Check our interview with singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Robbie Dean known for his unique pop R&B sound, poetic lyrics, smooth vocal delivery, and impressive range.
He made his TV debut to the world on the first season of X-Factor (FOX) when he was just 13 years old. He then continued to study and graduate from OC School of Arts rigorous music program. Robbie’s single “Past Life” has just been released and is available on all popular music streaming and downloading sites. Robbie was selected to perform at the coveted 2019 Springboard West Festival while thousands of artists try out for spots at this festival.
His passion for music keeps him busy writing, producing, and performing original music at venues like The House of Blues, The World Famous Whisky A Go Go, Coach House, and Segerstrom Center Theater, Anaheim Grand Plaza just to name a few.
Please tell us a little about you?
I am a 21 year old singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer from Southern CA. I was born in Sacramento and moved to Laguna Niguel at age 6. Although I grew up playing little league baseball, I always had a creative side and loved directing my friends and producing iMovie films. It was actually at a little league baseball ceremony where I sang the National Anthem (my first public performance) that my music career began! A band manager saw me and asked if I would be the lead singer in a teen band called Sweet Mojo. A microphone and guitar replaced my baseball bat. I went on to be in several bands and had amazing performance and educational opportunities in the Orange County School of the Arts Commercial Music program. Since High School I’ve had many musical projects and support myself singing locally and producing/songwriting for other artists. In my free time I love watching sports, playing pool and going soccer golfing. My friends will tell you I’m very competitive. I currently have six singles with another about to drop on all platforms this month.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Adventurous, complicated, sentimentaL.
How it all started?
I became obsessed with the Jackson 5 singing Who’s Loving You when I was very young. My dad passed down his acoustic guitar to me and I fell in love with learning music and wrote my first song, Green Light, in 6th Grade. Word got out that I could sing and after being invited to perform the National Anthem for a few hundred at a little league ceremony, and then joining a band, I don’t think I’ve gone a day without picking up my guitar and singing a tune.
When was it that you first realized that you wanted to pursue music as a career?
My first ever public performance with my band, when I was 12, was eye opening. I loved seeing reactions on the crowds faces and the feeling that I got in my stomach when I was creating music for people live. That was when I knew. I remember going to my first concert, U2, mesmerized by the audience and thinking to myself “this is what I want”.
Did your family support this decision?
Yes, I could not ask for more supportive parents. They’ve loved everything about my music and I since the very beginning.
What is your musical background?
I began playing in bands in middle school and performed at all the standard spots for up and coming bands including The Whiskey, The Coach House, and the House of Blues. At about the same time I auditioned for the first season of X Factor. I was proud, at only 13, to have made it to the top 150 or so from the original tens of thousands who auditioned. The same year I started high school at the Orange County School of the Arts. I learned great musicianship and had many awesome performance experiences, including singing my final high school performance center stage at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. I also had the good fortune to learn a lot about producing, songwriting and pushing my limits from music manager and producer, Thomas Barsoe at OC Hit Factory, where I now work as a producer and songwriter for other artists.
What kind of music do you listen normally?
I love soul RnB, and modern jazz hip hop. I also love 80’s pop such as Stevie wonder, Prince and Marvin Gaye.
How was to be part of hit show X-Factor?
The X Factor was an amazing experience. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone. The best part was connecting with other talented and driven young artists who I am still friends with today.
You were very young when you performed there, how do you manage to do a great performance and not be nervous?
In all honesty, I definitely still get nervous. For me, overcoming it is all a mental thing and trying not to care so much about what people think of me.
Robbie Dean- Lose My Cool (Acoustic Session)
Tell us about your single “Past Life?”
Past Life is one of my favorite songs and probably the best representation of my sound. I wrote it about a girl I met who I felt so comfortable with right off the bat.
Where we can see you next?
I play most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at OC restaurants. You can also find me every Wednesday through July 10th at West Hollywood’s newest night club, Rocco’s WEHO, as a finalist in Off The Strip, LA’s Ultimate Singing Competition. The audience votes for their favorite each week until the 8th week when the top four vote getters battle it out! Come through and I’ll sing for your votes!
What music influences do you have?
I am very inspired by soulful RnB artists. Daniel Caesar, Allen Stone and Mac Aryes are some of the more modern influences for me.
Describe your sound in 2 words?
Crisp and ripe
What is your next goal as a musician?
My next goals are to assemble a backing band to start playing shows in major cities around the nation, build a following that will show up and to continue to release original music that is heard by the masses.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Having complete peace in the moment. Being able to do what you love surrounded by people you love.
What are the five things you can’t live without?
Tacos, deodorant, family, Duke basketball, Will Smith
Best advice ever given?
My vocal coach Valerie Morehouse gave me the best advice: Get out of your head and into your body. Be present.
Do you get nervous before a performance?
Yes, I often get nervous before performances but there’s a certain zone I can channel when I start to really emote that makes my nerves subside.
What is next for Robbie Dean in 2019?
A lot more music being released and full band original shows. I plan to move to LA with a bunch of close, artistic friends and collaborate with as many people as I can.
Any advice for upcoming singers?
Don’t try too hard to “be unique”, you’ll end up sounding like someone else. Do what feels natural.
If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t singing I’d probably be playing baseball or making films.
Something people don’t know about you?
I’m a pretty good juggler. I’m working on four at a time.
What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?
A house on the water in Bora Bora with my girl, sipping on a cocktail in a hammock.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
My grandma, because I could ask her how my last performance was from heaven.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
What would be a deal breaker on a first date?
If they don’t like 80’s music.
What is on your bucket list?
Going to the blue lagoon in Iceland.
Idea of a perfect Sunday?
Soccer, golfing with my buds.
Do you support any charity?
I have supported several charities over the years. For my 9th birthday I asked friends to bring donations for St. Jude’s Children’s hospital instead of gifts. I’ve performed for charity events such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Extraordinary Lives Foundation for mental health, and the OC Walk for Eosinophilic Disease.
Any exiting news you want to share with us?
My new original, ANGEL, is out everywhere now! Beyond that you will have to wait and see! I’ll announce more on Instagram at @robbiedean_
What does fashion mean to you?
Lookin sexy and feelin’ sexy.
How would you explain your fashion style?
It changes daily, depends on what’s clean. Kidding aside I like a casual modern hipster kind of vibe that’s unique to me.
How important is Social Media for you?
Personally I don’t like social media, however it’s very important for me to use to connect with fans and spread the word about my music.
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “Being realistic is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity” – Will Smith
Actor: Will Smith
Drink: guava juice
City: San Diego
Movie: The Pursuit of Happiness
Sports team: Duke basketball
Song: Back Pocket by Vulfpeck
Photo Credit: Greg Doherty