Pablo is SB19’s Leader and a P-Pop Legend
“Pinuno.” That says it all.
Pablo, also known as John Paulo Nase, is arguably the P-Pop king who’s led SB19 to where they are today. While he may disagree and owe it all to his members and team, you can’t deny an influence of a leader on his group. From the way he walks into a room, his presence commands attention. He speaks with such maturity, moves with such finesse, and his aura is that of confidence—owing it all to his 5-year experience in the game.
To talk about what SB19 has achieved would require a whole thesis. They’ve been the first Filipinos to be nominated in the Billboard Music Awards and the first Southeast Asian act to enter the top 10 of Billboard Social 50. They’ve been named the newest Youth and Sentro Rizal ambassadors, representing Filipino culture and stories on the global scene, by The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). They’ve joined numerous lists for their influence by publishers such as Teen Vogue, Esquire, Preview, and Ms. Mojo. And this doesn’t include getting to live their dreams of finally having a major concert tour (Where You At World Tour) and releasing individual projects.
It’s a lot. Yet, between all the glory, accolades, and fame, Pablo has always—at this core—remained humble. Eager to support his members and lift them up. Easy to wave off the “Pinuno” titles and his leader role. As SB19’s main songwriter and producer from the very beginning, the dedication this man has to his craft will always be why fellow A’TIN and his members themselves hold such a deep respect for him.
When Parcinq first met SB19 in 2020, they talked all about their past, their paths in life, and their hopes and dreams of climbing to the top. They were 2-years into their debut but 1-year into their sudden rise from the hit, “Go Up.” I look back at their video from then, and I can’t help but think about how young they were and how all their manifestations from then led to this.
In this feature with Pablo, we talk about what it means to be a true leader, his deep and ever-flowing dedication to the craft, and how he has grown with SB19.
Q: Can you tell me what it means to be a leader in a P-Pop group? What kind of roles and responsibilities do you have? Are there certain traits and qualities necessary for this?
Pablo: To become a leader is to become a parent and assume both roles. (laughs) A father and a mother at the same time. You need to find the balance between your soft and hard skills in order to foster growth and positive change among the members. You’re always the first one to stand, take charge, and test the waters, making sure they are safe for everyone.
Definitely, there are certain traits and qualities necessary to become an effective leader, but for me, having a great sense of accountability is something that a leader must possess. You are to guide and influence people to a shared purpose. And having this trait compels you to always do your best and strive for greatness—knowing that you’re rearing other people behind you.
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. Your focus tends to be in a more group voice versus your own. So, how do you strike a balance between being a representative of the group and remaining true to who you are as a person?
Pablo: No group can survive without compromising. At the same time, not following what you believe is the “best” way of doing something doesn’t mean you’re not being true to yourself.
Groups have certain roles. And sometimes, some people may know better and have better ideas that will benefit the whole team. It’s always a good practice to challenge thoughts and come up with something that’s ultimately agreeable to everyone. You learn more when you listen than just forcing things on other people.
But when you reach an impasse, that’s when the leader comes in and decides for the whole team.
Q: It’s tough to introduce a new genre like “P-Pop” to an audience that has been used to a certain sound in Pinoy music and tends to gravitate toward established artists from big media groups. Tell me about the reality of introducing this new wave of music.
Pablo: P-Pop has definitely gained a lot of attention over the last few years. And while it’s tough to introduce a new genre, we’ve always stayed focused on our goal: To create music that touches many.
For us, five years in, we just keep on pushing boundaries. We like to set out and challenge whatever is conceived as “mainstream.”
Q: You’ve talked a lot about the hard times while you were training. As someone who’s seen through the entire process and one of the first P-Pop groups to go through it, what is something should know about the trainee life before pursuing a path here?
Pablo: It’s a rigorous journey that requires a lot of commitment, time, and so much of yourself.
I can connect this to the song, “CRIMZONE,” which talks about our struggles and triumphs. There’s a part that goes, “Buong ibibigay puso't kaluluwa kong 'to. Heto lang ang kaya ko. Gawa sa pawis, luha't dugo. Kaya 'di mababagabag sa kahit ano.” It’s really required blood, sweat, and tears to pursue this path.
But, at the end of the day, it may be challenging but it’ll always anchor on the WHY—Why do you do this?
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 other groups). As someone who’s one of the pioneers of P-Pop, what makes P-Pop different? And what can you say about all these continuous comparisons?
Pablo: In general, Pop is very universal. The elements are all the same so influences can’t be helped. And P-Pop shares some elements with the rest, like its training—we all work hard to perfect our craft. Because, as Filipinos, we are known as hard workers, working hard to deliver nothing but the best.
But, what sets us apart is that everything is originally Filipino—written and produced by us, making it also original Pinoy music. It’s called P-Pop for the Filipino music so that it can be distinguished in the global scene but P-Pop will always reflect our own stories and culture compared to the rest. We may jump on styles and trends every now and then but that’s because we also see personal connections to things we experience.
Q: As someone who’s been a main songwriter and producer for SB19, tell me about creating music for SB19. Tell me how it works in the group and the production process in SB19.
Pablo: From the beginning, we’ve always wanted to produce and create our own music.
In the group, everyone is encouraged to present ideas. Be it creating music, proposing content, etc. We always cultivate collaborations and build on each other’s ideas.
Others outside the group may also contribute to the development and creation of songs. It’s really a shared process. When songs are written, the group listens to the song and offers recommendations to improve the song further.
But process aside, it’s always been important for us to tell stories—our stories. We don’t put any limitations on ourselves as to what kind of music we can create. You can see that through PAGSIBOL to PAGTATAG!
Q: You’ve been creating music for quite some time. Do you find that the process of writing songs gets more or less difficult the more you do it? Also, simply put—how do you write a song?
Pablo: The songwriting process varies, meaning there’s no standard process. It can jumpstart from an experience, a thought, a memory, or simply hearing a beat or sound that, to me, may work for a song in the future.
Like, for example, the “GENTO” process. It didn’t even start with a beat. It started with the chorus and hearing sounds resembling “GENTO.” Then we just built it up from there.
Q: It’s been a while since that SB19 interview for Parcinq back in 2020. And so much has changed since then. How do you think you’ve changed and grown from that time?
Pablo: There’s definitely been more growth since 2020. There are more responsibilities now as a leader, part of a team, and managing our own company 1Z Entertainment—that in itself is a huge learning curve and growth zone that I can’t fully put into words.
As an artist, it’s all about taking more creative lead in our music, exploring more genres and sounds, and creating our own music that reflects the stories we want to share.
Q: You and SB19 have seen through the early stages of P-Pop to what it is now, which is still admittedly at an early stage. Where do you think P-Pop is now in terms of how it’s developed and its place in PH pop culture today?
Pablo: There’s a much larger acceptance compared to when we started. The public has a greater sense of awareness of P-Pop. Now, there are even more acts in the music scene.
And, with more acts, there’s more noise—allowing all of us to rise together.
Don't miss Pablo and the Kings of P-Pop, SB19, 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 at parcinqmarketplace.com. You can either claim it at the PARCINQ booth during the P-POP 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
Features Writers Queenie Cailing and Marielle Filoteo
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 Logorta
Set Design by Rabbit Hole Creatives
Food Sponsors: Illo’s Party Trays, The Sandwhich Guy
Elemental Cafe Iced Coffee
Studio Partner Siren Studios