SB19: The Pride of Pinoy Pop Music


The pentad SB19, consisting of members Pablo, Stell, Ken, Justin, and Josh, is a Filipino boy group that made its debut in 2018. They trained to be professional singers and dancers under ShowBT Philippines for four years. They are the first artists from the Philippines and Southeast Asia to be nominated for a Billboard Music Award in the category of Top Social Artist. Additionally, they are the first act from Southeast Asia to reach the top 10 of the Billboard Social 50 weekly and annual charts. SB19 advertises its music as Pinoy pop or P-pop, being a part of the popular subgenre of Original Pinoy Music (OPM).

The group’s moniker is inspired by the initials of their Korean management agency, ShowBT. While the number 19 was the country code for the Philippines (63) and the country code for South Korea (82) all added together (6+3+8+2). It represented how the two nations worked together to create the group. However, the members themselves adopted the term "Sound Break" with the intention of "breaking into the music scene" and raising the bar for Filipino boy groups.

One of the factors that we may consider a reason for their stunning and amazing performances is the fact that they were trained the same way Korean pop idols were trained. Even though that’s the case, they are not to replicate K-pop groups. Their music has Philippine culture flowing through each lyric; their songs are in Filipino with a little bit of English. The intention of ShowBT Philippines is to localize K-pop in the Philippines; matter of fact, the group's and company's long-term objective has always been to promote P-pop on a global scale.

The members of SB19 were chosen from hundreds of auditionees during a talent search in 2016. They were solely intended to perform at company-sponsored events and activities, but CEO Geong Seong Han chose to introduce them as a boy group. Josh, Pablo, Stell, Ken, and Justin made their musical debut on October 26, 2018, with the ballad "Tilaluha." However, their initial marketing initiatives, which were mostly in schools and shopping centers, had a "lukewarm welcome."

On July 19, 2019, SB19's second single, "Go Up," was released. Pablo referred to the song as their "final shot" because they had made the decision to split up if their career does not advance thereafter. Unexpectedly, they became well-known after a fan posted a video of their dance practice video for the song and shared it on Twitter and Facebook. Opportunities presented themselves, and the group began to appear on numerous local and international radio and television stations. As a follow-up promotion after going viral, they started their first-ever 10-city countrywide concert tour on December 22, 2019, under the title SB19: Get in the Zone.

On March 9, 2020, SB19 was included in Spotify's RADAR Program, which promotes new artists through marketing initiatives. Following their new-found fame, on July 31, 2020, the group released Get in the Zone, a debut album with nine songs, including three single releases and two unreleased tracks. SB19 rose to its highest position on the Social 50 list two weeks following the album's release, peaking at number two the week of August 15. The band's Emerging Artist chart peak was at number five one week later.

SB19 made history on April 19, 2021, as the first-ever for Filipino musician to participate in the Billboard Music Awards (BBMAs). They have joined BTS, Blackpink, Ariana Grande, and Seventeen as the first Southeast Asian and Filipino act to be nominated for the Top Social Artist category at the Billboard Music Awards, which BTS ultimately won.

In October 2021, the Billboard Hot Trending Songs (HTS) list driven by Twitter made its debut. Since its launch, only BTS's smash hit single Butter has topped the charts. Six weeks later, SB19 ended BTS' streak with their song Bazinga. This named SB19 as the first act to surpass BTS in the chart's history and the second act overall to top the Billboard HTS list.

It was a very memorable moment where SB19 was able to show its critics that they were wrong in a powerful way since Bazinga is their diss song to their detractors. Naturally, this was also made possible by the efforts of SB19's supporters, who worked round-the-clock to make Bazinga trend on Twitter until the tags eventually defeated Butter.

As SB19 writes its name on the global scene, the Filipinos and the country that they represent will soon be well recognized. They are indeed the pride of Pinoy pop music.

Stream and listen to their music on Spotify: SB19 | Spotify


Marjorie Ann M. Patricio is a Digital Marketing and Brand Development intern of PS Media Enterprise. She is currently a 4th-year Communication Research student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Mesa, Manila.


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SB19: The Pride of Pinoy Pop Music
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