Bot Glorioso – The Philippine Star

November 9, 2021 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Beyond Zero may be the newest addition to the list of today’s all-Filipino boy groups but its members, namely Duke Cruz, Andrei Trazona, Mathew “Matty” Echavez, Wayne Gallego, Khel Figueroa, Jieven Aguilar and Jester Kyle are among the well-liked personalities in the video-sharing app TikTok.

If you combine the number of views for their dance performances and the followers each member has, that will give you a total of 1.3 billion views and 12.5 million digital audiences worldwide.

House of Mentorque Production CEO John Brian Diamante has found real talent in the seven TikTokers.

Beyond Zero was formally introduced to the media via a virtual conference recently. Each member displayed singing and dancing skills. Duke stands as the “daddy” or group leader while Khel is known as the group’s “secret weapon” for his talent in singing and songwriting.

If you follow his social media, then you know that Wayne is local TikTok fans’ Ang Bungisngis na Topnotcher.

Beyond Zero’s resident heartthrob is Matty. Meanwhile, referred to as the bad boy of the group by TikTok followers is Jester Kyle but in real life, he’s considered the most charming of the seven guys.

Equally talented and the people’s choice to join Beyond Zero is Jieven. Last but not the least is Andrei, the out and proud LGBTQ member in the group.

John revealed there were hesitations to manage Beyond Zero from the beginning “because we are a very conservative country. This is the first time that a boy group na meron talagang out (gay). And we are proud of that and because of that inclusivity and diversity, I think makikita ng mga Pinoy at makikita ng global fans na p’wede pala nilang magawa ‘yan and we saw that there’s a lot of LGBTQ influencers also making their names.

“So, ito y’ung unique sa Beyond Zero at saka y’ung roots n’yang P-pop in Pinoy talent and Pinoy music, especially that we are working with a lot of really great Pinoy artists.

Among them is award-winning singer-songwriter Quest who created the group’s debut single titled Reach the Top. “We are proud and so happy that Quest saw the potential of Beyond Zero,” John added.

The past two months had been most rigorous for the group. “Hindi biro ang pinagdaanan ng Beyond Zero and I would like to personally thank all the people who helped to make this possible. Beyond Zero will always be proud to be part of the digital influencers’ community here in the Philippines,” he said.

But this is not to say that Beyond Zero is out to compete with the other boy groups, particularly SB19. Andrei stressed, “SB19 has the K-pop influence but we Beyond Zero came from the dance community and we have the hip-hop influence and we are very proud of that.

“We really think na y’ung pagiging part namin ng hip-hop community will give us an edge to go global.”

John shared that he was impressed with the boys’ dedication to polish their talent. “Y’ung dynamics ng mga bata, that’s one reason we have invested (in them). First and foremost, when we met Beyond Zero, it’s already a group.”

It was Duke who broached the idea to the six other guys for them to form the group. “It’s not hard to convince them since we all love what we do,” he said.

Right after signing them into a management contract, John deemed it necessary to train them professionally, especially in dancing. “Before, parang laro lang kasi lahat sa kanila so we housed them together (in Batangas) for training. There are more than 100 people working for Beyond Zero. Ganoon kalaki ang paniwala namin sa potential ng mga bata.”

He, too, reminded the boys to stay focused and set aside things that are not important in their career.

“Our dream for Beyond Zero is to go global,” declared John. “We will never stop. I always look into their eyes and I see fire and desire. We are excited for this Pinoy talent to be part of the global scene that is why we are inviting everyone to their first digital concert.”

Set on Dec. 3, the show will be streamed globally via Guest performers are Quest, Sex Bomb Dancers, Maneuvers, Ace Ramos, Mars Miranda and JROA. Director is GB Sampedro.

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