They are not done yet. With a lot more in store in their confident and compelling re-introduction, SB19 is proving why they are the act to keep an eye out for.
Up against some of, if not the biggest pop acts in the world such as BTS, Blackpink, Seventeen, and Ariana Grande, the boys of SB19 knew that a victory for the Top Social Artist Nod at the recently concluded Billboard Music Awards was a long shot. It’s not that they were not hopeful, of course. Apart from reading many inspiring stories of underdogs coming from left field and swiping a win, they knew they had the passionate collective of A’TIN and the entire country behind them.
It was quite the experience to go head-to-head with artists of such caliber, exercising agility in the voting process. Josh, Justin, Ken, Pablo, and Stell did not end up with the fan-voted plum, but for them, they already felt like a winner regardless. Yes, they are aware of the cliché, but it holds true, especially since the mere fact that they were mentioned in the same breath as BTS, Blackpink, Seventeen, and Ariana Grande, and being the first Southeast Asian artists to make the cut, victory was theirs regardless.
They may have not been crowned the Top Social Artists (yet), but the year has been especially good for SB19 so far. With their trending and record smashing releases of What? and MaPa, a jaw-dropping introduction of a new era for the band, and a double win at the first NYLON Manila Big, Bold, and Brave Awards, the boys have got it going for them in spades. With a beast-like bravery in their sound, and an energy that is simply put, infectious, the kings of P-pop are really winning. Despite everything, they really do look at the brighter things of life, focusing on what matters most, their music.
And they aren’t done just yet, because as it stands, we are at the initial phase of their comeback. There is a lot more they have yet to share, and at this point, they are as excited to show what they have been working on as you are to see it all in its full glory. While we patiently wait for what is yet to come, we circle back with the boys of SB19 and pick their brains on everything from their milestone-making nod at the Billboard Music Awards and possible collaborations.
All things considered, all this really proves one thing: good things come to those who wait, as they have been doing, waiting for their time to come and shine, and most importantly, to good people, just like Josh, Justin, Ken, Pablo, and Stell, legends already in the making. Yeah, they’re gonna go up alright.
Read the rest of our exclusive conversation with SB19 here:
You guys are having quite the year so far—nominations, victories, a comeback, and even an upcoming concert—how does it feel to be making all these milestones? What was the most emotional or special one for you?
We feel so blessed and thankful. Of course, we consider each and every recognition memorable, but what has to be notable is our nomination in the Billboard Music Awards. Being part of it is one step closer to our goal, which is to promote and introduce Filipino music globally. Even though we didn’t bag the award, being nominated is already a big milestone for our group.
When the Billboard Top Social Act was created, it was dominated by the likes of Justin Bieber and BTS. What does it mean to be in the same sentence as these superstars in this pride-making capacity? What did it feel like finding out about it and seeing your fans campaign and vote for you?
To be listed alongside them competing for one award felt unreal. These are top artists currently taking over the world and to even have our names together with them is unbelievable. This wouldn’t be possible without the campaign and never-ending support from our fans, from A’TIN. To see how dedicated they are in voting for us that possibly urged other local artists and even organizations such as NCCA and US Embassy to campaign for us as well makes us very thankful for all their efforts.
How do you guys work towards music? Because in your releases, they are always so distinct, how do you experiment or decide how to go hard, slow, or in what particular direction?
We are very open to doing and producing various, distinctive types of music. We don’t want to be boxed in just doing one type. Although we consider Pablo as the “brain” of our music, we make it a collaborative work as much as possible. We all contribute to the songs and materials we release and make it as authentic as it can be.
With your latest releases of What? and MaPa, they are completely different from each other. Why did you want to go through this for your initial releases for this new era of SB19?
We want the comeback to be strong and unforgettable and What? is the perfect song to pioneer it. It is a song of encouragement and power—we want listeners to raise their own flags and be proud of who they are regardless. We want to follow it with a ballad dedicated to the most important people in our lives, our MaPa. We dedicate this to our parents and parent figures who helped shape us to who we are today. We also want our listeners to celebrate and give thanks to their own parents, guardians, parent figures who served as their guidance—their maps.
You said that your nod at Billboard Awards will open new doors for Filipino music. Why do you feel OPM deserves to be heard even more across the borders? What does it feel like when other artists such as Dawin express their desire to collaborate with you? Will see such things happen in the future? Who else are your dream collaborations?
We are also open to do collaborations with other artists, especially those that align with the vision and the art that we produce. If given the opportunity, we would love to collaborate with Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, Post Malone, BTS and of course with our local artists such as Ben&Ben, The Juans, and many more.
Creative direction and styling ANGELO RAMIREZ DE CARTAGENA
Photography TOFF TIOZON assisted by KERVS ASTRONOMO
Grooming ANTON PATDU (Pablo, Stell) and JIA ACHACRUZ (Josh, Justin, Ken)
Hair RED ECHAVIA and JERICHO VALENZUELA for CULTURE SALON MNL
Shoot coordination LOUIS ESGUERRA and MJ ALMERO
Sittings editor ELYSE ILAGAN
Videography KIERAN PUNAY
Shot on location at BROOKLYN WAREHOUSE STUDIOS
Special thanks to SHOWBT