AJAA x NYLON Manila Cover Story

The Next Level for P-Pop: AJAA On Celebrating The Best of Youth

Embrace the inner child with AJAA.

Glimpse into what the future of P-Pop has in store with AJAA, the group that dares you to love the genre with everything you’ve got.

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It seems that the hottest trend right now and for the foreseeable future is, oddly enough, the past. Nostalgia has become the cultural currency of the moment. What’s old is now new, and our childhood has become what people have been talking about these days. But more than just a tool for corporations to sell you something, nostalgia and reminiscing on the past speaks to how important of a factor our youth plays into who we become. And it’s this vision of our youth that four member P-pop boy group AJAA is aiming for. 

AJAA, the young boy group that debuted last year under Cornerstone Entertainment, serves passion, dedication, and boundless energy with every performance. JC, Ash, Alex, and Axl embody a genre that celebrates what makes Filipino youth special, which is no wonder they bagged the title of “Best Rookie P-Pop Group” in the 2024 Big Bold Brave Awards. “Something unique and new,” says AJAA on being “Next Level”. “Something that could distinguish us from other groups.” 

True enough, while it’s still early days for AJAA, the P-pop boy group is not only making a space for themselves in the genre, but reminding us that our youth, no matter how shallow it can be, should be cherished and will always hold a special place in our hearts. 

On Ash: Deconstructed top and string embellished jeans, Tin Kann (@tin_kann), On JC: Looped yarn shirt and trousers, LE NGOK (@le_ngok), On Axl: Sweater and trousers, LE NGOK (@le_ngok), On Alex: Coat and jumpsuit, LE NGOK (@le_ngok), Footwear all wearing (@le_ngok)


It wasn’t that long ago that P-pop was seen as just an afterthought. But the past year alone has seen P-pop boom thanks to the success of acts like SB19 and BINI. It’s safe to say that P-Pop as a genre is really gaining traction on the international stage – a goal that all P-Pop groups share, according to AJAA. “I believe that it’s every P-Pop group’s dream and I’m hoping more people appreciate our music.” 

As fresh faces, AJAA is stepping into a scene where their efforts are now more appreciated by the general public, a fact the group knows and appreciates. “It feels really nice knowing that a lot of people are already appreciating P-pop! We are very honored to be part of this P-pop community and we will do our best to contribute something to the P-pop community as well.” 

But AJAA, and the rest of their contemporaries, still very much have their work cut out for them if they are to reach even greater heights both locally and abroad, due in no small part to the influence of social media. “Social media plays a big vital role in the music industry. It really helps our music to be well-known not only here in the Philippines, but also internationally. It serves as a platform not only for music, but also Filipino art and culture to be showcased in a global setting,” AJAA explains.

On Ash: Neon green jacket and pants, Uno Almogela (@uno.almogela), On JC: Neon orange jacket and pants, Carmela Juaneza (@carmuane), On Axl: Fuchsia jacket and pants, Chris Dale (@cchrisdalee), On Alex: Yellow jacket and pants, Rev Osias (@osiasrev), Shoes all wearing, SM Sprint Shoes, Special thanks to: Russell D. Ilaya of SM Fashion (@etceteruss)

Key to this growth is the youth, the arbiter of all things new, next, and now in pop culture. It’s through the youth that sees artists rise from niche acts to the next big thing, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing with P-pop. Go online and you’ll see the majority of the new energy P-pop has been experiencing is driven by the youth, both longtime stans and curious listeners. “I think the reason why P-pop groups are finally growing in popularity among young people Is because we (young people) are now finally realizing how beautiful P-pop really is,” says the group, whose members all sit firmly in Gen Z. They add, “P-pop can offer so much and what young people are seeing now is just the tip of the iceberg!!!” 

The use of social platforms to spread awareness of Filipino music (and culture in general) is in the hands of every kababayan, but most especially the youth of today. “P-Pop needs to be promoted more among young Filipinos for it to reach greater heights. [We] believe that it is something interesting and people will love [it] if only they have the chance to be watched.”


