Rob Deniel hopes to ‘push’ himself to the next level

With quickly growing fanbase, Rob Deniel hopes to ‘push’ himself to the next level

By: - Reporter
/ 12:10 AM May 27, 2024

With quickly growing fanbase, Rob Deniel hopes to ‘push’ himself to the next level


Just three years ago, Rob Deniel was writing songs in his bedroom, recording and producing them using only his phone.

Now, his music has hundreds of millions of streams. The best thing about it? He gets to perform and bring them to life in front of his devoted and fast-growing fanbase.


“I’m very grateful where I am now because I started from scratch. The idea that I have reached a point where I have a following—though not comparable to those of bigger stars’—makes me happy. It makes me more inspired. It fuels me to continue improving the quality of my music,” he said in an interview backstage at one of his recent gigs.


The 20-year-old recording artist is quite the old soul, drawing inspiration from artists from the 1950s to 1980s: Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Apo Hiking Society, Hotdog, Rey Valera and Rico J. Puno. And his music reflects those influences.

Rob started out creating dreamy, confessional bedroom pop. Over time, his style developed into a beguiling blend of retro music and contemporary pop. Laced with rock, jazz and a dash of romance, the music ends up sounding fresh and nostalgic all at once—a modern take on harana, if you will.

While the idea of a then teenager exploring genres typically associated with more experienced musicians seemed odd to some, Rob’s music quickly found its niche among similarly wired young fans. On Spotify alone, he has nine songs with seven-digit streams, including “RomCom” (50 million); “Ang Pag-Ibig” (52.6 million) and his breakout hit, “Ulap” (56.6 million).

There’s pressure to come up with equally successful songs, Rob admitted. But it’s something he has learned to embrace. What’s important, he said, is that he doesn’t let it prevent him from enjoying the creative process.

Live music

“I just try to enjoy the process—recording, performing. I enjoy myself even if it’s just a small show I’m doing. I enjoy writing even if I feel like what I’m working on doesn’t have hit potential. When there’s enjoyment, the pressure eventually wears off,” he pointed out. “I just keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully, I find my audience and be recognized for that.”

And find his audience he did. There they were at the Viva Cafe one May evening, giddily singing along and slow-dancing on the floor. Onstage, Rob sounded confident and worked the stage with ease. While still relatively new on the live scene, he surprisingly never really felt awkward about being in front of people.


“I’m a huge fan of live music. I love watching full concerts and sets on YouTube, from Elvis’ to The 1975’s. I love seeing them on a live stage. I take note of the good things they do and what to include in the sets,” he said. “I love watching Elvis. It’s like he had his own world… [he was] in the zone. I want to channel that kind of energy. I know what I want to express, and I hope it comes across.”

With quickly growing fanbase, Rob Deniel hopes to ‘push’ himself to the next level


Backstage, Rob usually finds himself pacing back and forth. It’s his way of keeping himself warmed up. “I don’t like sitting down for too long because I feel it makes the tension pile up in my body. Paikot-ikot lang ako while the band goes for a sound check,” he said.

Rob has never been busier, playing shows or events every week. More than performing itself, he also cherishes all the lovely little interactions with his fans, and all the little trinkets they give him. “This was given to me by a fan,” he said, showing the bead bracelets with titles of his songs.

“There was even one who gave me her school ID. I still have it at home. She might want to get it back,” he said, laughing. “I’m super thankful for all the gigs. I try to make the most out of them. Even the trips and commutes, I try to enjoy them.”

Different vibes

While he has already played at the Big Dome, it was for a multiartist show with fellow Viva Records talents. Is Rob ready to take the next step and hold a solo concert at a big venue? “Soon, I hope. Konting push pa. I’m always trying to push limits anyway,” he said.

First, he needs to beef up his catalog further. After all, Rob stressed, the songs serve as his portfolio or calling cards of sorts for future shows. In fact, he has a new one coming up with Janine Teñoso in June. “It’s called ‘Distansya.’ She’s one of my idols. And I get to work with her in shows, but this is our first time doing a song together,” he said.

While he’s now known for retro-pop music, Rob doesn’t want to be boxed in a single category and hopes to keep experimenting with other styles. “I want to come up with songs that have different vibes… The sound I have now was something I manifested years ago. And now people love them,” he said.

“That’s why I’m eager to gain more knowledge by working with different producers,” added Rob, who strikes a balance between making the kind of music he likes and what he thinks the fans will like. “But it always has to be something that resonates with them.”

Rob acknowledged he still has a long way to go. Still, it’s heartening to know that, at this point in his career, he’s already able to inspire people through his music. He said he finds it flattering and humbling whenever people tell him that he’s one of the artists to watch out for.

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“I’m happy… to be one of the OPM artists from my generation that people might still hear about years after,” he said.

TAGS: Rob Deniel

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