Filipino Boy Band SB19 Brings P-pop to the World With Their New EP

Pablo, Josh, Stell, Ken, and Justin, the five members of Filipino boy band SB19, are leading the Philippine-style pop movement known as P-pop with lively hits and coordinated dance moves. The band has seen increased popularity around the globe from 2020, when they joined RADAR, our emerging artist program that spotlights rising talent from around the world, to 2021, when they were nominated for a Billboard Music Award. 

With Spotify’s RADAR support, SB19 has found new listeners in markets like the U.S., the United Arab Emirates, and Australia to add to their ever-growing fan base. The popularity of SB19’s music is representative of a love for the genre of Filipino pop music. There’s a growing appreciation and pride for local Filipino music, and Spotify’s Tatak Pinoy playlist has more than 1.3 million followers, with streams continuing to increase year over year. 

Now, SB19 is ready to take the world by storm with their latest EP, Pagsibol. “Pagsibol,” a Filipino word that translates to “germination” in English, celebrates the band’s journey in the music industry. It’s representative of how seeds grow into plants, or germinate. The EP’s tracks symbolize SB19’s beginnings—their roots. 

To celebrate Pagsibol through audio and visual art, Spotify and SB19 collaborated with six Filipino visual artists to bring the EP to life on jeepneys—the iconic Pinoy mode of public transportation. Each jeepney’s design is inspired by a track from Pagsibol. Fans can also look forward to exclusive SB19 content on Spotify’s Tatak Pinoy playlist. 

For the Record chatted with SB19 to learn more about their new EP and the creative process that went into recording it.

What can fans expect from Pagsibol?

SB19: Listeners will get to witness a more bare SB19 as we share our humble beginnings and how we persevere through hardships. Fans will get a glimpse of our paths and what we went through. We consider this EP to be very meaningful as everything is from us: the conceptualization, the creative process, everything in this product. Even though this is our “Ikalawang Yugto” or “Second Chapter,” we regard this as our brand-new start as artists. Also in this EP we offer different types of music to cater to various listeners. We hope to inspire and reach a bigger audience with Pagsibol.

What are the lyrical themes that you’ve tackled in the EP? 

SB19: Since the EP is about our beginnings, the themes we’ve incorporated are everything that got us to where we are right now. We first introduced “What?” as an empowerment song. This was followed by “MAPA,” which is a song for people who have been there with us since the start—our parents. There’s also “SLMT,” which is a play on the Filipino word “salamat” that means “thank you.” This song is dedicated to our fans, who we are eternally grateful for. Each single tackles different subjects, but they all still stay true to the theme of our origination. 

How does the group work together creatively? 

SB19: We are very hands-on with all our art. We make sure that what we release is genuine. The creative direction is mostly by Justin, and then we as a group conceptualize and find our common ground. Pablo will start on the formulation of our songs and we collaborate from there. Since this whole creative process is tedious, we make sure to support each other, hear everyone’s suggestions, and make it an easygoing and cooperative environment. 

What advice would you give fellow Filipino artists and bands looking to make their presence more global? What do you see for the future of P-pop?

SB19: Just YOLO! Find your strength and love what you do. Put your mind and soul in it. You’ll be successful in no time. We see P-pop as another strength for our country to show the world what we are capable of. 

Stream SB19’s new EP, Pagsibol, below.