Fresh off their first year anniversary, BINI still has much to offer. Aiming to raise their flag towards success, the girls are proving that P-pop is more than just a passing moment.
In the past few years, few developments have shaken the Philippine music industry as much as the modern rise of P-pop and the groups that color its pages. What seemingly was seen as a fad (and even a joke) is now a slowly but steadily rising sub-genre in OPM. The fact that this year alone saw the debut of the very first concert dedicated to P-pop should tell you as much. And one group helping lead the P-pop charge is the eight-member girl group, BINI.
Initially coming together through Star Hunt Academy in 2018, the members have been vocal about how their trainee era was anything but easy. All that well accounted for, the sweat, tears, and hard work has paid off as BINI firmly placed themselves on the map thanks to their uber-catchy pre-debut single, Da Coconut Nut.
Since then, BINI has become one of the top groups thanks to their killer stages and catchy releases, as well as their strong, fierce-meets-cool, and unique personalities. And recently, they achieved a major milestone this 2022 as they reached their first anniversary. But clearly, Aiah, Colet, Maloi, Gwen, Stacey, Mikha, Jhoanna, and Sheena still have so much more to give.
Now that their initial debut period is over, BINI is more than ready to bring things to the next level as they carry the mantle of being called the nation’s premier girl group. That’s a lot of pressure to put on members that aren’t even past the age of 21. But they can handle it, one single at a time.
THE YEAR THAT HAS BEEN
When looking at BINI’s portfolio during their debut year, the girls were very much booked and busy. Among the many things that they have done? They flew overseas to Dubai for their first international stage. They graced the cover of an international magazine. They performed at the Philippine Arena to tens of thousands of people. Most importantly, the girls dropped their debut album, Born To Win, and scored themselves a few viral hits such as with Na Na Na. (And there’s also the newsworthy solo activities of the members such as Mikha’s acting debut in He’s Into Her and Sheena’s viral TikToks.)
When reflecting on their journey so far, Aiah marvels at the many things they have done despite the challenges. “Grabe one year na pala ang BINI,” she recalls. “Sobrang dami po naming pinagdaanan po as a group kasi nag pre-debut at debut po kami sa pandemic, so super challenging po talaga niya since bawal pong lumabas, bawal po kaming mag-perform na may mga tao so sobrang hirap po kasi sa harap lang kami ng camera nagpe-perform.”
Despite all the setbacks and challenges, that didn’t stop BINI from attaining the perch they currently stand on. And as the country continues to open up more, the group is seeing the fruits of their labor. Recently, they, along a gaggle of other P-pop groups, performed at the first ever PPOPCON Concert, backbend dance break and all. While the group cherishes all their experiences, they shared that the PPOPCON Concert was a standout for their still early careers.
“It was our first time to perform here live in our homeland and it is our first time to perform in Araneta Coliseum,” muses Maloi. But aside from the core memory the experience carved in their hearts, what struck the girls most was how it was a time to celebrate with their fellow P-pop groups. Maloi adds, “First time din po namin mag-perform with our fellow P-pop groups, and I’m really looking forward to have a performance again with them in the near future.”
WORKING WITH BGYO AND SB19
Speaking of P-pop groups, BINI has already worked with a couple of them in official capacities. At this point, BINI’s DNA is practically intertwined with that of BGYO as the brother-sister groups have participated in many activities together. BINI also got to work with SB19 for a memorable modern rendition of Kabataang Pinoy. To this, the group says that working with both groups was a dream. But they did notice a few key differences.
“They are different groups pero meron po silang kanya-kanyang fun and excitement na binibigay whenever magkakasama po kami. And they’re both excellent and professional kaya sobrang saya po silang katrabaho,” explains Maloi. “With BGYO, we already know them since 2019 kaya pag may collaboration po kami, masasabi po na mas comfortable po kami sa kanila kasi na-build na po ‘yung bond namin with them. With our kuyas in SB19, siyempre po at first it was awkward, pero eventually naging close na po kami kasi sobrang approachable po nila and pinaparamdam po talaga nila na gusto nila kami makasama, kaya nagclick po kami at naging SBINI19.”
