One of my core memories of media consumption was watching my idols in tour documentaries. As a kid, getting special access to their baby videos from VHS tapes and concert POV clips was a totally different experience. Whether you’re a casual viewer or a fan, if these films gave you an ecstatic experience, I’d definitely say, hard same.
After all, these documentaries are not just constant reminders that they’re still human but also eye-openers that all artists have one goal in common: They all have their “dream stage.”
Just like most stars, a new homegrown group also eyes a certain stage as they grow and rack up success. But for them, performing in their own provinces is the holy grail. Meet the rising P-pop boy group Yes My Love.
Wearing the “Vocal Heartstoppers of P-pop” badge, Yes My Love consists of six talented artists: Niko Badayos, Joshua Adornado, Eli Padilla, Jeff Cabrera, RZ Condor, and Brian Zamora. They debuted in Dec. 2022 following the successful launch of sibling groups VXON and G22.
Since their break, Yes My Love initially dropped two emotional and stirring remakes: Stray Kids’ “Maniac” dance and Sheryn Regis’ “Gusto Ko Nang Bumitaw” hit. The song cover amassed over 100,000 views on YouTube—currently the highest on their channel
After successfully doing covers, the band has since progressed into producing and releasing debut single “Rhythm” in March.
To serve us more of their intimate energy, we talked to the boys themselves to clue us in on more of their vision, challenging experiences, and interests. Take this as the unofficial first scene of their metaphorical documentary.
Congratulations on your debut song “Rhythm.” What was the creative process behind it?
Joshua: We had different ideas of what we wanted for our debut song. [Fortunately,] everything worked out in our favor—hashtag lucky boy syndrome. We wouldn’t have it any other way because we love that we had so much freedom in doing the song—we were very much involved in writing the lyrics, especially for the Filipino and English parts, and most importantly, [in doing] the melody lines from the intro down to the dance break. We [actually] did [some parts] in our fire exit here in the studio. We were so happy when the final cut was given to us because [we felt] like it’s a labor of love as a group.
Behind the success of covering Sheryn Regis’ “Gusto Ko Nang Bumitaw” and Stray Kids’ “Maniac” dance, were there any challenges you faced as a group?
Niko: Sa shoot ng “Maniac” cover namin, lumala ’yung muscle spasm ko sa likod. Hindi talaga ako makagalaw. Bumibigay na talaga ’yung katawan ko first round pa lang. Noong second time na kailangan i-hit ’yung floor, bigla na akong tumumba. Tapos si Eli, umiiyak na. Nakita niya akong umiiyak dahil hindi ko na makayanan back pain ko. Napahiga ako and nag-hu-huddle na kami. Alam mo ’yung pressure? Ayokong mapunta sa wala ’yung pinaghirapan namin lahat, ng production team, aming team, ng glam team, ng boys. Gusto ko talaga siyang ilaban and grateful kami na nairaos namin.
(During our “Maniac” cover shoot, my muscle spasm got worse. I really couldn’t move. My body was really giving up in the first round. The second time I had to hit the floor, I suddenly fell down. Right there, I saw Eli crying because he witnessed how I couldn’t handle my back pain anymore. The boys and I laid down and huddled. It’s the pressure. I don’t want to lose what we all worked for, the production team, our team, the glam team, and of course, the boys. I really wanted to fight, and we were grateful that we were able to do it.)
Joshua: Hindi ka bumitaw. (You didn’t give up.)
Niko: Malakas support system ko eh. (I have a strong support system.)
Jeff: Sa akin naman, sobrang masaya. Sa comment section makikita mo, we were asked “May mga Bisaya ba dito?” Sobrang nagpapasalamat kami dahil sa group na ito, five of us are Visayan.
(For me, it was a very pleasant experience. In the comment section, we were asked “Are there any Visayans here?” We are very grateful because in this group, five of us are Visayan.)
Jeff: You would also see “Oh, they are from the survival show ‘Top Class.’” [There are] a lot of good comments out there and at the same time [the applause] is just very welcoming. The acceptance is a lot and we’re so grateful for that. Thank you so much for supporting our two covers.
