It’s not easy to shed the pristine image of being one of the country’s biggest P-Pop idols –– yet FELIP has managed to reinvent himself in more ways than one.

Being part of the country’s biggest P-pop groups could easily be perceived as quite the measure of success, but for Felip Jhon Suson, it’s a separate thing entirely with his solo venture as FELIP.  Upon transitioning from SB19 to his solo project, FELIP reflects on the distinctive differences –– an endeavor that he describes as a “more authentic version” of his artistry. It’s uncommon to witness such tremendous growth and evolution in a short amount of time, yet the renowned musician emphasizes how nearly every day on the job highlights the continuous feeling of starting anew. 

“I can’t really say na successful na ako. I still feel as if I’m [relatively] new on the scene, and that’s why hindi ko masabi yun. It always feels like lagi kakasimula ko lang ‘to”, he mentions.

[“I can’t really say na successful na ako. I still feel as if I’m [relatively] new on the scene, and that’s why I can’t say such a thing. It always feels like I’ve just started out on the scene”]

With a modest outlook on his success, FELIP’s mindset remains rooted in perpetual beginnings despite the duration of his two-year career as a solo artist. For him, it serves as a gateway to keep his creative spirit fresh and willing to experiment with various genres and sets of influences, giving him room for creative freedom that breaks the confines of what most groups are limited to. “I’m free. Gusto ko lang naman mag-explore pagdating sa music sa solo stuff ko, kasi sa SB19, may certain role kami na ginagampanan, di ba?” he points out.

[“I’m free. I just want to explore when it comes to the music of my solo stuff, especially since with SB19, we’re all performing a certain role right?”]

“So, even if may freedom din naman kami, as a member kasi, as Ken, meron kang sinusunod para mag-fit in lahat. Kasi, lima kami eh. Pero pag gumagawa ako ng solo stuff ko naman, sobrang expressive ng music ko –– and now I feel like I’m the most free person sa entire world.”

[“So, even if we have our own freedom, as a member of the group, as Ken, you have to follow suit in order for all the pieces of the puzzle to fit. Because we’re five members. But when I work on my solo projects, I get to see that my music is so expressive –– and now I feel like I’m the most free person in the entire world.”]


FELIP. Photographed by Everywhere We Shoot. Assisted by JV Rabano and Don Calopez.

As the product of his creative expression – the rising star’s discography often encompasses hip-hop and rock, sometimes with the two genres perfectly enmeshed together. For FELIP, he credits his varied influences from his experiences growing up immersed in a musical environment through his family and involvement in church. “Yung tito ko kasi, music teacher sa church namin. So dahil diyan, na-expose ako sa jazz, blues, [and] every kind of music. Tapos yung mga pinsan ko, mahilig sila naman sa metal –– parang Slipknot, and kung ano-ano na mga band, so yun yung pinakinggan nila sa akin“, he remembers fondly.

[“My uncle was a music teacher in church. And because of that, I grew up exposed to jazz, blues, and every kind of music that you’d think of. Then with my cousins, they were huge fans of metal –– like Slipknot and all those bands, which is why that’s what they made me listen to.”]

Yet as the years passed by, FELIP found himself developing his own taste in music, which he describes almost as if it was finding his own sound. He elaborates, “Noong dumating na sina Chris Brown, T-Pain, diyan na ako nag-start na mag-transition to artists like them tsaka kay Justin Bieber sa mga nagustuhan ko. So now sa career ko, iniisip ko –– why not pagsamasamahin ko nalang lahat ng genre na ganun, di ba? Like, dadagdag ako ng rock, tapos samahan ko ng hip-hop. And ayun, yung nag-resulta sa music ko is what I’d say is very interesting naman. And, it’s definitely important that I really like it.”

