To have never experienced their musical genius, danced along to their hits, or fallen in love with their ballads is inconceivable. For 30 years, legendary musicians, Boyz II Men, have been serenading the masses and fortifying their place in music industry history as an elite R&B ensemble. Paving the way for boy bands to come, their accolades and countless awards speak for themselves. Ranking among the likes of Elvis Presley and The Beatles, Boyz II Men has broken records, even their own, topping Billboard charts and making their albums a staple for generations.
From humble beginnings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to sold-out shows across the globe, Boyz II Men has never forgotten where they came from, which has attributed to their massive success and longevity in the industry. Besides their musical reign, they have also expanded their prowess into movies, TV shows, philanthropic work, and winemaking. Nate Morris, Wanya Morris, and Shawn Stockman shine individually and dazzle as a trio, even now as they once again set out to tour the world.
It is far from “The End of the Road” for Boyz II Men, and BELLA was there to share in the story of their past, present, and what’s in store for the future…
First thing’s first: As someone who lived in your hometown of Philadelphia and graduated from Temple University, I need you to set the record straight. Best cheesesteaks in Philly… go!
NATE: Well, I can only speak for me—I’m an “Ishkabibble’s” guy, because I’m a chicken cheesesteak guy.
WANYA: Honestly, the ‘hood has the best chicken cheesesteaks. “Bella” is where we used to go every day when we were at the studio. Up there toward Broad and Girard, they have the best ones for me…“Mimmo’s Pizza” is great.
NATE: “Geno’s Steaks” become synonymous with us; we used to hang out up there. Then we got a little bit more money and started venturing out, and instead of getting gratis cheesesteaks, we started buying our cheesesteaks.
SHAWN: If you want a really good cheesesteak, go with someone who knows the area!
Now, congratulations are in order on an incredible 30 years of success. How do you feel celebrating the 30th anniversary of releasing your first album?
SHAWN: Amazing and accomplished! We feel there is so much more that we can do and will do, but to have experienced as much as we’ve experienced–the highs and lows, the ups and downs—we endured it all. We sincerely love each other after all of these years. It’s a great accomplishment, and we’re just happy to still be here and for people to still appreciate what we do. We are artists, singers, and songwriters, and that’s what we got into this business to do. We’re grateful, we’re humbled, and we want to continue, and we’ll see if we can make it another 30 years.
You are among the elite in the music industry, ranking among Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Does it even feel real, or have you gotten used to the success?
NATE: It’s one of those things that you grow up wanting to do what you do, and one of our biggest goals was to be the best we can be at it. We thank God for it, there are so many blessings. You have songs that people will remember even after you’re gone. Our focus keeps us from being jaded about our accomplishments. Every day you live, you’re extending that legacy and that history.
WANYA: The funny thing is, during the time that all these accomplishments were happening, we were always working. We never stopped working or got a good chance to sit and bask in it. It wasn’t until we actually sat down and weren’t doing something that we were able to say, “Wow, that is an accomplishment and a blessing.”
You have amassed countless awards and accolades, accomplished so much throughout your careers, and collaborated with some of the industry’s most talented artists. Is there a favorite or most memorable?
SHAWN: So many! There were so many things that just snowballed, they become countless. From meeting Michael Jackson for the first time, to meeting Prince for the first time, to performing at the 1996 Olympics in front of 2 billion viewers, to doing a song with Mariah Carey that broke records, to the tours, the commercials, and upcoming projects–our lives do not suck! It’s hard to just pick one, there were so many great ones. Too many blessings have made our lives just one big movie.
WANYA: It’s really something we are looking forward to continuing. The greatest accomplishment for all of us is to be together for 30 years, and it’s something we could not have forecast 30 years ago. Our music and the way we work together is a legacy that we hold onto.
Now, to “pour the wine, light the fire,” let’s talk about my favorite of your latest endeavors—Harmony Wines.
SHAWN: Our wine is something that we are very proud of and took us longer than what people might think. We have been trying our hand at getting into the alcohol business for many years. We have finally come to this milestone in our careers and have an actual wine that was officially created by winemakers in France. Anyone who has tasted it has absolutely loved it. I would have never thought that us as singers would be successful winemakers. So, that is a great accomplishment in itself. For that to come to fruition the way it did and be received the way it’s been received is another.
What originally sparked your interest in winemaking?
NATE: We delved into it a couple times, but nothing ever stuck. Our business partners in France have a vineyard, and we gave it all of our energy and efforts. From design, to the name, to the color scheme, we chased it down and felt really comfortable. After Shawn came up with the name, “Harmony,” each type of wine—red, white, rosé—really fell into the personalities of the group and our music. It started to feel the most organic and natural.
WANYA: Not to mention, the wine is organic, the grapes are organic. They play our music to the grapes and it helps them grow. It’s all harmonic.
So, you’re quite literally infused into this wine…
SHAWN: We have a saying now that “not only can you listen to our music, but you can taste it too.” It was perfectly blended with our music, with no chemicals in our grapes, and they learn how to grow organically through our music and those great winemakers.
NATE: The rosé is my favorite, by the way!
You are everywhere! Besides your music, your side projects and passions must keep you insanely busy. Nate, your show, “Hit Properties,” falls right into the new television sensation centered around home remodeling, house flipping, and luxury rentals. What inspired your interest in the real estate market?
NATE: I actually enjoy doing it in my free time—designing, building, construction. My manager and I invest in properties, and we started taping it and DIY Network and HGTV liked what we did. It was fun to do something creative outside of Boys II Men that didn’t rely on my music talents. I learned a lot of things and built a lot of things, and it’s just my other creative outlet outside of the group.
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