Soloist Sheki had it easy when she navigated through the industry. However, the narrative takes a different turn when she reunites with her home group and assumes the responsibility of leading not just a collective of members but an ever-growing lineage of idol generations.
General Captain. The title says it all, but the significance bears more weight when you guide a group that is not only forging their own path but is also paving the way for countless dreamers to aspire and inspire. For Sheki, the new general captain of MNL48, assuming the role was no simple task. The accomplishments they attained with her leading the charge merely mask the struggles she endured behind the scenes. Sheki recognizes the multifaceted nature of leadership, and while confidence is her most valuable asset, it can only get her so far.
Despite receiving comprehensive training in leadership and personal development, the weight of stepping into the position after the departure of First Generation Member Alice proved to be overwhelming for Sheki. It was a gradual process for her to grasp the intricacies of being a guiding force who not only exudes confidence but also excels at coaching and inspiring the members.
Yet Sheki’s steadfast efforts bore fruit as she fully embraced the transition from Center Sheki to General Captain Sheki. The role might have been handed down by the management at first, but now Sheki is taking it to heart. Sheki acknowledges that there is still more to learn and unlearn, but she stands poised and resolute to rally MNL48 towards their shared aspirations—catapulting P-Pop to new heights. In this feature, witness an exclusive glimpse of Sheki in her role as an MNL48 leader. Unravel how she masterfully harmonizes personal growth with the group's collective progress and see the thriving P-Pop community through the lens of a true trailblazer.
Q. Can you tell me what it means to be a leader in a P-Pop group? What kinds of roles and responsibilities do you have? Are there certain traits and qualities necessary for this?
Sheki: To be a leader in a P-Pop group, you must be as passionate as a member of the group. The responsibilities of being the captain of the group include, among others, being a good example to my sisters by being engaging, cooperative, collaborative, and having initiative.
Q. It can be easy to get lost in your role as a leader. When you’re leading, you tend to put your members first. So, how do you strike a balance between being a representative of the group and remaining true to who you are as a person? Sheki: That is a good question. Sometimes, I really get lost in my role as a leader and put my sisters’ needs before mine. To find my balance, I meditate and enjoy my own space. Spending time with myself and my family helped me a lot.
Q. You are considered one of MNL48's four pillars. How do you live up to the name? Was there a time that you felt pressured or burdened by having this title? How did you overcome those moments?
Sheki: I feel honored to be one of the four pillars of MNL48 and to have witnessed its growth since the beginning. Being a pillar means being the main supporter of a group and someone who sets a good example, especially for the younger generation of members and aspiring idols. Years ago, I was so afraid of making mistakes, but I realized that I’m still a human and I should act naturally and show everybody my authentic self.
Q. You have been in the P-Pop industry for five years now and are regarded as one of the pioneers of the genre yet we’re still very much in the early stages of the P-Pop rise. Where do you think P-Pop is now in terms of how it’s developed and its place in PH pop culture today?
Sheki: P-Pop is definitely rising and thriving. As one of the pioneers of P-Pop, we witnessed the struggles of artists in establishing P-Pop culture. And I can see that P-Pop is now quickly gaining local and international attention, and many fans are recognizing the talent and passion of many P-Pop acts.
Q. Social media has changed the game in the music industry. It’s helped many in growing an audience for not just P-Pop but for indie artists as well. But, there’s also a downside with trying to keep up and stay relevant constantly. What are your thoughts on social media and music today?
Sheki: Social media is among the most powerful platforms for promoting music. I believe social media allows artists to be recognized and build deeper connections with their audiences. Achieving stardom is not difficult, but maintaining that status is the real deal. I think popularity doesn’t last too long, but being consistent with your craft and being able to touch other people’s lives will help you succeed in this industry.
Q. With P-Pop, people tend to constantly associate and compare it to its main influence, K-Pop (and to an extent, J-Pop for MNL48). It’s been said that P-Pop just copies this music culture, and there hasn’t been a “distinct” sound to define P-Pop. What can you tell me about that?
Sheki: I believe that everything else has to start somewhere. Just as K-Pop was originally inspired by J-Pop culture. Music all around the world has heavily influenced each other as well as its cultures, such as the idol industry. For me, what differentiates P-Pop amongst other pop cultures is how P-Pop uses their songs as messages to convey feelings that bring in Filipino values and culture that, through music, could be understood globally.
Don't miss Sheki, and your Oshis in MNL48, as they take the stage at the highly anticipated PPOPCON MANILA 2023 this July 14 to 16 at Araneta City. Secure your tickets now at TicketNet Online or through TicketNet outlets nationwide.
Additionally, don't forget to grab a limited edition copy of our #TheLeadersIssue. You can either claim it at the PARCINQ booth during the PPOP Convention or have it conveniently delivered to your doorstep. Hurry and take advantage of our exciting freebies!
Produced by Parcinq Team in collaboration with PPOPCON
Photography by Rxandy Capinpin
Art Direction by Joe Andy
Production Coordination by Chardy Baldoza
Cover Stories and Interview by Marielle Filoteo and Kryzzle Cailing
Communications Manager: Rhanica
Production Manager: Arby
Artist Coordinator: Jessette
Content Producer: Erica
Team Rain X Em
Fashion Film By Ian Francisco
Video Associate Pogs Francisco
Camera Operator Anghel Millar
Gaffer Edward Logarta
Set Design by Rabbit Hole Creatives
Food Sponsors: Illo’s Party Trays, The Sandwich Guy
Elemental Cafe Iced Coffee
Studio Partner Siren Studios