly, what is one thing you’re proud to have accomplished in 2021? Do you plan on releasing new music in 2022?
Raphaël Roberge: I definitely am releasing new music in the new year. I have my next single lined up to come out this spring, a much happier and more upbeat song compared to my previous releases and perfect for summer. I’m really looking forward to this song as it is my most unique release and really shows the direction I want to push my sound too. I have many projects in the works, so we shall see what is to come in 2022.
Listen to “Break my Own Heart” now:
Stay up to Date With Raphael Roberge:
Apple Music: Raphaël Roberge
Spotify: Raphaël Roberge
Roberge, Raphael. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Jan. 11 2022.
Unknown. “Featured: pop-artist Raphaël Roberge.”. Photo courtesy of Raphaël Roberge. Accessed Oct.12 2021.
Unknown. “Featured: Official cover art for Raphaël Roberge’s latest single, “Break My Own Heart” ”. Photo courtesy of Raphaël Roberge. Accessed Oct.12, 2021.