SUMMER FUN MEETS EMPOWERMENT
To press play on a BINI song is to hear almost two different stories. On one hand, most of BINI songs are upbeat tracks that delve into genres like pop, disco, electronic, and funk. But when you take a look at the lyrics, it cuts deeper than your typical radio-friendly track. If the song isn’t tackling the topic of self-confidence or believing in yourself, the girls are lacing rhythm and beats with lyrics about unleashing your inner queen. And that holds true for their latest release, Pit A Pat.
The dreamy electro-pop track features an empowering message of keeping headstrong through life’s obstacles and distractions. Its sound is good enough to enjoy at a summer party and beyond. But its lyrics hint at prioritizing yourself and not relying on a man to be your prince charming. “Actually, we already heard the demo two years ago and we all chose it because of the catchy beat and we feel like we can really vibe with the song,” shares Gwen. ”It really sounds so fun especially when we do it with choreo, since it’s a summer song sobrang sakto niya and lahat makakasabay and mapapaindak.”
Originally written by Korean singer-songwriter Sophia Pae, the track is extra special for the girls as they also had a hand in writing the Filipino lyrics to the song. They admit though that it wasn’t easy penning down their thoughts into words. “Nahihirapan kami maglagay ng Tagalog na words sa song namin kasi parang iba’t ibang ideas, madami po kaming gustong sabihin,” says Colet. Stacey expounds on this conundrum further: “The story of the song, it talks about how life doesn’t turns out to be like a Disney fairytale. It’s not always that you have your prince charming over there ready to save you. So, ‘yun po ‘yung naging hugot po namin in writing.”
Uniting their thoughts together under this one vibe, the girls were able to write. Colet quips, “Parang what unites us is ‘yung word ‘priority.’ Since kami pong BINI kasi, mas ipa-prioritize and mahalaga po and umiiwas po kami sa distraction kaya ‘yan po ‘yung lyrics.” Stacey says she looked to her own life as inspiration for this admittedly difficult task. “It’s my first time to write Tagalog rap, so I tried to reminisce all of my experiences in life na I was just all by myself and my life wasn’t a fairytale kind of life.”
Usually, whenever a musician attains a certain level of success, they are given a title to match that. For example, there’s Queen of Pop for Madonna, Asia’s Songbird for Regine Velasquez, and 4th Gen It Boy for TXT’s Yeonjun. In BINI’s case, it is Nation’s Girl Group, a title originally given to them by their fans and made “official” during the PPOPCON Concert. The girls admit that they were taken aback by the title. “Unang beses kasi namin marinig po that time, tapos hindi po namin expect kasi noong rehearsal, hindi sinabi,” shares Jhoanna.
While they understand the pressure that comes with it, they also consider it a huge honor. “Parang ang sarap umiyak kasi kahit in that way, nakikita po ng tao ‘yung effort at hard work and siyempre, napakalaking bagay na po ‘yun lalo na po tao ang nabigay ng title sa BINI,” she continues. “Of course there is pressure to meet expectations but, ‘yung pressure naman, ’yan ‘yung tumututlong sa amin to do better and be worthy ng title. We’re just gonna continue doing what we’re doing. Continue lang anuman ‘yung BINI ngayon.”
While P-pop is currently in the midst of a gleaming golden age, that doesn’t mean it’s a sub-genre that’s been accepted with open arms by all. Scroll through the comments section of anything P-pop related, you just might find a comment that disparages the genre. Some have also accused P-pop of just being a blatant and even low quality rip-off of K-pop. Well aware of these comments and criticisms, BINI chooses to see the apparent good in it. Because in their eyes, these comparisons, whether fair or not, shows that P-pop can keep up with the best of them.
“Kapag may ganon po, parang hindi matutuwa kasi alam mo ‘yung nakikita nila siguro ‘yung discipline ng K-pop sa mga P-pop groups. But dapat matuwa po tayo kasi pagdating ng concept and production, nakikipagsabayan na ang P-pop. It means lalo, knowing na strength ng K-pop, at least ’di ba, kaya na natin makipagsabayan kahit papano and sa ganon, paraang nire-represent natin ‘yung country natin.”
