At an early age Robert showed a tremendous musical gift and was known around school as a guitar-playing prodigy. He could also play any other instrument he picked up, and did so on his first record, One By One (released on LA indie Aeronaut Records), playing everything from drums, banjo, bass, piano and mandolin to his most natural instrument, the guitar. Ry Cooder gave him a vintage National when he was only nine, and John Frusciante took him on as his only student when he was sixteen.
Based on the critical success of One By One, Robert was quickly picked up by Atlantic Records and put out his major label debut, Before Nightfall, in late 2009, produced by D. Sardy. That release was quickly followed by 15 months of constant touring, sometimes in support of artists such as OK Go, Fanfarlo, Brett Dennen, John Butler Trio and Jason Mraz, and sometimes headlining US radio shows and clubs all over Europe. In fact, Junebug, the first single from Before Nightfall, went to #1 in France and Top Ten in Germany and Switzerland. It was the #2 top selling single of 2010 in France.