Yes My Love wears the label “Vocal Heartstoppers of P-Pop.” How do you inject this into your music?
Jeff: Bumibirit si Josh. ’Yung heart mo mag-sa-stop talaga. (Josh sings at the top of his lungs. Your heart will stop literally.)
We also want to share our hearts through ballads and songs that actually tell a story that is very relatable, pwedeng iyakan o katuwaan.
Joshua: As a group, we have come to a decision that apart from doing our dance hits—which by the way we really love—we also want to share our hearts through ballads and songs that actually tell a story that is very relatable, pwedeng iyakan o katuwaan. (You can cry or laugh to.)
Niko, RZ, Jeff, and Brian, you were former trainees at the “Top Class: Rise to P-Pop Stardom” show. How did your experience with the talent survival series shape you into the P-pop artist you are today?
Brian: Malaking tulong po talaga ’yung nag-start kami from “Top Class.” ’Yung mga natutunan namin sa loob, ayun ang ina-apply namin ngayon as a P-pop artist today. Yung mga mahihirap na experience, nagiging standard namin siya sa everyday life namin today.
(It was a big stepping stone that we started from “Top Class.” The ideas we learned inside as trainees are the things we apply now as a P-pop artist. The difficult experiences we overcame became our standard in our everyday life today.)
RZ: Sobrang dami kong natutunan sa reality show na iyon kasi may mga times na konti lang ang preparation pero na-a-apply na namin dito. It was a good experience.
(I learned a lot. Because of that reality show, we were able to pick up things quickly even when there were times that we didn’t have enough time to prepare. It was a good experience.)
’Yung panahon na pumasok kami, hindi namin alam kung ano ’yung daratnan namin. At kung lalabas kami, hindi rin namin alam kung ano ’yung mga mababaon namin.
Jeff: ’Yung discipline talaga namin doon is sobra. (The way we were disciplined there was overwhelming.) In this amount of time, we needed to complete the choreography—singing and dancing along with the members. It really equipped me to the reality I have today, which is I’m already in a P-pop group. Time is very important and discipline is a very necessary tool in order for us to survive in this industry. The discipline was imposed on the survival show itself.
Niko: ’Yung panahon na pumasok kami, hindi namin alam kung ano ’yung daratnan namin. At kung lalabas kami, hindi rin namin alam kung ano ’yung mga mababaon namin—now, lahat [ng pinaghirapan namin] sa loob ng “Top Class” napunta dito. Lahat ng sacrifices, lahat ng natutunan namin sa bawat isa, sa mga coaches at mentors, sa show itself, and sa mga sarili namin na kung saan ay, “Kaya ko pa lang mag-learn ng steps within one day? Kaya ko palang gumawa ng sayaw within two days?” Sobrang laking bagay niya.
(When we joined “Top Class,” we didn’t know what we were getting into. And if we quit, we wouldn’t even know what’s left for us. Today, everything we worked hard for went here. All the sacrifices, everything we learned from each other, from the coaches and mentors, the show itself, and from ourselves, which I realized, “Oh, I can learn steps within a day? I can do a dance within two days?” It’s a huge thing.)
Joshua, five years ago, you scored a spot in the Top 5 of GMA’s talent competition “The Clash.” How has this influenced you?
Joshua: A lot. I think my time in “The Clash” is going to be one of the most memorable things ever in my life. I will never forget the lessons I learned there, especially about the industry. Also, knowing how to work with other people and the urgency [to learn] right away because time is money, and I wish to be able to partake in that with the boys as we move along in the years to come.
Same goes to Eli, how did being an internet personality and former performer in TV5’s reality show “Sing Galing” develop you?
Eli: I came from Cebu. Bago ako mag-“Sing Galing,” influencer ako and doing TikToks. Noong pumasok na ako ng “Sing Galing,” doon na nag-start ’yung dance talaga na dance, ’yung hindi lang pang-TikTok. Kapag nagti-TikTok ka, iba ’yung galaw mo, maliit lang. Pero kapag nasa TV ka, dapat hindi na pwede ’yung pang-TikTok lang na galaw. Dapat malaki ’yung galaw mo.