While P-pop does share from universal sounds and ideas, at its core is a uniquely Pinoy touch. Here, we have hardworking people who put in the effort and make music that is inspired by the sounds of the world, but still retains a distinctly local flavor. “You won’t lose anything naman if you try to listen to P-pop,” expresses Sheena. “Try to audition to be part of a P-pop group, because the world of P-pop is amazing. It sounds great, it unites us Filipinos, and it’s a great way to showcase our talents. And by simply listening and promoting P-pop, tinatayo mo ang bandera ng Pilipinas kasi P-pop is not only about music, but it’s Pinoy pride.”
THE SUCCESS OF ONE IS THE SUCCESS OF ALL
Ever since their debut, one of the main pillars of BINI has been empowerment. Their group ethos is all about being a modern binibini, one that exhibits sweet charms, as well as an independent and confident attitude. As one of the highest profile P-pop girl groups out there, this feminist thrust isn’t just for show, because as they see it, their success isn’t just BINI’s success, but for all women in the industry.
“We hope that one success will lead to everybody’s success, especially us girl groups. There are a lot of girl groups that are formed right now, so it would be so nice na hinihila namin lahat taas, kaming mga babae, and we all contribute to the idea of P-pop Rise, because we really would want that. We hope rin that in the future, all of us to become successful and bring awareness na we can do it as women. And hopefully din we can be able to tap into the international scene, because that would be so nice, mga babae in the international stage, conquering the world,” expresses Stacey.
While women, especially in the pop scene, are often depicted as rivals and would rather fight one another, that isn’t case at all. Petty rivalries and squabbles begone, the women in P-pop are here to support each other. Growing up, BINI had their own idols and role models to look up to. And now as idols themselves, there are young girls who look to BINI as role models. So, for the young girls out there hoping to chase their dreams, whatever that may be, here’s what BINI has to say as shared by Mikha: ”First thing is to believe in yourself and also don’t depend on others. Always accept your flaws at the same time, celebrate your strengths.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR BINI?
Their debut year was a busy one for BINI. But as they enter year two, it feels like the group is just getting started. Already, the group is slated to perform at the Tugatog Music Festival and Be You that will feature the one and only Red Velvet this July. They are also set to celebrate their first anniversary on June 11. And as teased by Aiah, BLOOM fandom has a lot more to anticipate from the group. “Sa year two naman ng BINI, marami po kaming gustong mangyari, marami po kaming goals. Gusto po naming ma-meet ang BLOOMs. Gusto po namin libutin ang buong Pilipinas, lalo na po yung Visayas at Mindanao kasi sobrang daming BLOOMs na gustong ma-meet ang BINI. And, of course, gusto po rin namin mag-release ng more songs to inspire the people through our music. Gusto rin po namin ng more concerts at hindi lang sa Pilipinas dahil mataas po mangarap ang BINI outside the Philippines.”
When it comes to their BLOOM, it’s clear that the bond BINI has with their fans is on another level. The fan-idol relationships within P-pop is generally next level, but BLOOMs are ride-or-die for the girl group. Even if they haven’t had much face-to-face experiences with their fans, the love is real and overflowing. “Sa mga BLOOMs na sumusuporta sa amin, maraming salamat po, kasi hindi naman aangat ng patuloy ‘yung BINI kung hindi dahil sa tulong ninyo,” says Jhoanna. “Maraming salamat na kahit may mga times na hindi naman kasi palaging ganap ang BINI, tuloy-tuloy po sa soc med, hindi sila nawawala. Sana magkikita na tayo soon. Malapit na nating naabot ang pangarap natin dahil pangarap ng isa ang pangarap ng lahat.”
With year one in the bag, the future looks to be just as exciting if not more. BINI is set to continue to get their name out there through performances, songs, and empowering message that will never go out of style. Now, all that there is left to do is watch out for the continued blooming of BINI.
CONTINUE READING: We Need To Talk About BINI’s Off-Duty Style
Creative Direction ANGELO RAMIREZ DE CARTAGENA
Shot on location at NEW MONARQ STUDIOS
Video direction KENNETH DIMAANO
Videography EXCEL PANLAQUE