Boyz II Men return to school
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Members of the Grammy-winning group Boyz II Men returned to their roots Tuesday with a concert at their old stomping grounds – a performing arts high school they remember being just like the TV show Fame.
“You had girls, you know, walking around in their leotards, plie-ing all over the hallways …” said Shawn Stockman.
“Dudes sitting on the stairs drawing …” added Wanya Morris.
“It was a school you never wanted to be absent, you never wanted to be late,” said Nathan Morris.
The R&B group met more than two decades ago at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative & Performing Arts, where Tuesday they held a private show for about 300 students and Sirius XM subscribers. SiriusXM plans to broadcast the show on October 21, the day the band’s album Collide comes out.
The trio performed in an auditorium with dozens of students on stage, who cheered and clapped along to their opening song, the ’90s megahit Motownphilly. The crooners are also known for ballads like I’ll Make Love to You and End of the Road.
Before the concert, the band caught up with mentor LaDeva M. Davis, who still teaches dance at the school. Stockman joked that they liked Davis’ class because of the girls in leotards – “so we hung around like cats in an alley.”
But later, turning serious, he credited Davis with playing a key role in the band’s development by doing everything from producing their showcases to making sure they got to class on time.
“Aw, thank you,” Davis said. “You all were precious. You were very well behaved.”
“We tried,” said Wanya Morris, breaking into laughter. “I tried.”
Stockman now lives in Los Angeles; Nathan Morris resides in Philadelphia and Wanya Morris, who is not related, lives nearby in New Jersey.
They also spoke about other noteworthy classmates: Ahmir Questlove Thompson and Tariq Black Thought Trotter, who formed The Roots.
“There were so many talented people in there, we always say that any other four guys could have been Boyz II Men,” Nathan Morris said. “We just happened to be the ones to get out.”
Boyz II Men was a quartet when they debuted in 1991 with the multiplatinum album Cooleyhighharmony and followed up with the best-selling II. Member Michael McCary later left the group, but the others continued to make music. Their last album, Twenty, was released in 2011.
The band has recently been in residency at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Stockman has also served as a judge on NBC’s The Sing-Off.