Behind the Music: SB19 on Setting the Bar High for ‘P-Pop,’ the Songs that Influenced their Sound

May 3, 2021

The crisp January evening was a night to remember. The light dimmed inside the Araneta Coliseum, signifying that both the live and virtual crowds were in for a musical spectacle. It was, after all, one of the biggest nights for OPM.  

Five young lads donning black suits embellished with the hues of the Philippine flag stood on stage. Pablo (then Sejun), Stell, Josh, Ken, and Justin, collectively known as SB19, stepped into the spotlight and showcased their musical versatility through their back-to-back originals —  the melodic “Hanggang sa Huli” and the adrenaline-pumping “Alab.” 

2021 started strong for SB19. The group won three major accolades during the 6th Wish Music Awards (Wish Pop Song of the Year for “Love Goes,” Wish Group of the Year, and the Wishers’ Choice award). They were also able to give back to their chosen charitable group House of Refuge Foundation, Inc. And that’s not all — they’re also closing the first half of the year with a bang. The P-Pop phenomenon is one of Billboard Music Awards 2021 Top Social Artist nominees, alongside international stars such as BLACKPINK, BTS, Seventeen, and Ariana Grande.

As we witness another milestone in SB19’s fast-rising career, we celebrate the tracks that influenced their sound, the promising future of P-pop, and the group’s aspirations of bringing OPM to the rest of the world in our May edition of “Behind the Music.”

What are the top five tracks that you think have heavily influenced the way you create music today? Can you tell us an interesting story or fact about how these songs became special for you?

Imagine (John Lennon)

Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)

Lose Yourself (Eminem)

The Search (NF)

Godspeed (Frank Ocean)

Pablo: Bohemian Rhapsody will always be special. When I make music, I make sure that it’s of substance and I don’t like limiting myself to a certain sound or genre. In fact, I don’t like labeling my music. I just want my ideas and thoughts to flow and see what I’ll come up with. 

As SB19, we all have different personalities and styles and I guess it works well for us. One would think that it’s hard because all of the members have such strong and great ideas and it’ll be hard to incorporate all of those in one song, but it’s the other way around. I think it’s also one of the strengths of SB19 — incorporating all of those individualities in one song creates a certain uniqueness that only SB19 has.

Your one-year-old discography is a treasure trove of pop and ballad songs. Have you ever imagined your group creating and performing different genres of music? For you, what makes music exploration an essential factor in your growth as an artist? 

Each of the members have different tastes in music and I think it’s what makes us SB19. 

As a group, we always want to serve something new to our listeners — something that they won’t expect. It’s great because you can never go wrong with broadening your knowledge about something. It only helps us improve and be unpredictable. That means that our listeners will  always have something to look forward to.

We know how much effort you put into rehearsing your performances every time, but can you take us into what it is like to be in a P-Pop group? How do you collaborate music-wise and performance-wise? What are the disciplines that you’ve learned along your musical journey?

It’s really hard to be in a group, but it’s worthwhile. You will learn a lot of things and you’ll see different sides that you normally wouldn’t be able to when you’re working alone. You get to improve your musicality by listening to other people’s ideas. The hardest part is when ideas clash. You really have to keep an open mind so that the team could find a middleground that everyone will be satisfied with. Everyone has a say and it’s important that no one gets left behind. Increase your patience, widen your understanding, strengthen your will, and everything will work out.

It has only been two years since you first debuted in the scene, but the support that you’ve been receiving from A’Tin is already overwhelming. How does it feel to be admired by a young generation of pop fans? 

We’re extremely happy and thankful that we have them, but at the same time, we’re nervous. That just shows how much we love what we’re doing. We always have to improve every time because we don’t want our fans to be disappointed. Of course, we want to be satisfied with ourselves. It motivates us to keep working harder.

What can you say about the growing PPop community — and the emergence of budding PPop groups?

It’s GREAT! This way, it’ll be easier to promote our music to the whole world. There’s strength in numbers. We wish to perform onstage with all of them someday. We dream for a music show where all the groups can perform and showcase who they are on one stage.

Your group was named as the Wish Group of the Year this Wish Music Awards 2021, alongside other major category accolades. How impactful are these Wish awards for you, your supporters, and your music?

When we first performed on the Wish Bus, it was already a dream come true for us.

We’re really thankful for the opportunity that was given to us and, of course, we’re thankful to our supporters. It gives us more motivation to work even harder. These awards, besides music, are the things that show how great our bond is with our fans.

From dominating the charts, to swiftly gathering a solid fanbase, to bagging numerous awards and international nominations, do you sometimes feel pressured about your musical career? What do you think is the purpose of your music? What simply keeps you going?

Of course, we do feel pressured, but for us, it’s good pressure. It pushes us to do even more. We always want to take on new challenges and it’s satisfying and worthwhile when we succeed with our goals. I think the purpose of our music, besides inspiring and motivating people, is to show that somehow, we are all the same. We feel, we ache, we dream. It’s always a great feeling to know that you’re not the only one. It gives us strength to keep moving forward. It gives us purpose.

Support the boys of SB19 by voting for their Billboard Music Awards 2021 Top Social Artist nomination. Stay tuned on the BBMAs’ official Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for more updates. 

Binge-watch their Wishclusive performances below:

Stream their latest offering “What?” here:

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