P-pop has all the bells and whistles that you’d expect. The looks, visuals, dancing, singing, and so much more are all there. But what makes it stand out and differ from allegations that P-pop is just a K-pop clone is that it is by Filipinos, for Filipinos. “[P-pop] is made by Us, Filipinos,” states AJAA matter-of-factly. 

While there’s nothing wrong with having international influences, when it boils down to it, P-pop is championing Filipino culture and music. The reliability factor is what sets P-pop apart with how you’re watching people who look like you sing about topics you’ve been through. And the best part is that P-pop artists love to do what they do. “We can somehow relate more since it is our own as well.” 

On Ash: Deconstructed top and string embellished jeans, Tin Kann (@tin_kann), On JC: Looped yarn shirt and trousers, LE NGOK (@le_ngok), On Axl: Sweater and trousers, LE NGOK (@le_ngok), On Alex: Coat and jumpsuit, LE NGOK (@le_ngok), Footwear all wearing (@le_ngok)


Sure, nostalgia is trendy these days. But when people look back on what made their youth top-tier, it’s not just because they want to hop on trends. We live in a time where everything needs to go by in a snap of a finger. It feels like time is at 2x speed with how you need to know what you’re going to do with your life even before you finish high school. There’s no time to slow down, enjoy your youth, and live your life. 

Nostalgia has proven to be a safe space for many to reminisce because it serves as their way to escape from their problems or envision a youth they always wanted but never had. At the end of the day, you should be celebrating your youth, not wanting to skip ahead. 

The subject of AJAA’s music has always been related to the experiences of youth, from the anxiety-ridden plight of one struck by a crush to being in the throes of your first love. And while this is perhaps due to the fact that the members themselves are quite young, it’s also because of their general outlook on their boyhood. “Time is a big wheel that just keeps on going and we can never stop it,” the boys shared thoughtfully.

Despite this mature perspective on the experience of growing up, AJAA still very much keeps in touch with their more playful side. As members of Gen Z, the group has described the youth of today as commonly being misunderstood for their zeal and humor, stating: “People sometimes get weirded out with what the things they find funny, and people tend to judge and call names such as ‘OA’ or ‘mababaw ang kaligayahan’.”

On Ash: Coat, Kree8 (@kree8_studio) Shirt and trousers, LE NGOK (@le_ngok), On JC: printed coat, Kree8 (@kree8_studio), On Axl:puffer vest and trousers, Kree8 (@kree8_studio), On Alex: top and trousers, Kree8 (@kree8_studio), Shoes all wearing, World Balance (@worldbalanceph), Special thanks to: Pam Biares of World Balance Ph (@pambiares)

As young artists, their joyful approach to the craft has led them down a path that aims to uplift the spirits of the audience. “So here is our music to help you remember your childhood, and serve as a gentle reminder that AJAA is here to somehow escape your problems!” A very heartwarming sentiment from these promising rookies.

In case it doesn’t come through on paper, the AJAA boys have nothing but excitement and determination in their hearts when it comes to the future of P-Pop, and we hope this passion only catches fire in the hearts of Gen Z all over the country. After all, there is a wealth of talent (across all categories, but especially musically) among Filipino youths, and now is their time to shine. 

On Ash: Deconstructed top and string embellished jeans, Tin Kann (@tin_kann), On JC: Looped yarn shirt and trousers, LE NGOK (@le_ngok), On Axl: Sweater and trousers, LE NGOK (@le_ngok), On Alex: Coat and jumpsuit, LE NGOK (@le_ngok), Footwear all wearing (@le_ngok)


Assistant Photography ANIKEN DELA CRUZ

Creative And Fashion Direction ANDRE CHANG




Graphics Editor VINCE CANLAPAN

Multimedia Artists KYLA AMADORA, ABBY CHUA

Makeup & Hair Styling HIDAYA, EGAN HENRIK

Shoot Coordination JASMIN DASIGAN




Brand Associate BIANCA LAO

Marketing Services Manager MARVIN MANCERA

Ad & Promo Supervisor SOPHIA SAMALA


Continue reading: Changing Landscapes: Navigating the World of Gen Z Fashion and Social Media with Ashley Garcia