Functioning as the soundtrack of lives, as it is the musical story of theirs, SB19 is still on fire and ready for greater things ahead.
No, they’re not just another K-Pop wannabe act—not that there is anything inherently wrong with that. In fact, with the smashing success of the musical imprint of South Korea across their borders to the rest of the world, the cover culture is what makes it one of the more inclusive and exciting artistic genres to have superseded many a consciousness. Tracing part of their origins in the vein of K-pop, having trained under a Korean entertainment company for three years to perfection prior to even debuting on stages in mostly schools across the country, SB19 is distinctly and proudly Filipino.
Waving the flag of original Pinoy music (OPM) high, SB19 is blazing a trail with P-Pop, a sub-genre that takes on the passion and precision of K-Pop, but with a uniquely Filipino spin to it. An overarching theme in music, pop is malleable enough that it means something different to people. So, even if they may physically look like they came straight out of a boyband factory, complete with a meticulousness of moves that is infectious and cracks like a whip, SB19 is decided and determined to carve out their own sound.
Big, bold, and buoyant, SB19 braves through this new frontier on the music scene with such a command that doesn’t make them seem like a fish out of water. In fact, they can easily stand side-by-side with their contemporaries, especially in the K-Pop scene just by listening to their music or watching them perform. Ever since their debut with their electric and energetic single, Go Up, Sejun, Stell, Josh, Ken, and Justin have made quite the impression on the music scene, with their sound waves making its way to the top 10 of the Billboard Social 50 chart, a first for any Southeast Asian act, as well as the first Filipino group to break into the Billboard Next Big Sound chart. Not too shabby, right?
Like impenetrable bonds in a molecular system, the chemistry between the boys is something else. Diverse as they are, they all come together as a compound that operates as one, with their varied voices unifying in a compelling chorus. Whether it is their butter-like harmonies, seamless transitions, and striking choreography, SB19 shines through and through. While they may be more known for their high-octane and sweat-inducing rave of rhythms in Go Up, Love Goes, and Alab, with lyrics gracefully gliding from English and Filipino, their introduction to the Filipino music scene was actually with the stirring string of sentiments in Tilaluha, a soaring ballad that catches you swaying to the pendulum of your emotions. Displaying a confidence that is definitively restrained, the boys of SB19 not only wear their hearts on their sleeves with their slower songs, singing their souls out with encompassing vocals, but they also realize a deft sense of maturity, as realized in Hanggang Sa Huli and the quarantine tune written for the front liners and workforce in the pandemic, Ikako.
Unassuming despite their stratospheric rise to superstardom, interfacing with SB19 is as easy and uncharacteristic as their onstage personas. Much like many wide-eyed upstarts and prodigies’ on the cusp of possibilities, Sejun, Stell, Josh, Ken, and Justin are clearly and genuinely made for greater things. With their music functioning as the soundtrack of our lives, as it is theirs, the boys are on fire and ready for so much more, because as they always say, they’re in the zone.
Photography ERWIN CANLAS
Art direction LYN ALUMNO
Fashion direction and styling ANGELO RAMIREZ DE CARTAGENA
Makeup and hair VICTOR LOONG and RAFFY SO
Shoot coordination THEA MARTIN
Here, we listed our favorite SB19 performances we cannot quite get over, repeating them until we burn through the replay button.