Boyz II Men is a Grammy Award-winning American group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Initiated during 1988 as a quintet which originally included Marc Nelson,
Boyz II Men found fame as a quartet, with members Nathan Morris, Michael McCary, Shawn Stockman,and Wanya Morris on Motown Records during the early 1990s. Nelson left the group before their first recording to pursue a solo career. The group specialized in new jack swing-style music.
Based on sales, Boyz II Men is the most successful R&B male vocal group of all time. They recorded five number 1 R&B successes between 1992 and 1997 and have sold more than 60 million albums. Three of its number 1 hits, “End of the Road”, “I’ll Make Love to You”, and “One Sweet Day” (with Mariah Carey), set and exceeded records for the longest period of time a single remained scored at number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100; “One Sweet Day” still holds the record. Although “On Bended Knee” did not exceed any records, it was still a very popular song that reached number 1 and made Boyz II Men the third artist (behind The Beatles and Elvis) to replace themselves at the number one rating of the Billboard Hot 100.
Boyz II Men was contracted to Motown Records from 1990 to 2000, at which point they moved to parent label Universal Records. After the 2000 album Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya, Boyz II Men transferred to Arista Records. In 2003, Michael McCary left the group due to chronic back problems resulting from scoliosis. As of 2009, Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman, and Nathan Morris continue to tour and record as a trio. At the 1995 Grammy Awards, the group received four Grammy Award awards for their work, including two for their 1994 second album, II in 1995. Boyz II Men was named Billboard’s most successful group and 4th overall artist of the 1990s by Billboard Magazine.
What comes next for a four-time Grammy-winning act that is a global concert attraction, that has sold over 60 million recordings, and that celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2010?
“The success of Motown definitely upped our visibility insofar as being able to tour more, in bigger venues, in more cities and more countries,” says Shawn Stockman. “We were already an international touring company” – in a typical 12-month period, Boyz II Men performs 150-200 concerts around the world – “but Motown helped extend our reach even further.”
“The beautiful thing was that we already had shows booked in Europe and Japan, as we’ve done almost every year for many years,” Wanya Morris explains. “But performing the Motown songs was the best album promotion we could have done. And we felt the same effect back in the States as we did overseas, even in places like Billings, Montana and Salt Lake City, Utah.
“The excitement that built up as we went along through 2008 was reminiscent of the old days. The audience doesn’t forget, necessarily, but the audience sometimes needs to be reminded.”