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  • Writer's pictureParcinq Magazine

It’s PLUUS’ Time, and They’re Not Wasting It

They say that if you’re going to do something, do it right. For the rookie boy group PLUUS, they took that saying to the next level.

The older you get, the more you realize that standing out gets harder and harder. It’s a fact of life. Once you’re out in the “real world,” you’re immediately hit with the reality of, “Oh. I’m not that special.” It’s daunting when there’s always a “someone better” wherever we turn. It’s pressuring to be unique but still staying true to yourself.

But, the good news is that no one person is ever the same. Everyone has something that no one else has or has ever had. The thought of competition may sound intimidating. But, competition breeds community. And communities allow for more creativity.

When PLUUS debuted a few months ago, they became the first P-Pop group to release a mini album and 3 MVs for their debut, as most groups debut/pre-debut with a single. While it gets harder and harder to stand out in an ever-growing community, PLUUS managed to find a way to do something different while remaining true to themselves through self-written music and their stories.

In this feature, we sat down with PLUUS to talk about their journey to debut and their hopes and dreams as they go along this path.

The Story So Far

Similar to sibling group YGIG, PLUUS was formed under the SB Talent Camp, a pre-debut trainee group under SBTown Philippines. Their training went on for a grueling four years. Out of the trainee system, this resulted in six boys debuting as PLUUS: Justin, Haro, JL, Gab, Theo, and Yen.

For those who might not be aware, the SB Talent Camp held an open audition far and wide in 2019 to look for the next big thing after the success of SB19. As trainees at the time (known as the “SBTCBoys”), they released a bunch of content to promote even from pre-debut.

Gab shares this about the training experience, “The company didn’t focus on our skills alone but, as well as, on our personality development. They taught us that having a good attitude and personality will make you a good artist. And the training was tough, especially when the pandemic happened because we needed to continue our training online, but that also became our motivation to continue as we saw how dedicated the company was in supporting us. We faced a lot of challenges, but it was worth it.”

With such an extensive training life, it’s no wonder the boys are such all-arounders. But, what about the eventual preparation for such a grand debut?

Theo says, “Preparing to debut with a mini-album was not easy as we needed to triple our efforts during the preparation. It was hectic because, aside from writing our lyrics, we were also making the choreography of the 3 songs at the same time, and then shooting the music videos. It’s very challenging but that helped us to improve our skills and to know each member's strengths and weaknesses, hence, it’s also rewarding because, after four years of training, we can finally show the fruit of our hard work.”

Creating in itself takes a huge toll on someone as you’re tapping into your emotions, telling your personal story, and finding a way to creatively express yourself in a way that’s authentic to you. But, having to combine that with training, practicing, and performing is a whole other physical, mental, and emotional drain that can be a lot for someone.

But, for PLUUS, their passion really led them to endure, go through, and make it to where they are now. The journey to being an all-rounder was tough but the boys take it in stride because they genuinely love what they’re doing.

Yen explains, “Our company always aims for unique concepts and ideas so they come up with that concept of not having a specific role in a group. For us, it’s a good strategy because we can still explore our skills, and it gives us an opportunity to improve more in other areas. To be an all-rounder group is very beneficial for us as we can able to show more and new sides of ourselves in every project.”

Despite the challenges, the boys were always focused on the goal: Improving and being the best they could be. You can even see this in a 2021 vlog the boys did back then where they talked about their training and how focused they were on improving. And until now, the energy has remained the same even after their debut.

“To create is to come up with an output that our fans and other casual listeners/viewers can relate to in terms of emotions, meaning, energy, etc. And, to be able to do that, we need to not be complacent in everything that we do,” shares Yen.

PLUUS is the combination of “PLUS” and “US,” and I believe that meaning rings true about their character. The boys have so much positive energy and good vibes that it's infectious to everyone. I can see why there were so much fans (SUMs) from the very beginning because their drive and positivity are really a sight to behold.

“We want to be an addition to our fan's lives and vice versa, we want our fans to be an addition in our life. Our group name stands for positivity since it's a plus sign. Through our music, we want to spread positivity, inspiration, and happiness to our listeners,” says JL.

Still Growing, Still Learning

When the boys debuted with their mini-album “+.Y.M.” in March, there were three songs that came out of it: “Amigo,” “My Time,” and “Cross My Heart.” All three songs represented different stories while showcasing different sides to PLUUS. In Amigo, we saw a powerful, charismatic image with a focus on performance. In My Time, they showed off their bright and positive personality as they told their story and motivated others in the process. While, for Cross My Heart, it was all about the emotional side where they showed off their vocal quality.

Haro personally takes us through each song’s meaning. “Amigo focuses on friendship or brotherhood. My Time is our story and struggles when we were still trainees. In Cross My Heart, we want to give a different kind of tragic love song. For this mini-album, we wanted to show a youthful and fresh vibe and something that everyone can relate to.”

The great thing about these releases is every song feels like a breath of fresh air. There’s so much good energy that gets you on your feet to ‘keep going!’ and I think this quality is what best represents PLUUS.

As rookies, the boy group has a lot more to take on and go through because, after all, the journey doesn’t just end at debut. There’s more room to grow, and I can bet they’re out to take over our local scene soon.

JL reflects on the journey so far, “I think, before, we tend to focus only on one thing where we think we can improve on, but now, I can say that everyone is trying to get out of their comfort zone. Everyone is eager on trying a new role. Not only on our skills but also on our songs. We are trying new genres that the group hasn’t done before so we can show to everyone the new side of PLUUS… We still have a lot to learn and we won’t stop learning until the end.”

As for Gab, he’s just grateful for everyone who’s believed and supported them. “We are so grateful for what we have achieved in the past few months, and we want to thank our fans who have supported and loved us through our journey. We learned a lot of things as artists, and we are still seeking to improve ourselves so that we can show a lot of things in the future.”

The pressures that come with thinking, “What’s next?” can be terrifying for all the senior groups, newer groups, and everything else can be terrifying but PLUUS focuses on something else. For Justin, he thinks it’s less about competition and more about helping each other be better. “We mostly feel gratitude for P-Pop groups sharing their talent and showing themselves who they are. The pressure we feel is to make sure we improve and never settle.”

In the same way that each artist gets better through time, the industry gets to thrive and prosper in the process. This whole music scene has never been all about a few, handful of artists. It’s all about lifting each other up so we can all get the opportunity to create.

This new generation of P-Pop coming in shows us that this industry is about to become bigger than we can ever imagine. It may just be the beginning but we’re slowly inching towards something great. Just you wait.

Justin shares, “As P-Pop keeps on growing, we want to be a group that aspirants can look up to as well. We want to show something unique and make our own sound that will make people remember our name, PLUUS. As a rookie, we hope that more people can recognize and love our talents. We’ll keep on working hard so that someday we can show to the whole world how talented the Filipinos are.”

Photography by Rxandy Capinpin

Art Direction by Joe Andy

Production Coordination by Chardy Baldoza

Cover story by Marielle Filoteo

Media Associate Arkeen Perez

Makeup by Janica Cleto, Aldrin Jalandoni, and Jhai Castillo

Hair by Jonnel Derilo and Jaaron Go

Styling by Mark Ranque

Assisted by Carl Angelo Cahutay and Lalaine Victoria

Fashion film by Ian Francisco with

Video Associate Anghel Millar

Official Resort Partner Casobe by Millennial Resorts Corporation

Shot on location at Calatagan, Batangas

Special thanks to SBTown Philippines, Universal Records Philippines, and Millenial Resorts



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