If you’re an avid TikTok user, you might’ve come across the song NVMD used as the sound for a number of different videos. You might’ve even asked yourself if Ariana Grande released a new single when you heard it. But Pinay singer Denise Julia, the voice behind the viral song, has a lot more to offer than just sounding like Ariana Grande—and her quick rise to fame proves it.
Julia’s love for music started when she was young, but her passion for performing came much later. “I began writing songs when I was 13 years old and I did join the choir for a time, but I was very shy, so I kept my compositions to myself. It wasn't until I transferred to another school in senior year that I felt more at ease with singing and performing.” With this background, it’s surprising to know that her professional career in music is still a young one. “I began creating my work less than a year ago. I was overjoyed to release my work because it has always been a dream of mine to reach out to others through my music.”
With over two million monthly listeners and about 23 million streams on Spotify, Julia’s dream is definitely coming to life. While TikTok has the power to shoot musicians to stardom (think Olivia Rodrigo or Lil Nas X), Denise has a love-hate relationship with virality. “I'm happy things turned out for me. My listeners dug deeper into my discography and found other songs they enjoy, so that's my favorite part.”
Virality can help put a song out there, but the staying power of NVMD proves that it’s more than just a fun sound to use on TikTok. The breakup anthem’s R&B vibe and strong lyrics make it easy to add it to any playlist you may have—and that’s probably the case considering it has garnered over 19 million streams on Spotify alone. It’s easy to hear R&B’s influence on Denise when you listen to any of her tracks. “[My musical influences are] R&B artists from the 1990s to the 2000s! Beyonce, Aaliyah, Tamia, and others are examples. Aside from that, I've grown to appreciate Ariana Grande, Summer Walker, dvsn, and others. I'm sure my listeners recognize those influences and I primarily enjoy their music because it's what I grew up listening to.”
Denise is not only a versatile singer, but she’s a versatile songwriter as well. “[I write about] many experiences; some of my own, some from others. I'd also write about experiences that I'd like to have.” Indeed, you’ll always have something to relate to when you listen to Denise’s discography—from her songs like Pity Ya, which encourages you to stand your ground in the face of a situationship, to Nobody, a declaration of love and loyalty, in spite of it possibly being unrequited. The relatability of her songs has even helped her reach her career milestones. “[I’m proud of] reaching a global audience! It has always been my ambition, so I'm grateful to have accomplished it this early in my career. It felt surreal to be included in global charts.”
The whirlwind success Denise experienced has also opened up a lot of opportunities for her, like shoots, interviews, and events. With that comes primping and preening, and you’ll be surprised to know that Denise does it all herself. “I actually prefer doing my own makeup because it just doesn't feel like me when others do it. I like to sculpt my face based on my own features, and applying makeup is therapeutic for me!” She even has a signature look down, and if you follow her, you probably know it well. “The eyes are probably my favorite part of the makeup routine. My fans know me for wearing contact lenses, a cat eye, and long lashes. So I love a good pair of lashes (I use Miniso) and any dark liner. My go-to palette is Kylie Cosmetics' Bronze Shadow Palette. To be honest, I only do what works for me!”
Her beauty philosophy also closely reflects her definition of music. “For me, beauty is a person's energy. It transcends physical characteristics and music does, too. Music is an experience in and of itself for me; I don't just listen to it. I like to think that each song has its own little life.” With that said, it’s easy to see how Denise has acquired the fan base that she enjoys now.
Since Denise is still a rising star, she has a bunch of goals in mind that she would like to accomplish. “[I] definitely [want to] reach a larger audience and maintain a strong relationship with my fans. I'm all about good music and good vibes!”
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