After two months of touring, of which half was spent outside the country, the phenomenal P-Pop group SB19 is finally home. And as successful as it was, the members of the group seem to be noting this as a glimpse of their next chapter, calling it a “pre-tour” as they prepare for bigger ones in the following year.
Pablo, Josh, Stell, Ken, and Justin – collectively known as SB19 – aren’t strangers to the world of performing. Each of them has their fair share of experiences before uniting as a group. Even on their 4th year, everyone still gets nervous and feels heavier responsibility as they work through an unpaved road together.
Marking their 4th year as SB19
SB19’s journey hasn’t always been smooth-sailing. But from the point the group went viral overnight, it never stopped bulldozering its way forward. The pandemic may have been a disheartening hurdle but the group made sure to pounce back. And hit by hit, SB19 did.
It has been 4 years since SB19 debuted and everyone around the members knows how much they have blossomed. Stell revealed that he didn’t personally expect the group to last this long. From strangers until their debut, countless doubts and uncertainty arose.
“Hindi siya [basta] sa pina-plano [lang], nasa hardwork and yung tiwala niyo sa bawat isa, kasama na rin siguro yung pagma-manifest,” he states. “Kasi naniniwala ako na kahit anong tiyaga ng tao may possibility na hindi siya matupad, na hindi mangyari. Pero with the support ng lahat ng tao sa paligid mo, great support system ng family and friends, kahit panghinaan ka ng loob, mawawala siya kasi naririnig mo yung suporta ng mga nagmamahal sa’yo,” Stell genuinely expounds.
Thanks to those who never stopped believing and supporting, SB19 rose above the ambivalence.
Experiences, Recognition, and Realizations
Four years may be a long or short time depending on how one views it. But during the preparation for the Where You At? Tour, SB19 was admittedly nervous and skeptical if they can actually fill the audience seats, especially abroad. Nonetheless, the members trained more, innovated ideas, and honed their skills earnestly.
Much to their surprise, the audience is a mixture of A’TIN (their fans), casuals, and even “curious-non-fans-turned-A’TIN-in-one-night”! They didn’t expect it but a sense of relief washed over them. Pablo described the overwhelming feeling with, “Baliktad pala. Yung takot namin mapapalitan ng saya” as they faced the brimming venue. “We’re really really happy and thankful sa lahat ng mga sumuporta sa show namin,” he added. Josh put highlights on their fans, “we can also say in a way na A’Tin ang secret weapon namin. Sila ang dahilan kung bakit naging successful ang buong tour na ‘to.”
Rightfully selected by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA) as the “Youth and Sentro Rizal Ambassadors,” SB19 also visited multiple cultural centers and met with different consulate generals during their stay in the U.S. “Yung ginagawa namin, it’s not just about us eh. Hindi lang ‘to about SB19 or A’TIN, it’s about the whole Filipino culture – kung paano namin ie-educate or ishe-share yung kultura natin sa mga Filipino-Americans na andun,” shared by the oldest member, Josh. “Minsan kasi [dahil sa] nakatira na sila ‘dun nakakalimutan na nila, yung mga 2nd to 3rd generation kids, yung ibang Filipino culture. Since sila ang audience namin, kami ang naging tool para mai-share namin yung kultura natin”, he finished.
Passionately promoting Filipino culture on foreign soil, they get to experience some activities like the CalligraFilipino competition, which is a Baybayin fine art calligraphy. Pablo, the group’s leader, shared that it was a good and fun memory especially since they were able to do it with fellow Filipinos as well.
The tour wasn’t just all about meetings and trainings though! SB19 also had time for themselves and had different ways of enjoying their own time. Of the places and attractions they visited, there were places that were truly memorable for each member.
It wasn’t their first time in Dubai but Ken, the main dancer, shared that the highlight for him was the sand dune experience. Pablo enjoyed the Broadway show he watched in New York. He was so amazed by the production and actors; he may have shed a tear or two! Opposite of the buzzing NYC, main vocal and choreographer Stell chose Los Angeles as he described the experience as chill and they were able to relax. Josh, whose family migrated to the US, picked both their San Francisco and California stops. He had a get-together with the people whom he had missed so much. After their 3 weeks of stay in the midst of the fall season in the west, Justin, the youngest, gave a nod to their freshly released single “Nyebe”, as he picked Singapore. The cheeky lad likened the melting of snow just as they landed back in the tropics. He was joined by his family in Singapore and had a wonderful time together after a long time.
