Stell on SB19’s ‘nerve-wracking’ leap to self-manage career: If not now, when? | Inquirer Entertainment

Stell on SB19’s ‘nerve-wracking’ leap to self-manage career: If not now, when?

By: - Reporter
/ 12:30 AM July 18, 2023



While career self-management gives an artist the assurance of greater creative freedom, it’s also a daunting pursuit that comes with new sets of challenges. But it was a risk the P-pop group SB19 was willing to take.

After seven years with their previous management company, ShowBT Philippines, SB19 now operates under 1Z Entertainment, a new media company put up by the band’s members (Josh, Pablo, Stell, Ken, Justin) themselves.


“It’s stressful. And of course, we’re nervous. It’s another challenge for us because we’re no longer just artists. We’re also talents of our own company. So that adds to the nerves,” Stell told the Inquirer in a recent interview.


“But if we don’t do this for ourselves now, when?” the 28-year-old music artist added.

Being self-managed doesn’t necessarily mean doing things alone or without external help. “We have people behind us… people who are always there for us and won’t neglect us. With proper guidance and support, we’re sure we’ll be able to do the things we want to do,” Stell said.

‘Boldest release’

Last month, SB19 released its second and latest EP titled “Pagtatag” under Sony Music Philippines. The six-track collection was described as the group’s “boldest release” yet, with musical offerings that had the boys tackling “unexplored genres and styles.”

There’s the smooth and soulful R&B tune “I Want You”; the thumping “Crimzone,” which revisits the group’s struggles; the emotive ballads “Liham” and “Ilaw”; and the uplifting anthem “Freedom.”



The EP also features the hit hip-hop and EDM-inflected dance track “Gento.” The song, which touches on the group’s artistic growth and refinement is a resounding success, amassing at least 30 million streams and views on Spotify and YouTube. It reached the eighth spot of the World Digital Song Sales chart published by Billboard. The song also sparked a viral dance challenge and has been used in 1.2 million videos on TikTok.

The impact “Gento” has made, Stell said, completely took him and his bandmates by surprise.


“We were surprised by the reach of ‘Gento.’ We didn’t expect anything, because we were actually more excited about the release of our EP. But the song has gone such a long way,” Stell said of the song, which was written by SB19 leader, Pablo, and coproduced with his brother Joshua Daniel Nase and Simon Servida.

“Of course, we’re thankful to Pablo, because he was the brains behind it. I also want to thank the producers… the sound mixers we worked with, and of course, our fans, the A’Tin,” he added.

‘Keep my feet on the ground’



Outside SB19, Stell has also started pursuing solo projects. Last November, he was chosen to perform at the “A Night of Wonder” musical show, which also served as the launch of the streaming platform Disney+ in the Philippines. He will also sit as a judge and mentor in the upcoming reality talent search “The Voice Generations” on GMA 7.

“They’re (bandmates) very happy and are rooting for me,” Stell said, adding that SB19 remains “solid” regardless of their respective solo projects or engagements. “We update each other, we tease each other. Nakakatuwa.”

And despite their growing popularity here and abroad, SB19 refuses to let fame get to their heads. He doesn’t really feel famous, Stell said, and he doesn’t want to feel that way ever.

“I just want to be in the moment, as much as possible. I want to cherish this forever with my brothers. I’m happy. If people think I’m famous, then thank you, but I don’t want to think that way,” Stell said. “I want to keep my feet on the ground.”

Still, he can’t deny that the group’s stature has grown from when they first debuted. For one, they no longer rely on ride-hailing apps or public transportation all the time.

“May artists’ van na kahit papaano,” he quipped. “We still ride jeepneys or tricycles, but not as often as before.”

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Perhaps more importantly, public sightings or interactions no longer make them feel uneasy. “We used to get a lot of negative comments, but now we get praises,” Stell related. “I’m happy and thankful that Filipinos have become more appreciative and open—not only toward us—but to the whole P-pop community.”


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TAGS: P-pop, SB19

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