Pinoy pop

How SB19’s Stell wowed the audience at David Foster concert

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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How SB19’s Stell wowed the audience at David Foster concert

WOW. Stell Arejo, lead singer of P-pop band SB19 sings "All By Myself" in David Foster and Friends Asia Tour's Manila stop at the Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City on June 18, 2024.

Screengrab from Stell Arejo's Instagram

The P-pop star impresses David Foster after the SB19 member sang 'All By Myself' in the Manila leg of the Hitman's concert in Araneta City

MANILA, Philippines – P-pop band SB19’s Stell showed his vocal strengths during the David Foster and Friends Manila stop of their Asia Tour 2024 at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Tuesday night, June 18.  

How SB19’s Stell wowed the audience at David Foster concert

Stell performed four songs, including his solo single debut, “Room,” which sent a large part of the 8,000-audience cheering for him, especially when he sang the difficult ballad, “All By Myself,” famously performed by Canadian pop star Celine Dion. 

In an IG post on Wednesday, Stell said he was still in shock over the opportunity to join David Foster in his Manila concert, and recounted how Foster, also known as the “hitman” for his many popular compositions sung by pop artists worldwide, surprised him during what he saw as his “audition” by asking him to sing “All By Myself” with very high notes.

“I’m still shocked. Hindi pa rin ako makapaniwala na nabigyan ako ng ganitong opportunity to perform on stage with the hitman, Mr. David Foster. So pag-akyat ko ng stage dapat mag-soundcheck na ako for my spot, pero nagulat ako, Sir David is playing the piano. Then he asked me kung suot ko na in-ears ko kasi puwede daw namin i-try ‘yung song. Nagulat ako, sabi ko sa utak ko, ‘What song?’ So napa ‘Huh’ ako, then sabi niya, ‘All By Myself,’ give it a try daw. 

(I’m still shocked. I still can’t believe I was given this opportunity to perform on stage with the hitman, Mr. David Foster. So when I got on stage in what was supposed to a soundcheck for my spot, I was surprised, Sir David was playing the piano. Then he asked me if I was already wearing in-ears since we were going to try this song. I was surprised, I said to myself, “What song?” So I went “Huh?” and then he said “All By Myself,” to give it a try.)

“Bilang lutang ako sa sobrang gulat kinanta ko lang siya kung pa’no ko siya kinakanta. After i-play ‘yung arrangement nung song, sabi niya, “Do you want to perform this song tonight?” Nasabi ko na lang, “If it’s okay with you, Sir.’ biglang BOOOM, ayun na ang nangyari.

(Since I was in shock by the surprise, I just sang it the way I did. After the song’s arrangement was played, he asked, “Do you want to perform this song tonight?” I just said, “If it’s okay with you, Sir,” and then BOOM, it happened.)

“Para akong nag-audition talaga. Namanifest ko yata. Grabe ‘yung kaba ko. Akala ko pina-try niya lang sa ’kin. Siyempre sino na naman ako para tumanggi, ‘di ba? Minsan lang ‘yung ganong pagkakataon kaya Binigay ko talaga ‘yung best ko. Pagkatapos kong magperform, grabe din sigawan ng team and staff sa likod! Para kaming nanalo sa contest tapos talon kami ng talon. Grabe.”

(It was like I was in an audition I think I manifested it. I was really so nervous. I thought he just let me try it. Of course, who am I to say no, right? These opportunities don’t come often. I really gave it my best. After I performed, the team and staff at the back were shouting. It was like I had won a contest, we were jumping up and down.)

After the number, Foster said, “Wow, what a voice, and he’s your own.” 

Prior to Stell’s “All By Myself” performance, Foster showed a video of Dion explaining how Foster had initially modified the arrangement to make it a difficult song for her to sing, and that Foster even told her he could get others to sing if she chose not to.

HIGH. Pop star Celine Dion recounts in a video shown during the Manila leg of David Foster and Friends Asia Tour on June 18, 2024 how Foster initially challenged her to sing ‘All By Myself’ by modifying the song’s arrangement and increasing some high notes. Isagani de Castro, Jr./Rappler

Stell, the first to perform in the more than two-hour concert, first sang Adele’s “All I Ask” followed by “Defying Gravity” from the  Broadway musical Wicked, and then his debut single “Room.” 

How SB19’s Stell wowed the audience at David Foster concert

He performed “All By Myself” toward the end of the concert. 

Stell said he hopes that the audience liked his performance, and thanked God whom he said was his “real voice” that night. 

“Ayun lang. Ang haba ng kuwento pero solid ang experience. Thank you sa lahat ng sumuporta. Thank you Sir @davidfoster and to the whole team. Sana nagustuhan ‘nyo po ‘yung performance ko. Thank you, Lord, kayo po talaga ‘yung boses ko kagabi. Salamat po!” 

(That’s it. A long story but the experience was solid. Thank you to all who supported me. Thank you, Sir David Foster and to the whole team. I hope you liked my performance. Thank you, Lord, you were the real voice last night. Thank you!)

Aside from Stell, others who performed were Foster’s wife, Katharine McPhee, the American band All 4 One, American singer-songwriter Brian McKnight, and Filipino singers JV Decena and Joaquin Garcia. 

The concert was brought to Manila by MQ Live, the events unit of tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan’s MQuest Ventures, a subsidiary of MediaQuest Holdings Corporation, and other MVP Group companies. 

Foster and his friends also performed for two nights in Jakarta, Indonesia.

How SB19’s Stell wowed the audience at David Foster concert

SB19 debuted in October 2018 and is best known for their hits “GENTO,” “Moonlight,” “MAPA,” “Freedom,” “Go Up,” and “Where You At?” –


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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.