(I came from Cebu. Before “Sing Galing,” I was an influencer and doing TikToks. And when I entered “Sing Galing,” that’s when the real dancing started. When you dance on TV, your moves are completely different compared to TikTok. Your movements must be larger than life if they’re for TV.)
Eli: Doon nag-start ’yung pressure sa akin dahil hindi talaga ako sumasayaw. Si Niko, he was from “Sing Galing” din bago siya mag-“Top Class.” Siya ’yung naging mentor ko sa dancing. Kapag may prod, doon na talaga hahataw. And kapag nag-pa-practice kami roon, on the spot. Ngayon namin i-pa-practice and then mamaya shooting na. Kaya magandang training ground din ang experience ko sa “Sing Galing.” As an artist now, na-practice ko rin paano mag-emote sa camera.
(Pressure started because I don’t really dance. Niko was also from “Sing Galing” before he joined “Top Class.” He was my mentor for dancing. When there’s a prod, we practice on the spot. We will practice right away and then later we will shoot it. My experience in “Sing Galing” as an artist now is also an advantageous training ground. I also learned how to emote in front of the camera.)
What interests or hobbies do you share outside work? How do you maintain your relationship as a group?
Niko: Mahilig kaming kumain sa labas. (We love to eat out.)
Joshua: Eli, Brian, and I bond through workouts whenever we have spare time outside of rehearsals. Since we’re caught up in rehearsals, we don’t have that much time to do that. Eli helps me out as well as Brian with his knowledge, and vice versa.
Jeff: Kapag silang apat wala sa bahay, naglilinis kami ni RZ. Dapat organized. (Whenever they’re out, RZ and I clean our apartment. We should be organized.)
Niko: Magtatanong kami, “Ano kaya masarap kainin? Burger? Deserve ko ba?” Tapos may sasagot, “Oo, deserve mo.” (We will ask each other, “What’s good to eat? Burger? Do I deserve it?” Then someone will answer, “Yes, you deserve it.”)
How do you envision your group a few years from now?
Jeff: Sana makapunta kami sa mga province namin. Sa Visayas. (I hope we can perform in our provinces. In Visayas.)
Ang goal namin as a team is makapag perform po kami sa kaniya-kaniyang hometown namin. Sa Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Niko: Ang goal namin as a team is makapag-perform po kami sa kaniya-kaniyang hometown namin. Sa Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Especially, tatlo is from Cebu and one from Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod. Only one from Bonifacio Global City. After malibot ang Philippines, our goal is to tour internationally din.
(Our goal as a team is to be able to perform in our hometowns. In Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Three of us are from Cebu and one from Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod. Only one from Bonifacio Global City. After touring the Philippines, our goal is to tour internationally as well.)
Josh: We hope there will be more 143, a bigger family, more people to be inspired with the music we release, and more people to relate to our music and our message as a group. ’Yun naman po ’yung ultimate goal namin. (That’s our ultimate goal.) We always have to ask ourselves at the end of the day why we are doing this. We do this because we love what we do.
If you have the chance to collaborate with other groups or artists, who would they be?
Joshua: It’s safe to say that SB19 catapulted P-pop to what it is now, and it would be a dream to work [with them] on anything, even if it’s just a photoshoot. But we’re open to anyone who wants to collaborate with us.
Yes My Love is all about love and peace, so let’s collaborate.
Joshua: I think the P-pop community is growing, and it’s such a strong community itself. I also think there’s so much talent in the P-pop industry that’s just waiting to be known and seen. If there’s anyone who wants to collaborate with us, just hit our manager’s DM.
Jeff: Collaboration is power.
Joshua: Yes, we are firm believers of collaboration because YML innovates itself as a collaboration of six minds, our management, and our recording label.
Can you clue us in on what’s next for Yes My Love?
Joshua: There are so many things we are excited about. Expect for ballads in the months to come, expect for more danceable songs, expect for Yes My Love to navigate different genres, maybe, because we really want to explore since we’re a starting group. I think pwede pa kami makapag-experiment kung ano ba talaga ’yung sound na best sa amin. (I think we can still experiment to see what’s best for us.)
Art banner by Yel Sayo
Press photo courtesy of Cornerstone Entertainment and Universal Music Group