If my recollection serves me right, my editor Nickie Wang, the very first time I wrote the “New Hope Year” opener of Arias, he wondered why I did not include SB19 in the list.
That time, pardon for not knowing better, definitely not one of their hater, dismissed the group composed of Justin de Dios, rapper and vocalist Felip Jhon Suson, popularly known as Ken, lead rapper, main dancer, and vocalist, Stellvester Ajero, nicknamed Stell, main vocalist, and lead dancer John Paulo Nase, formerly known by his artist moniker Sejun, calls himself by his Spanish name Pablo, lead vocalist and rapper, and another lead rapper and dancer in the person of Josh Cullen Santos, as another boy band desperately acting, dancing and sounding like Korean singing idols.
Soon enough, the quintet made everyone realize that they are indeed the leader of the Pinoy Pop (P-Pop) music scene. Slowly but surely, they captured the hearts and fascination of the local market. And yes, it is a no-brainer that they also impressed the international audiences with their songs and groove.
Proofs of their pop music ascension: the first Filipino act to appear on the Billboard Next Big Sound chart, Billboard’s Social 50, one of the emerging artists under Spotify's RADAR Program. Their first digital album, Get in the Zone, two weeks after the release, achieved their highest position in the weekly Billboard Social 50 chart, placing second behind BTS.
SB19 debuted at number six in Billboard Year-End Charts Social 50 Artists, making them the first Southeast Asian act to reach the top 10 of the magazine's annual chart and this just goes on and on and on.
How did the SB19 bug finally bit me? Thank you Gameboys Season 2 for making use one of their phenomenal pop anthems, “Hanggang Sa Muli” as the theme song of their much-anticipated teaser.
With its bittersweet melody and lyric that contain so much ache and longing for a love that was lost, I immediately went to YouTube and viewed its many live versions and official video.
To say that I am hooked is an understatement. There is something about the manner they tell the story of this particular anthem, that pulls the heartstrings. Blame it on the harmonious vocal styling, the lyric that is so painfully interpreted, and the emotional commitment they gifted the song that pierces the heart of anyone who dares to listen.
Since that fateful Gameboys music teaser sampling, I started supporting them.
In "What?," with its bolder and unpredictable beats, the use of rap and words that stir national pride, the pronounced highlighting of their dancing skills, and the special vocal dynamics that only they can deliver, we have a winner here.
The undeniable love that their video received, let us count the ways: nearing six million views and counting in just a week; the number of reactions especially from international musical reactors and vloggers continue to add up on an hourly basis; and the official YouTube channel and all their authentic social media sites are having millions of followers and rising exponentially.
SB19 being a universal pop music name, is definitely not just a dream or an illusion, it is being realized. Their reign begins.
A prophecy, it is only a matter of time, we will see them perform and wow who in spectacular musical awards show such as the Grammys, MTV Music Awards, even winning an award or two, perhaps? Maybe even as the Super Bowl Half Time show. What will definitely be the most colossal outcome of SB19’s musical domination, hearing other nationalities, singing in Filipino.
The present and future are stellar for our very own, SB19.
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