[“When Chris Brown and T-Pain came in, that’s when I started to transition into listening to artists like them. Including Justin Bieber who I became a fan of. So now, in my career, I thought about it and wondered –– why don’t I just combine all these genres right? Like, I can add a little bit of rock, then I can pair it with hip-hop. And from there, the result of the music I make is what I could describe as something that’s very interesting. And it’s definitely important that I really like what I do.”

Through his sincerity to the craft and use of diverse influences, the resulting fusion of sounds is one that manages to captivate his fans –– introducing them to an eclectic mix of sounds. “Kailangan mo ipakita sa tao ang authenticity mo, and those are what are real to me. Kasi syempre, merong nanonood sa’yo eh. Sa supporters ko, kailangan nila makita kung gaano ako kaconfident sa stage”, he mentions. 

[“You have to showcase your authenticity to everyone, and those are what are real to me. Because of course, there are people that are watching you. Even with my supporters, they have to see just how confident I could be on stage [for them].”

Nandiyan ako to inspire them, to give more confidence din sa kanila. Kasi hindi naman lahat ng tao confident eh. Kahit sa akin, nagsimula ako sa mahiyain talaga –– parang may stage fright, and nanginginig ako before yung mga performances ko. Kaya in a way, gusto ko silang i-uplift kung paano nila ginagawa yun para sa akin.”

[“I’m there to inspire them, and to give them more confidence as well. Because not everyone’s naturally confident. Even for me, I started out as someone who was really shy –– with bouts of stage fright, even shaking right before my own performances. But that’s why in a way, I want to uplift them in the same way that they uplift me.’]


FELIP. Photographed by Everywhere We Shoot. Assisted by JV Rabano and Don Calopez.

Given the dedication and fervent support of the A’TIN fandom, the ‘ROCKSTA‘ always takes into account how everything he does as an artist is for his fans. Their impassioned support and loyalty for him never wavers, as anyone can see by the number of trending hashtags on the comments section of his social media pages, or even by the number of people who queue in line to watch his live performances and concerts –– no matter where its distance takes them.

Kahit na nakakanervous, iniisip ko na lang na I have to do this. Kasi meron ako supporters na umaasa sa sakin eh. Masaya sila na nakapag-perform ako, masaya sila na marinig nila ako kumanta, and masaya sila na makita nila ako.” 

[“Even if it’s something that makes me really nervous, all I have to think about is that ‘I have to do this’. Because there are supporters out there who believe in me. They get happy when I perform, they’re happy when they hear me sing, and they’re happy to see me up there on stage.”]

Di ko lang talaga minsan, like, I can’t thank them enough just by saying words. You know, may mga moments wherein I wish na I could [actually] show to them how thankful I really am sa kanila. That’s why I wrote the song “Kanako” for them. Hindi basta-basta mo masusuplayan yung gano’ng klaseng effort eh. So, the least I can do is like give my all sa pag-perform and just be me. Yun yung pinaka-importante para sa akin.”

[Sometimes I can’t thank them enough just by saying words. You know, there are moments wherein I wish that I could [actually] show to them just how thankful I really am for them. That’s why I wrote and dedicated the song “Kanako” for them. It’s not easy to reciprocate the type of effort that they put out for me. So, the least that I could do is just to give my all in performing and to be authentically myself. That’s what’s most important to me.”]

With the release of his first extended play COMPLEX last year, it serves as the first project wherein FELIP bares his entire soul out. It’s a rarity in the genre that often finds it’s players guarded –– almost as if they’re constantly putting up a facade that portrays them as untouchable figures. Yet with his record, the rapper describes it as “a story about myself, and my observations sa paligid ko.” [and my observations of the environment around me.]

He continues, “Triny ko lang isulat kung ano yung naobservahin ko, and kumbaga yung mga weaknesses and strengths nga isang tao. So sinulat ko yung dalawang bagay na meron yung isang tao, bale yung reality niya. Meron yung parts ng EP na sometimes I feel weak, and sometimes I feel confident. So, kaya naging complex siya. Kasi there really are those sides of yourself na meron lahat. We’re all just human, you know?” he points out. 

