A DEBUT album has been in the works for R&B singer-songwriter Denise Julia for over a year now, following the success of her viral single “NVMD.” After much anticipation, the album finally hit streaming platforms on Nov. 17.
“I learned that you cannot rush art. It comes with years, time, and experience, plus fans can feel it more if it’s something you connect to,” Ms. Julia said in an interview with BusinessWorld at the launch party.
“I made sure that this album doesn’t have a track I don’t like. Every single one is from the heart,” she added.
With seven tracks, the album, Sweet Nothings (Chapter 1), tackles the various facets of love in today’s age of never-ending screentime and short attention spans. It combines R&B with a modern touch of jazz and hip-hop beats.
The singer cites Beyoncé, Destiny’s Child, and Aaliyah for her musical style.
“Growing up, I didn’t find artists from my country to represent morenas like me. They’re my skin color. They show that little girls like that could make it,” she said.
Her album features a lot of collaborators, from Nigerian producer Joel Tracks to Norwegian-Filipina multi-instrumentalist Hillari. J.Greg and Duaneinsane helped bring her vision to life while Neo Cruz was behind the sultry melodies of “Butterflies.”
“Bum 2 Me” was a track she was particularly excited about because it involved working with the alt-R&B experimentalist Jason Dhakal.
“I was such a big fan of his since high school. It was a full circle moment for me when he wanted to work with me. The sky’s really the limit,” she said.
Meanwhile, both the crossover hit “B.A.D.,” featuring acclaimed rapper P-Lo, and the album’s airy focus track “Lackin’,” have quickly become fan favorites.
For Ms. Julia, the goal is to let listeners explore love in all its ups and downs. She said: “Love has so many aspects to it, and I really strive to tell the different stories involving that emotion.”
Now that the album is out, the future of Filipino R&B is her next target. Through more music and collaborations, it could “cross borders, defy norms, and level up.”
“It’s time to make more space for more women who are stepping up and dominating,” she added.
Sweet Nothings (Chapter 1) is available on all streaming platforms nationwide. — Brontë H. Lacsamana