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At just 21 years old, Roberto Baez Moraza, artistically known as ROBI, is definitely giving audiences something to talk about, and continues setting his pace in music with the support of his international label, Interscope Records. From becoming a social media sensation, Puerto Rican artist ROBI kicked his career into high gear thanks to passion for music he acquired as a child. His gift as a singer-songwriter and his ability as a producer and musician to fuse together rhythms, such as rock, dancehall, reggaeton and pop, have helped ROBI become one of the leading ambassadors of Latin music of a new generation, while presenting a unique and versatile musical style all his own.
Born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, ROBI has always had two passions: sports and music. From the age of 6, he began to study music and at the age of 7, he began playing little league baseball. However, at the age of 15, he moved to Tampa, FL, leaving his passion for sports behind to pursue his passion for producing music. In the midst of discovering music, he simultaneously acquired a degree in Graphic Design. ROBI would later attend the prestigious arts and music school in Puerto Rico, Escuela Libre de Música de Puerto Rico, where he not only fine tuned his ability to write but would learn to play multiple instruments, such as the piano, guitar, xylophone and conga, among other percussion-based instruments.
ROBI exploded into the Latin music scene via social media when he posted his verse of the track “Pantysito”, alongside his friend and colleague Alejo. In 24 hours his career took an unexpected turn: he was discovered through Tik Tok by Colombian artist Feid, who offered to record the track with ROBI and Alejo. The single became an instant viral hit on Tik Tok, creating trends in 17 countries, and would generate over 220 million combined streams and views, leading digital charts in Colombia and Spain, and would enter Spotify’s Top 50 global chart.
Without a doubt, ROBI is quickly consolidating himself as one of the rising powers in Latin music today of a new generation, and people are taking notice. We can’t get enough of his creative genius and his upbeat sounds that demonstrate how fun he is. His latest single “Tu Mundo” is like an escape from the mundane into the rich pleasure of love and fiction. When asked about the song ROBI shared “It’sa perfect mixture of music I like to listen to, it has Rock, which represents the energy of my aura and music; Pop is in my sound because it’s the music that I grew up with, but it also has a bit of an urban flare because it’s a sound I cannot deny having in my blood because I’m from Puerto Rico and I also sing Reggaeton. If you do a frappe of everything sound and style that I mentioned before, you’d get ROBI’s musical essence and sound.” ROBI has shown to have a special gift and his music has become his best vehicle to conquering a mass audience, that’s quickly taking notice.
For those of us that don’t know you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
“Well, hello everyone at Galore Magazine! My name’s Roberto Moraza, I’m 21 years old and I’m from Puerto Rico. My love for music began at a very young age, and I began percussion classes when I was 6 years old. Those lead me to study in Puerto Rico’s most important music and liberal arts school, La Escuela Libre de Musica. Here is where my love for music and singing really started. “
How has being from Puerto Rico informed your sound?
“I think that being from Puerto Rico is what actually help me put a stamp on my sound and music. I always say that my music is inspired by music I liked to listen to when I was growing up. Inspired by the 2000’s Rock and Pop ballads, I feel like my music already has an general market appeal and sound, but what makes it special is that I can’t deny that the way I speak and the words and slang I use in my music is influencer by Puerto Rico. For me, my sound is the perfect mix of two things – – the roots of where I’m from and the places that I want to go with my music.”
You have a gift of being a singer-songwriter, and as a producer and musician you fuse together rhythms, such as rock, dancehall, reggaeton and pop. Apart from synthesizing these different genres, how do you feel you set yourself apart from other artists?
“For me, besides the versatility of my music, and the way that I can jump on any track and still sound like ROBI, I think what makes me special or different is that I’m not scared to try new things and sounds that can appeal to a Latin audience. With the massive growth of social media in the past few years, I feel that people are actually craving for new music and different sounds/genres everyday. So, every time I get in the studio I try to remember that. I try to make music I’d like to listen to myself, putting my heart into lyrics and working to make something different that appeals to everyone.”
