pinoy pop

On its 5th year, SB19 hopes to cement its place in the music industry

Jaira Roxas

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On its 5th year, SB19 hopes to cement its place in the music industry

HALF A DECADE. P-pop group SB19 celebrates its 5th anniversary with a fan meet event in Quezon City on October 28, 2023.

Screenshot from Youtube/SB19

Putting up 1Z Entertainment is part of building their legacy, but SB19 knows they still have a long way to go

MANILA, Philippines – If you’ve spent enough time on social media, you can’t miss hearing the viral song “GENTO” by P-pop group SB19. The group is made up of five men: Pablo, Josh, Stell, Ken, and Justin, and they just did a month-long celebration of their 5th anniversary.

The group also just finished the North America leg of their PAGTATAG! world tour, and for October, they announced more stops for the world tour and released a lot of content on social media for the said anniversary.

First off is the Atin Atin Lang podcast, where the members were able to share a side to them that fans do not get to see during events and concerts. They bare their thoughts on relationships, dealing with social media, and being on tour. It was content that no one expected to get from the group. They even released a Halloween special, where they exchanged horror stories and experiences.

Come October 19, a Showbreak anniversary episode was released. It was where they played iconic games from past episodes of their Youtube show. Among fan favorites were the Whisper Challenge, Guess That Song, and Random Play Dance – and that’s exactly what the SB19 members did on that very nostalgic episode.

Then there was the One Zone experience, a pop-up exhibit in Quezon City that showed fans the group’s roots and its evolution. It had five zones or partitions that told the story of how SB19 became who they are now. 

There was never-before-seen footage from 2018 to the present, memorabilia from music video shoots, personal items, awards, and wardrobe from past appearances. There was also a part where fans could redesign the SB19 logo, and a photo wall where behind-the-scenes photos were printed and posted, from when the members were training in 2018 to the times they were on tour for their latest EP. The last part was a freedom wall where fans could write messages for the group – opposite that was a wall where Pablo, Josh, Stell, Ken, and Justin’s letters for the fans were hung.

But the highlight of the month-long celebration was the One Zone Fan Meet event on October 28 in Quezon City.

From the moment the event was announced, fans were raving about it. Come ticket-selling day, tickets were almost sold out in a matter of hours. On October 28, Araneta City was full of fans looking forward to seeing SB19 on stage again, and possibly interacting with them during the live Showbreak episode at the fan meet. The event started at 7 pm, but as early as 2 pm, fans were all around the area, giving away freebies and meeting fellow fans.

When people were finally let in the Coliseum for the event, the vibe was full of excitement. The mini games then started, where winners would be chosen to participate in the live Showbreak episode. Cameras pointed to fans to play “Singing SBhie,” where they would complete lyrics of SB19 songs. Then there’s “Show Me Your Ticket” and “Show Me Your Merch,” where fans were randomly chosen. Out of the thousands in attendance that night, 30 lucky fans were chosen to go onstage to play with SB19.

ONE ZONE. Members of P-pop group SB19 play with fans during their ONE ZONE fan meeting on October 28, 2023 in Quezon City. Screenshot from Youtube/SB19

The real show started with SB19 doing a 17-minute opening performance of their hits “GENTO,” “I WANT YOU,” and “CRIMZONE.” The group has been performing these songs throughout their world tour but tweaks to the song arrangement and choreography made the performance more special.

Then the Showbreak episode started. Ken and Justin were the game masters, as a consequence of them losing during the Showbreak anniversary special. From 30 fans, they played “Quiz Bee 19” where they asked trivia about SB19 members. At the end of that game, only eight fans were left. Then they did “Guess Bee 19” – which is a charades game – and only four were left. 

The four remaining players then did “Hold My ___,” where they identified the SB19 member based on touching certain body parts, like their ear, hair, arm, leg, and hand. The venue was full of screams and cheers as it was a new thing – getting to touch your idol’s body parts. In the end, one fan was left.

For the final round, it was Stell who became the game master. He said he prepared hard for that stint. He hosted “Gento o Bento,” which is the SB19 version of “Pera o Bayong,” where the player will choose a bento box and hope that they get the jackpot prize.

Well into the game, SB19 members asked the crowd, “Are you guys having fun?” There was a resounding “No!” in Araneta. Justin then explained it was because the fans were feeling envious of the fan onstage, Mae Espino.

Despite Stell offering her several signed SB19 merch, Mae stuck with her bento box and won the jackpot prize of the night – a dinner date with SB19 after the fan meet event.

After the Showbreak live episode, SB19 members went back onstage and performed more songs, this time dedicated to the fans. They performed “FREEDOM,” “GO UP,” “ALAB,” and “SLMT.” Much like the fan meet events that K-pop groups hold, the P-pop pioneers also played around the stage and gave out merch to their fans in attendance. They threw signed stress balls, catapulted T-shirts, and used T-shirt cannons to reach the fans at the upper part of the Coliseum.

Towards the end of the fan meet event, SB19 and their company, 1Z Entertainment, presented the music video for the song “FREEDOM.” As 1Z’s logo is seen at the opening of the video, a wave of cheers is heard from the venue. It’s as if the fans knew how much hard work it took just for that logo to be placed there.

On its 5th year, SB19 hopes to cement its place in the music industry
1Z Entertainment and SB19’s legacy

For the 1Z team, everything has to be intentional. Every single thing has to tell a story, or contribute to the bigger story. A team of 13 people, you wouldn’t think they could mount a month-long celebration with multiple events and content releases, but they got help from friends in the industry.

Bea Laiño of 1Z says, “The company’s goal is really to break the norms and challenge the status quo.”

She laughs as she talks about how exhausting the schedule is for the world tour and the anniversary celebration, but she says it is the very essence of hard work that keeps her motivated.

“As long as I work as hard as the SB19 members, I know we’re going somewhere,” she said.

Of course, nandiyan ang pressure. Syempre naman. Pero we learned to take things slow (The pressure is there, of course, but we learned to take things slow),” says Yani de Dios, 1Z’s head of operations. It was the first time he had gotten a break after a very tiring day but he talked about their company with great energy. He recalled that SB19 members started 1Z Entertainment as part of building their legacy in the music industry, but also admitted that they still have far to go.

Hindi naman kami nagmamadali, kasi alam rin namin na marami pa kaming kailangang matutunan (We’re not in a hurry because we know that we still have a lot to learn),” he said.

With not that much experience in running a corporation, let alone an entertainment company, De Dios describes their little team as learning and exploring. He says they are being thorough with their decisions, but that there are also bumps along the way. If anything, what’s important for them is being focused on their goal: creating a space that will empower and enable artists to exercise independence with their art and harness their full potential.

“The SB19 members like challenging themselves,” De Dios tells Rappler. 1Z was put up so they could learn from and explore the industry they are in, and at their own pace promote not just Filipino music, but Filipino culture around the world. –

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Jaira Roxas

As a multimedia producer, Jaira produces Rappler newscasts, shows, podcasts, and videos. She likes working on video stories from the communities and individuals who believe that little acts of courage can spark change.