They follow the rigorous Korean training system, which explains their precise formation and sharp moves. The catchy debut single Go Up was produced by RealBros, the guy who’s also done work for Stray Kids, TVXQ, and Wanna One, and the members have said that they produce and write their own songs.
“Gusto po naming unahin yung Pilipinas. Sana dun makilala kami, hindi lang sa buong Pilipinas, pero globally. Na meron kaming ganitong talento.”
Unlike the controversial acts EXP Edition (that experimental group of caucasians who tried to make it in South Korea not signed to an agency), or Lana (the Russian K-Pop soloist who debuted just last June), SB19 has no intention to record Korean songs. They’re staying local, writing songs in Filipino and focusing on promoting here in the Philippines.
At their press conference last July, member Stell said “OPM po yung genre namin. Gusto po naming unahin yung Pilipinas. Sana dun makilala kami, hindi lang sa buong Pilipinas, pero globally. Na meron kaming ganitong talento.”
Ok. So what about it?
Mainstream-wise, it seems that we’re seeing a trend in pop groups ditching the Western formula and turning to East Asia for inspiration. But let’s be real here: is this a good thing? Yes, it’s still another case of adapting the style of a culture that isn’t our own, but I see it as a chance for us to heighten the standards of our showbiz industry, training-wise and quality-wise.
If you look at our recent Pop Music history, you’ll see that stan culture revolves around solo pop acts (shoutout to the Popsters out there), if not actual celebrities. Think about it: what local fanbases have followers as powerful as K-Pop stans? That’s right: love teams. It’s the KathNiels, AlDubs, LizQuens, and JaDines that, well, get all the love. Only in the Philippines will you see reel/real relationships garnering a network of fans as devoted as their overseas counterparts. That’s the way things are and have always been here.
[READ:The five kinds of love teams you encounter in PH TV and cinema]
While mainstream talent agencies have debuted a fair number of pop groups over the years, the lack of a clear concept or proper support for them cause many to come across as half-baked. It doesn’t help that most of them are dance-based or formed from their pool of artistas who can’t devote as much time to practice due to their busy taping schedules. Just look at It’s Showtime mainstays Girl Trends and Hashtags, both comprised of young actresses/actors and PBB alums, both always on the receiving end of criticism for only being pretty faces.
Other groups, like Boyband PH or Pop Girls, succeeded to an extent but have yet to reach the level of success experienced by non-pop acts. On another end of the spectrum are the Viva Hot Babes or the Sex Bomb girls — really more of a spectacle than a musical group.
[READ: #YSObsessions: SB19, Mochamilk, The Tablo Podcast, smart home living, and cracking clay ASMR]
K-Pop and J-Pop fans are usually drawn by the quality of work of their faves’ concepts. Aside from the amount of discipline and practice this sort of training system requires, a lot of thought goes into planning a group’s overall concept, performances, music videos, and more. These are luxuries that the current local industry lack — probably because of lack of budget and the uncertainty of it working out. Why would anyone invest time and effort in something that they’re not sure will pay off, right? Now that we’re being promised the content of that caliber, it’s no surprise that local audiences are rooting for it.
As of this writing, the Go Up dance practice posted on YouTube and the song’s music video (shot on a rooftop along P. Burgos) have since garnered over a million views and counting. Each. Wild, right?