Our recent chat with the charming gals and guys of BGYO and BINI was an opportunity not only to find out what makes the sibling P-pop groups tick and click, but also to get to know their members individually. It’s a rare chance that we relished even more as we listened to Akira Morishita, JL Toreliza, Mikki Claver Jr., Nate Porcalla and Gelo Rivera (of BGYO) and Aiah Arceta, Colet Vergara, Maloi Ricalde, Gwen Apuli, Stacey Sevilleja, Mikha Lim, Sheena Catacutan and Jhoanna Robles (of BINI) handle our questions with aplomb and unforced charm.
Here’s the second part of our Zoom chat with BINI and BGYO:
The training you had to undergo was long, hard and, because of COVID and the ABS-CBN shutdown, was sometimes fraught with uncertainty. How did that whole experience change you?
Mikki: The process changed me a lot, especially in my skills as a performer and where personality development is concerned. I was neither a dancer nor a singer, but the training I went through changed all that.
It helped me become a better performer, and the other members of the group had my back. So now, I’m just trying to reciprocate all that positive energy by supporting them any way I can. We’ve all gone through tough times, but at least we had each other for support.
Nate: Before I joined the boot camp to train with them, I was just a dancer who hated singing. There was a voice class before that, and after attending one, I told my mom, “I don’t like this—I’m done!”
Then, I started getting into singing more and more, and I just kept singing wherever and whenever I could. We did everything together over and over again until it was perfect, and we started becoming all-around performers. I think that explains our stronger, tougher mind-set as performers.
For BINI, can you talk about your biggest frustrations and what is most fulfilling about your journey so far?
Sheena: The biggest frustration was COVID. It really stopped us from performing, and we have yet to meet the fans—our dear Blooms—in person yet because we’re still in the middle of a pandemic.
But performing is our passion, and it’s really hard to perform without an audience. At first, we were so sad about it because there was no one to cheer us on. That’s why it sometimes took a toll on us.
Gwen: In my case, it was hard not to be able to go home and see my loved ones [because of the lockdowns]. This was especially true to four members of BINI who live so far away. So when the pandemic started, lahat po kami hindi nakauwi nang matagal. It became part of our struggle—and it didn’t help that we were physically tired but couldn’t see our families.
Jhoanna: My biggest frustration was what happened to ABS-CBN. It was a huge factor, because we were just trainees when the shutdown happened—it brought us so much uncertainty and anxiety. It made us wonder what the future held for us. So I’m thankful that management really fought for us. We’re talking to you now because of its support for us. Pinaglaban nila talaga kami!
Aiah: It was really hard to live in a time of uncertainty, because we had so many plans for the group, but the pandemic made it doubly difficult to realize all those plans. Somehow, and thankfully, we managed to pull it off.
Stacey: On the other hand, the best thing about being a BINI is the fact that we get to celebrate the best things in life together. I’m grateful because (she breaks into song) … “Magkayakap tayo tungo sa ating pangarap!” That’s from Colet’s composition.
Maloi: Another fulfilling part about all this is, we can now help our families. We used to rely on them for moral and financial support, but now we get to reciprocate all of that. In my case most importantly, I can already help send my siblings to school!
Colet: For me, it was also fulfilling to meet the girls! (Others rib her) Ang arte n’yo naman (laughs). Kidding aside, just to make the cut as part of BINI is an honor and a source of pride.
Mikha: And when we finally debuted, we didn’t realize we’d be able to inspire a lot of people! It’s one of the biggest sources of fulfillment for each of us—and we don’t take this responsibility lightly. So we try not to make mistakes, because we know there are fans who look up to us for inspiration.
What do you think makes the P-pop sound unique compared to other musical genres?
Akira: Other than the Filipino language and its beauty, we’re introducing Pinoy culture to the rest of the world.
Gelo: I think the different sounds and musical genres inform one another. They influence each other’s tastes and styles. What makes P-pop unique is we’re telling the Filipino story through the lyrics in our songs.
How long does it take to make each music video, from the moment you begin rehearsing to the time you shoot the actual video?
Jhoanna: What you see in our videos isn’t really “rehearsed,” so we just execute what we’re told to do—that’s why we look natural and spontaneous in them. But the choreography for the dance is another matter—we rehearse four hours every day for a month.
Gelo: If there’s a music video involved, each one takes about one to three days to shoot [depending on the degree of difficulty]. As Jhoanna mentioned earlier, we’re asked to master the song, then we audition for parts in front of our coaches. We then learn the choreo. We start blocking the whole thing after parts are assigned.
Collaborations between different music groups are common these days. Who would you like to collaborate with among local and foreign acts?
Jhoanna: As we always mention in interviews, we’d love to work with [the K-pop girl group] Itzy, because we’re about the same age. We always look forward to their new releases, because you see in them the discipline and all the hard work they put into their dance numbers. Locally, we want to work with Sarah Geronimo and KZ Tandingan. Fortunately, we’ll be able to work with KZ in our upcoming concert.
Akira: There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big, so we’ll just put this out there: We want to work with BTS, because it’d be a thrill to see how they rehearse and perform with them. I’m sure we’ll learn a lot from that experience. Among Filipino artists, we’d be honored to work with Kuya Iñigo Pascual and other P-pop artists.
We can’t end this interview without talking about “One Dream,” BGYO and BINI’s joint two-night concert this weekend. What can we expect from it?
Jhoanna: Our sibling concert happens on Nov. 6 and Nov. 7. You can get your tickets on ktx.ph or iWantTFC.
Gelo: We have a lot of surprises, and it will be worth our followers’ while. We will be performing for two days, each with a different repertoire, including new songs from our album, a lot of memorable production numbers and some fan faves. For Blooms and ACEs, you don’t want to miss it!
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