[“I just tried to write about what I observed, and also about all the weaknesses and strengths of one person. So I wrote about these two things that every person has –– which is their reality. There are some parts of the EP wherein I feel weak, and sometimes I feel confident. Which is why it becomes a complex thing, since there are really those sides of yourself that everyone has. We’re all just human, you know?”]


FELIP. Photographed by Everywhere We Shoot. Assisted by JV Rabano and Don Calopez.

It’s no surprise to behold the immense reach of his music –– seeing how it finds resonance with millions of listeners across the globe. Yet that very aspect is what inspires FELIP to make it a point to keep evolving as an artist, a challenge that allows him to express his unwavering commitment to music. Even foreseeing a lifelong dedication to his craft, he proclaims; “Gusto kong talaga maging better na artist. Each day, tinatry ko mag-evolve, tinatry ko mag-grow. Kahit sa sarili ko. Kasi yung work ko as an artist, –– yun rin yung pinaka-importante naman.”

[“I just want to become a better artist. Each day, I try to evolve and I try to grow. Even just for myself. Because my work as an artist –– that’s also what I find most important.”]

Kung ano yung nararamdaman ko, yun ang linalagay ko sa pagsulat ko ng music. Parang siyang bridge para sa akin para masasabi ko yung ano yung tunay ko sa loob din, o yung mga kathang-isip na tumatatak sa utak ko. So kung nakikinig talaga yung mga tao sa akin at sa mga gusto kong sabihin, sobrang nakaka-tulong para sa akin“, FELIP states.

[“With whatever I find myself feeling, that’s what I put into the music that I write. I see it as a bridge for myself that allows me to say what I really feel inside, or even with the thoughts that stick to my mind. So if people are really listening to me and liking what I want to say, it feels therapeutic and helps so much for me.”]

Ultimately, FELIP’s solo career emerges as a beacon of creative freedom, authenticity, and vulnerability, one that offers fans a genuine connection to his musical evolution. No matter what anyone else has to say about it, he’s blazing his own path across the genre of hip-hop –– playing by his own rules, and paving the way for other P-pop artists who aspire to do the same, if not something similar.

“I don’t really care much kung ano yung sabihin ng tao when it comes to my music. Because as long as I enjoy making it and nakikita ko na may halaga siya sa mga tao, i-release ko talaga.” 

[“I don’t really care about what other people say when it comes to my music. Because as long as I enjoy making it and I see that it finds meaning with other people, then I’ll definitely release more of it.”]

As he continues to navigate the hip-hop scene, FELIP’s journey promises to unfold with a unique blend of genres, sincerity, and unwavering dedication to his art –– one which he’s promised to keep on continuing up until he’s much older. “Minsan, gumagawa ako ng two songs a day sa phone ko, kaya I can really see myself na making music, kahit until I’m 80 years old. So who knows when I’ll stop?” he jokingly shares. 

[Sometimes, I find myself making two songs a day on my phone, which is why I can really see myself making music as the years go by, perhaps even until I’m 80 years old. So who knows when I’ll stop?”]


FELIP. Photographed by Everywhere We Shoot. Assisted by JV Rabano and Don Calopez.

A version of this story appeared on Billboard Philippines’ Hip-hop Issue, dated April 15.

Photographed by Everywhere We Shoot. Assisted by JV Rabano and Don Calopez. Styling by Daryl Chang, assisted by Kurt Abonal and Maria Paz Gamus. Creative and Fashion Direction by Daryl Chang. Art Direction by Nicole Almero. Hair by Mark Familara. Makeup by Mac Igarta Shoot Coordination by Mikaela Cruz. On Felip: UNIQLO button down shirt. BALENCIAGA zip-up jacket. D.D.DAILY cargo pants, and ZARA varsity jacket. UNIQLO button-down shirt. GENTLE MONSTER eyewear.

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