SB19 is the group everyone is talking about — and for good reason. In December 2020, they became the first Southeast Asian group to enter the top 10 of Billboard’s Social 50 chart. Months later, they made history as the first Filipino and Southeast Asian act to be nominated for Top Social Artist at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, competing against household names like Ariana Grande and BTS. While they’ve achieved so much since debuting in October 2018, Josh, Pablo, Stell, Ken, and Justin aren’t letting it go to their heads. SB19's Pagsibol EP, which dropped on July 22, pays tribute to their roots and those who’ve believed in them since day one: their fans, who they call A’TIN.
SB19 leader Pablo tells Elite Daily the group named their EP Pagsibol because it represents their musical journey. “The direct translation [of Pagsibol] in English is germination. It’s like the growth of SB19. We try to document all the things that we experienced ever since we started until now, everything that we learned from the people who helped us, and everything that we got from each other,” he says. “We basically dig deeper into ourselves and tell the story of who we really are and what we want to show the world.”
SB19 begins their EP with the uplifting pop anthem “What?,” which is about self-empowerment. Pablo says the insecurities the group experienced in their early days inspired the track. “We felt like what we were doing wasn’t really worth it or not really good, so I thought of a song that would motivate and boost the morale of the group and myself as well,” he says. “[‘What?’] is about being proud of who you are without limitations. You shouldn’t be shy or ashamed of how you’re built.”
Through every hurdle they’ve experienced, the members have learned to never take anything for granted. In their song “Mana,” they sing about the importance of remembering where you started. “Mana is the world for manananggal, a creature here in the Philippines. It’s like a half-bat, half-human monster, and when it flies, it leaves its lower part of the body,” Justin says. “Even though we fly up high, we keep our feet on the ground, so it’s like staying humble and still going back where you started from and [being] thankful to everyone who helped us on our journey.”
SB19 says one of their greatest influences throughout their career has been their family. Pablo wrote their song “MAPA” in dedication to his own parents when he was homesick during their 2020 Get In The Zone tour. “It [was] very hectic and busy and we were not able to talk to our parents or siblings, so we wanted to create a song that gives thanks to our parents who guided us through the years, who helped us, who built our character,” Pablo says.
SB19 hopes to inspire their fans through the release of Pagsibol. “We’re very excited and we’re very satisfied with our outcome of this whole project because we worked hard for this,” Stell says. “We wanted everyone, not only our fans but everyone who will listen to our EP, to feel the same as what we felt when we heard the songs [for the first time].”
After all, it’s thanks to fans that all of SB19’s dreams are coming true, including being nominated for Top Social Artist at the 2021 BBMAs. “I personally cried when I heard the news. It was our biggest achievement so far. Just the thought that this opportunity is not just for us, but for the entire country, for the entire community of artists in the Philippines,” Josh says. “We really want to promote our culture, our craft, and the Philippines, so I’m happy to know that slowly, we’re getting there.”
Even though Josh thinks the group will never be able to repay fans for their unwavering support over the years, he says SB19 will try their best to return the favor by delivering amazing music for years to come. “We will not stop until we achieve all of our goals. We will not stop until we give back what we have been receiving from them,” he says.
On Aug. 1, SB19 will put on a virtual concert called Back In The Zone, where they’ll perform their Pagsibol tracks for the first time, as well as a few solo songs. “We’ve been working so hard for both the EP and the upcoming concert and even with the hectic schedule, our motivation never dies down,” Ken says. “Personally, I am happy with the track that the group is pursuing and how each one of us is improving in our own ways. Hope we get to see many A’TIN in Back In The Zone.”
Fans can purchase tickets for the event on SB19’s official music shop, as well as stream the group’s new EP, Pagsibol, on all major platforms right now.