SB19 consolidates gains in homecoming concert tomorrow
The boys of the P-pop group SB19 were admittedly a bundle of nerves going into their major concert tour last October. But all their worries quickly turned into excitement once they stepped onstage and saw their fans’ overwhelming support in the different cities they visited.
“We were so nervous before we began our tour. We didn’t know if people would actually come and and watch our shows in the cities we were going to,” leader Pablo said of the group’s “WYAT (Where You At)” tour, which—after making stops in Dubai, New York, Los Angeles, Redwood City and Singapore—will wrap up with a homecoming concert at the Araneta Coliseum tomorrow.
“It was an overwhelming and amazing feeling because we didn’t expect that the opposite would happen: Our fears and worries turned into happiness because people supported us. And we’re so thankful to the people who went to our shows,” Pablo said at a recent press conference.
One challenging aspect about doing shows in places an artist has never been to is the bigger likelihood of having casual listeners in the audience. And that means added pressure to give the best performance they could give.
“Whenever we perform where we’re not as known, there’s a certain pressure and nervousness that we want everything to go well … that we have to be in our best condition when we face the crowd,” Pablo said. “There’s pressure for us to think of new things to improve our performances.
But as daunting as it may seem, performing for nonfollowers in foreign places will only be beneficial to the band’s growth, Pablo said. “When you’re at home court, people will be supportive no matter what. But what about those outside the fan base? What do casual listeners think?”
“When you get affirmation only from people who already support you, then you won’t get comments that will challenge your mind-set and help us improve. These comments will come from people outside,” he added.
While they were in the United States, it quickly dawned on them that the music industry is so much bigger than they have ever imagined.
“We realized that there are things we still need to improve … what we have now to make our music more appealing to other people. Perhaps we can say that we already established ourselves in the Philippines. But if we can still come up with something that we can show to every corner of the world, we will do it, over and over again,” main vocalist Stell said.
“Of course, we can’t please everyone. We’re just here to give inspiration and deliver our message to the world,” he added.
Lead rapper Josh initially felt that he would be all good after going on a world tour; it only made him more eager to hone his craft. “I thought I would already be content now that we have done a world tour. But now, I’m more eager to achieve or reach more,” he said.
No place like home
But as exciting and instructive their international tour was, SB19 believes that there’s still no place like home.
“Nothing beats home… This is where we grew up and experienced everything. This is where we can clearly share the message of our WYAT concert. We’re happy performing. And we won’t trade it for anything else,” Josh said, adding that the mere presence of their fans—the A’Tins—at the homecoming concert will be more than enough to energize them amid training and hectic work schedule.
“When we see them cheering for us, it fuels us to keep moving forward and do better,” Josh said. “Masaya na kami doon.”
Ahead of their homecoming concert, SB19 released a single titled, “Nyebe”—a gospel-inspired ballad about longing, sadness and life’s fleeting moments.
“It’s inspired by gospel music, which makes it feel calming and hopeful,” pointed out Pablo, who wrote the song two years ago during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was before Christmas and I remembered that not everyone had the privilege to really enjoy the holidays, which were supposed to be fun.”
“For others, that time was full of uncertainty. But I believe that the uncertainty and hopelessness will be replaced by hope when you find acceptance. ‘This is what I feel, but what can I do?’ You hope and pray all these will end—matutunaw din ang nyebe,” Pablo said.
In 2023, SB19 will mark its fifth year in the music industry. Looking back at how they started, the boys would never have thought that they would be in the place they’re in now as the country’s most accomplished P-pop group. “We were strangers in an industry foreign to us. ‘Will we last long? Will we get along?’ you ask yourself. But after seeing what we have achieved, you realize that it’s not something that you can actually plan. There must be hard work and trust. But I also believe in manifesting,” Stell said.
“No matter how hardworking you are, there’s still that possibility that your dreams may not come true. But with family, a great support system and friends, the self-doubt will go away,” he added.
And most importantly, it’s not individual glory they seek, but collective growth. “Instead of focusing on ourselves, we focus on each other,” Pablo said. “If we look after each other, we see better the things that we need to work on,” Pablo said. “We see to it that our communication lines are open; you have to listen to people around you who want only the best for you.”