Not too long ago, the term “P-Pop” was unfamiliar to the ears of many Filipinos. P-Pop was just claiming its place in late 2010s popular culture when its proponents started to stylistically adapt the sensational musical genre K-Pop. The five-member boy band SB19 was one of the trailblazers who echoed K-Pop, and not long after that, they had garnered popularity among Filipino listeners.
Since their debut in 2018, SB19 has been able to perform in front of live audiences multiple times. However, the COVID-19 pandemic placed a halt on the stage and they were forced to perform in virtual spaces.
“Ang haba ng pahinga namin since nagka-pandemic,” lead-rapper and sub-vocalist Josh said. “To be honest, medyo nagkaroon kami ng frustrations during those times kasi maraming limitations and hindi kami makapag events masyado. Hindi kami makapag-release ng sunod-sunod kasi parang nagiging complicated ang lahat.”
Josh assured SoundStrip that despite the two years of not performing live on stage, they will come back better versions of themselves as performers.
The group had gone through rigorous preparation for the world tour. Main dancer Ken shares that their training was tough and there were times when he felt like collapsing.
“Maraming preparation and grabe yung training namin. Umaabot sa point na parang i feel like collapsing during training,” he said.
Ken added that singing while dancing is tiring. However, he was thankful for the training by their vocal coach and dance trainor as it gave them endurance for future performances.
He admitted that their past performances were not perfect, and with the training they had gone through, they were motivated by the thought of becoming better artists.
“We’ve gone through a really hard training for the tour, especially kasi it’s not just gonna be in the Philippines—it’s gonna be held all over the world and syempre sabi nila, ‘If you make it in New York, you can make it all over the world,’’ Josh said.
Josh added, “Sisiguraduhin namin na madadala namin ang Filipino music sa global scale.”
Sub-vocalist Justin echoed his bandmate’s remarks, adding, “For sure, there will be more opportunities for us, and those opportunities will drive us to be better and to work hard.”
Now, with their return to performing live, the boys of SB19 intend to take things to the next level as they will go on a world tour featuring their recent release “WYAT” (Where You At). They will fly to Dubai, New York, Los Angeles, and Singapore in October and November this year.
But before leaving the Philippines, SB19 will first revisit their Filipino fans with a sold-out concert at Araneta Coliseum on September 17. They will also perform in Cebu (October 1), Clark (October 8), and Davao (October 15).
Justin shares that they are very excited to get along with their fans “A’TIN,” and he added, “Not only the local A’TINs but the international A’TINs because we are planning to visit them and we are very excited to show them and to perform for them live.”
More to offer
Despite their local success and rising international success, SB19 still believes that their musical odyssey still has a long way to go.
They are the first Filipino and Southeast Asian act to be nominated for Billboard Music Awards for the Top Social Artist category. Adding up is that they are also the first Southeast Asians to enter the top 10 of Billboard Social 50 weekly and year-end charts.
Three years from now, Josh envisions SB19 to win a Billboard Award.
Meanwhile, Ken imagines performing on a world stage in the future and aspiring artists looking up to them.
Overall, SB19 only hopes that in the future, OPM (Original Pilipino Music) is established all over the world especially P-Pop as they believe that it could boost Philippine tourism through concerts.
SB19 leader Pablo said, “Three years from now, di-ne-declare ko na talagang established na ‘yung OPM industry all over the world—or P-Pop—kasi makakatulong ‘yon sa economy ng Philippines, lalo na kapag maraming foreigners ang dumadayo rito para panoorin ang mga shows natin.”
SB19 kicks off their WYAT [Where You At] Tour on September 17 at Araneta Coliseum.
Image credits: Patrick V. Miguel/BM