What is your song writing process?
“I feel that my writing process depends a lot on my mood that day. I like writing in recording studios a lot, but for me, nothing will ever compete with writing songs in my own bedroom, alone. When I’m alone, I truly connect with every single emotion I have. I always try to write in a way that connects entirely with the music/sound and with what I’m feeling. I always choose the beat first, but with a specific topic in mind, so it’s all connected to the vibe that I want for the song. I would say I am very metaphoric when it comes to my lyrics, I am always looking for something to compare with when I write about something. For example, in my new single, “Tu Mundo” (i.e. Your World), the metaphor behind is this woman that I can’t stop thinking about, comparing the feeling to being on a planet that I can’t get out of. The planet, represents her and I’m stuck in her planet because she’d driving me crazy.”
What are some of your favorite effects to add to your voice (i.e. reverb, distortion, delay)?
“I used to record myself when I first started doing music, and even to this day I do it sometimes. I recorded my verse for my song with Feid, ‘Pantysito’, so I’m always very curious about what I can do when I record, trying out different effects on my voice. My favorite ones, and the ones that I use the most, are reverb, distortion, vocoder and a pitch modifier to lower the tone of my voice. I would say those are my favorite.”
What are three songs or projects you’re currently listening to that you can’t stop playing?
“Three songs that I’m currently listening to, which I can’t get out of my head, are ‘Nobody Gets Me’ by SZA, ‘Dejau’ by Rauw Alejandro and ‘Online ;(‘ by Sebastian Yatra and Alvaro Diaz.”
If you could collaborate on a track with one of your favorite artists, who would it be?
“If I could collaborate on a track with one of my favorite artists, I think it would definitely be either Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Bad Bunny or Luis Fonsi.”
What’s one city you haven’t performed in that you look forward to performing at in the future?
“I want to take my music to a lot of places. I’m really happy that I’m having the opportunity to already be taking my music, and I feel very blessed. I’d say I would love to go to Spain and Argentina, and I would like to do a European tour, including visits to France and London, among other places. “
If you could have your own festival, what would the name of the festival be, and who would be on the line up?
“If I could have my own festival, I think the name would be RRRUIDO. I really feel like that name represents what I want to do with my music, but also it sounds like a good name for a festival, I think it matched the energy. And the lineup, I’ve always liked performers so I would say (obviously) Bad Bunny, Rosalia, The Weeknd, I like Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean a lot, and obviously would have to include Bruno Mars and Post Malone.”
“Tu Mundo” marks a new beginning in your sound and essence. How is this different from your previous releases?
“‘Tu Mundo’ is a very special song for me because out of all the music that I have released, for me this really screans what ROBi’s sound is. It’s a perfect mixture of music I like to listen to, it has Rock, which represents the energy of my aura and music; Pop is in my sound because it’s the music that I grew up with, but it also has a bit of an urban flare because it’s a sound I cannot deny having in my blood because I’m from Puerto Rico and I also sing Reggaeton. If you do a frappe of everything sound and style that I mentioned before, you’d get ROBI’s musical essence and sound.”
Tell us a little about “Tu Mundo”, what the message behind the song?
“‘ ‘Tu Mundo’ is a song inspired by the 80s and 90s rock, with the influences from The Police, Guns & Roses and other great bands from those beautiful Rock years. This being my third rock-pop record, and being a little bit closer to what I wanted to do with my music, it’s a fun song to listen to. Basically, it tells about a metaphoric situation of a woman representing a planet that you cannot escape from because her way of loving you confuses you so much.”
What do you have in store for 2023?
“This 2023, is a year to make a lot of RUIDO (i.e. NOISE). I’m currently working on my first EP project, which will include about 7 unreleased tracks, and I know that it’s going to make a huge impact in my career, and also in Latin music. There’s going to be a lot of ROBI to come this year.”