Forbes features SB19 Filipino idol group’s bid to bring P-pop to world attention

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SB19 Forbes
With their meaningful songs, trendy style, and good hearts, SB19 gets world attention yet again. Photo from SB19 Facebook.

Forbes magazine has taken note of SB19, a Filipino boy band inspired by Korean-pop idol groups, and its bid to bring Pinoy-pop (P-pop) to the world’s attention.

Also known as Soundbreak19, the first Filipino idol group to be trained under the K-pop management style earned the attention of the prestigious Forbes in its June 29, 2020, edition – grabbing global attention once more.

The boy band composed of 5 members, namely Sejun, Josh, Justin, Ken, and Stell, has been snatching headlines all over the world, with SB19 even landing the 5th spot on the Billboard Social 50 rankings in April, making them the first Filipino act to debut on the Billboard rankings and besting K-pop groups EXO, ATEEZ, NCT Dream, and Tomorrow X Together (TXT), and Indonesian writer Fiersa Besari in the Top 10.

Forbes writer Tamar Herman featured what SB19 is all about, their influences, and their goals.

SB19 receives training from a branch of a company in the actual K-pop industry, ShowBT Philippines Corp. They have effectively taken successful Korean concepts and made it their own.

ShowBT has been integral in attempting to apply the K-pop model to SB19 in the hopes of the group achieving major influence around the world.

“Although the K-pop model is already well established, I wanted to create a new culture mixed with P-pop. So, SB19 is a new idol group with a unique style that is a result of localization,” said the founder of ShowBT, Seong Han Geong (also known as Robin Geong), in the Forbes article.

Just like in K-pop, the five members had to audition and undergo training for 3 years, then debuted with their first single “Tilaluha” back in 2018. Ever since then, their popularity has been steadily growing with their fans referred to proudly as A’TIN (pronounced as “eighteen”).

SB19 also has a close connection with their fans, sharing that the fandom’s name alludes to the number 18 and that without 18 (their loyal fans) they could not be (SB)19. A’TIN also means “ours” in Filipino, symbolizing that it’s not just SB19 that gets the success, but the fans as well.

“All the success, lahat ng natatamo natin ngayon, Atin ‘to! Everything is ours. Hindi lang sa amin, kundi sa inyo rin,” Sejun said in a Facebook Live video.

SB19 fans celebrate with member Justin for his birthday, showing how close the group connects with their fans.

Another reason why SB19 is getting so much attention is that they aren’t just another boy group for entertainment, they spread awareness on current events as well.

Their new song, “Ikako” was dedicated to thanking the COVID-19 frontliners. Netizens have praised the song as showing the Filipinos’ optimism, hopeful spirit, and happy disposition even in times of crisis.

The group’s using their fame to spread awareness has also influenced the fans to help fellow Filipinos. In January 2020, the fandom joined together to help the evacuees who were displaced by the Taal Volcano eruption.

In the Forbes article, Sejun states that utilizing K-pop’s system on training and promotion will be great for the Philippines as many talented Filipinos are not given opportunities. With the K-pop localized P-pop model they can show their talent to the world.

With their success, SB19’s Josh hopes that maybe they can be one of the stepping stones where Filipino talent can be presented to the entire world.

SB19 reiterates that they should not be confused with an imitation of a K-pop group, they are a Filipino act and that identity is important to them, especially since they sing in the Filipino language.

The Forbes feature sees that SB19’s success can be credited to its social media presence and collaborations with recognized companies like Netflix PH.

To maintain this presence, the group regularly updates their social media and sets times where fans can directly interact with them on their Twitter account.

SB19 shared with Forbes something A’TINs don’t want to hear – they have spoken about breaking up at times. It is challenging to introduce a new concept and breakthrough, which makes it even more important for the fandom to show their support to SB19. Despite this, they are determined to move forward together, with the hopes of achieving their dream of bringing Filipino music and culture to the global media mainstream.

“What differs us from other countries is the soul we put in it. Everything that we’ve experienced in life, everything that influences us as an artist, our culture, our language, that’s what we [as SB19] put into our music, and we want to show that to the world,” Sejun said, as the final note on the Forbes article.

SEND APPLAUSE in the comments below to SB19 for bringing light to Filipino talent and for their achievement of being recognized by the prestigious Forbes magazine!

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Cuitlauzina Brianna Cerbito
Cuit is a senior high school student who has always turned to writing as her comfort and inspiration. Her goal in life is to leave the world a happier place than it was before, be it through sharing stories of the world's beauty or bringing light to topics that impact different areas of society.