Time is very important ⌚
Yes you can rank a site even without any backlinks. Just target easy keywords that have a very low KD score (0 - 5). Create content for these Keywords, make sure your on page SEO is somewhat decent and wait 1 - 3 months.
If you don't know how to find low KD keywords then pay someone to do the KW research for you.
You will get a different answer from anyone you ask, in regard to backlinking or not.
Personally, I think backlinking is overrated and is a waste of time.
You should focus on building a site with tons of quality content, and then google will rank the site, and you will naturally get shares, of your content and by definition backlinks to your site.
Google are not stupid, and the days of link pyramids and PBN`s are more or less over.
You can/should do the minimum in regards to backlinks, such as setting up social media profiles and add your stuff there every time you post and maybe share your articles in relevant Facebook groups, on Pinterest and so on..
But don't go overboard, and don't go running around and share your links all over the place.
It will look unnatural, and google in the end will see through it.
Again, keep your focus on your content quality, and even as important, make sure you write on subjects that you actually have a chance of ranking for.
If you are writing articles where each and every link on page 1 in google are long detailed high-quality articles, most likely you will not rank for that, so find another search term to write about.
And naturally, make sure you keep your site structure in check. Your H tags should be on point as mentioned earlier by others.