Ten years ago, few predicted that K-pop would top the Billboard charts. The dreamers’ battles are only recorded after the miracle is completed.
There are five young people in the Philippines. Their challenge was ridiculed from the beginning. Even when K-pop emerged, people said Southeast Asia was a permanent pop fringe, just a consumer country.
“Mananangal, a Filipino mythological monster, separates his body. Even when the upper body is flying, the lower body is on the ground. Among our songs, ‘Mana’ is a song about him. Like Mananangal, we promise always to remain humble.” (Pablo)
A studio in Manila, the Philippines, on the 4th. Five men in their twenties sitting together had young faces and humble attitudes. However, his eyes and wit were more than life, and the spirit of a challenger was overflowing. Group SB19 (Pablo, Josh, Stell, Ken, Justin) responded to the Dong-A Ilbo and video exclusive interview. They are the eyes of a typhoon in Southeast Asian music. The history of Southeast Asian pop is being rewritten in the hands of those who claim to be “pioneers of P-pop.”
At the Billboard Music Awards in the US last year, BTS and Ariana Grande were nominated for ‘Top Social Artist. It is the first time that a Southeast Asian singer has been nominated for this awards ceremony. Last month, on the Billboard’ Hot Trending Songs’ chart, the new song ‘Bazinga’ topped the chart for seven weeks, briefly breaking the longest-running record of BTS’ ‘Butter.’
“Starting as a fan of Big Bang and Girls’ Generation, I listened to BTS’ ‘Spring Day’ and practiced following the dance of ‘Danger'” (Pablo).
SB19, which debuted in 2018, combines K-pop know-how and Filipino human resources. A Korean entertainment agency, Shovity, entered the Philippines and recruited and trained local talent. The group name ’19’ is a number that is the sum of each digit of the international phone number of Korea (82) and the Philippines (63). ‘SB’ is an aspiration to break the limits of P-pop sound (‘Sound Break’).
It was just a dream, but the start of the five was different. Their personalities, musical tastes, backgrounds, and origins vary from Cagayan de on Mindanao to Malabon near Manila.
“We came from different islands and spoke our dialect, and as trainees, we quarreled from the moment we first met. Now, the five personalities harmonize like colors to create SB19’s world of music.”
Rapper and leader Pablo writes and composes the lyrics. All members work together to create choreography and music video concepts.
“During nearly four years of training, even in the early days of our debut, we were plagued by numerous doubts and malicious comments. Like my friends, I had to help my parents financially after graduating from high school, but I was sorry that I couldn’t. Sometimes we didn’t have money, so we slept on the street and suffered from depression, but we trusted each other and ran towards our seemingly vain dreams.” (Josh)
In the end, I wrote a drama. In the Philippines, groups with SB19 as their role model appear one after another. ‘P-Pop World,’ drawn only in dreams by five young people, will be opened.
“There are so many talented people singing and dancing in the Philippines. Until now, our pop culture has been stagnant as it has been stuck with politics or suffered from monopoly problems of some companies. This is the beginning.” (Pablo)
SB19 will first appear on the Korean airwaves through the ASEAN-Korea online music festival ‘ROUND in Korea’, which will be aired on KBS 1TV from 0:10 on the 21st (12:10 pm on the 20th). They will perform on one stage with representatives of 11 countries, including Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.