Being able to hold their own shows outside the country gave SB19 much to think about.
Ken realized how vast the music industry is, and that SB19 is just a small fish in a small pond. They had to extend efforts and venture out to become better artists. Going out unto the unfamiliar global scene, Pablo voiced how different it is to perform in places wherein they are not well-known. There is a certain pressure that lingers inside them yet, they recognize their power to influence people so meeting everybody in their best condition is a must.
Pablo also imparted his hopes for Filipino music to be known over the world, and “na sana ma-strengthen yung profile ng Filipino heritage na mas umangat pa.” Truly spoken by a youth ambassador.
Hopeless, Longing, and Uncertainty delved into their fresh single, “Nyebe”
Ahead of their homecoming concert, P-pop Kings SB19 released “Nyebe”, entering the iTunes chart and topping no.1 in Azerbaijan, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, and the UAE, 24 hours after its release.
The thick ice has finally started to melt and “Nyebe” was finally released at midnight on December 12, 2022. The original piece was sung by SB19’s leader, Pablo, which he uploaded on his SoundCloud account back in December 2020, as the world experienced the most unfamiliar Christmas season because of the pandemic. Now a full song, we can hear all five members delivering each line with such soulfulness only they can relay to their listeners.
Nyebe, literally translated as “snow”, tackles the cold, empty and vast journey of uncertainty in our lives. Pablo revealed that he got inspired by gospel songs. Knowing the impact and power of gospel songs, Nyebe became a song about giving hope and reaching out to individuals devastated by their struggles in life. No matter how hard and thick the ice is, it will soon melt, as long as we stay determined and recognize that we are not alone in our battles.
As one of the fans’ most-awaited piece, the two-year difference made Nyebe more diverse. The first version was Pablo’s interpretation of the song only. When he gave the lyrics to his members, more emotions and different sentiments were added. Josh, Stell, Ken, and Justin interpreted the lines uniquely as their “hugot” in life were honored into the song making its flow more relatable to the listeners.
From when SB19 first performed the song on their online concert titled “Our Zone” back in November 2021, to performing it live during this year’s WYAT tour, until finally releasing it officially a week ahead of their homecoming concert, the long wait is truly over. A’TIN no longer has to listen through fancams just to hear Nyebe.
What can A’TIN expect on the 18th
After garnering experience and improved skills, SB19 is set to conquer Smart Araneta Coliseum once again on their sold-out Where You At [WYAT] Homecoming Concert this Sunday, December 18.
Fans can expect a longer show with a more fun and relaxed time with SB19. It will be like a fan meeting and fan-gathering, with more surprise performances – literally an all-in-one show with the group’s all-rounded artists! As much as filo A’TIN waited, SB19 is also excited and is preparing eagerly for everyone’s satisfaction. “Ine-expect po namin na magiging MAS pasabog itong homecoming concert,” says Stell.
Ken even added that they continuously practice everday since, “as much as possible gusto din naming ibalik yun. Yun yung way naming of giving thanks, gusto naming silang pagbigyan sa kung anong mga gusto nila.”
Laying the foundation for the next era
Not a secret to the fans, Pablo confirmed that a new album is coming soon. After ending this year with multiple achievements in the bag, the ‘Pagtatag’ is currently in the works. The album title means the strengthening of the foundation of SB19 and is the second follow-up of the trilogy “Pagsibol”, “Pagtatag”, and “Simula’t Wakas”. Symbolized by the exclamation point, fans can expect a stronger and bolder sound from SB19.
It is a combination of all members’ ideas so there will definitely be a mix of flavors to serve. The emotion of the whole album is akin to riding a rollercoaster. Justin even teased the possibility of a new look as some of his members wanted to try out different styles. “Baka dalawang ilong na po,” he jokingly added while Stell followed up with “mga tatlong mata.”
And of course, a new album and new songs also mean concerts! A bigger concert tour is to be expected, as they plan to add more cities next year. A’TIN, better get ready for another wild ride with SB19 this 2023!