Boyz II Men bring 20 years of harmony to Shippensburg, Pa.

March 30, 2013|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE |
  • Shawn Stockman, far right, of Boyz II Men says the trio likes to get the audience involved in their live shows.
Submitted photo

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men promises one thing to fans who will see the group perform Thursday, April 4: Expect to work up a sweat.

Stockman and the rest of Boyz II Men will perform at H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University

"I think people will be surprised at the energy (involved) with coming to a Boyz II Men concert, not only from us but we require a lot from our audience, too," Stockman said during a telephone interview from Las Vegas. "They don't just sit there and watch us sing all night. We get them involved and get them to play with us. It's a lot of interaction and it's a lot of us singing our butts off for an hour and half. We believe people will be entertained and tired from singing all day."

It's a way to put to rest the idea that Boyz II Men, who are best known for "I'll Make Love to You" and "End of the Road," only perform ballads.

Stockman said they've been doing a lot of projects the last few years to show their audience that they've evolved musically.

Their 2011 album, "Twenty," which celebrated the group's two decades in the music business, was just one of their steps in that new direction. The album contained re-recorded classics and new songs.

"You only can get one 20th anniversary, so we wanted to make sure we did it, and we did it the way we wanted to," Stockman said. "The music actually came out really, really great - both sides, the new music as well as the classics we re-did. We felt like it was a description of not only who we were, but who we are now. I think that's the part we were most concerned with, to express who we are as a group today. I think we did that pretty successfully."

The group has come a long way as a quartet of teens growing up in Philadelphia. Today, Boyz II Men is now a trio — Shawn Stockman, Wanya Morris and Nathan Morris. Founding member Michael McCarly reportedly left in 2003 due to health issues.

But the group has continued to find new opportunities for themselves to stretch their musical chops.

Boyz II Men has recently inked a new deal with BMG, with a new album that Stockman is excited about.

"This new album we're going to come out with, it's going to be even more of a departure — in a good way - than what people know us from," he said.

He said "Twenty" didn't get the exposure the group was hoping for, but he hopes that with their new home at BMG they'll be able to get more people to hear their changes.

"It's going to be what the 'Twenty' album was going to be, as far as letting people know who we are now," he said. "And I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised about it, about the change."

The album is still in its infancy stage. Stockman said the guys have only started listening to music a few weeks ago.

"Put out of your mind, 'I'll Make Love to You' and 'End of the Road' - that would be a good idea. That's not where we are," he said. "It's not where we're going and none of the songs will sound like that"

On March 1, Boyz II Men launched a Las Vegas residency for 2013 at the Terry Fator Theatre at The Mirage.

"It's cool. You can't get no hotter than Vegas," Stockman. "Vegas, it's the entertainment capital of the word. It has a history of having the best performers the planet has ever seen come across that town. For us to be there just further solidifies our presence in the business, and what we've done so far."

He said the group likes being in Vegas because it's a place where they can be in one place and have the fans come to them.

"It's a win-win and I get to play poker every week," he said with a laugh.

Another recognition that Boyz II Men will go down in history as one of the top R&B groups of all times is last year receiving the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

"Long after I'm gone, people will still be walking on top of us on Hollywood and take pics of our star. That's a major accomplishment and another point where it establishes our legacy, which is awesome."

And when he's not taking a flight between  Burbank, Calif., and Las Vegas, Stockman still manages to stay busy.

He's been a judge on NBC's "Sing-Off," an a cappella singing competition, which begins taping its new season in August.

"My guys and I started singing a cappella," he said. "We listened to it when we were very young, so I have an affinity for it."

He and his wife also started a nonprofit, Mika's Voice, which shares the name of their son, Mika, 9. A twin, Mika was diagnosed at age 2 with autism.

"Basically this is something that, once you find out something about your child, it changes everything in your world," he said.

The nonprofit will launch a website around April 1, in time for Autism Awareness Month. And Stockman said their mission is to raise enough funds to help families.

"The goal is to sponsor a family for a year to help them with services, supplements, doctors, therapists, whatever they need to give their child a headstart on getting better or getting a certain type of normalcy for their lives," he said.

In the meantime, when they're not performing at Vegas, Boyz II Men will be ramping up for the Package Tour this summer with New Kids on the Block and 98 Degrees.

Stockman said they've been friends with NKOTB's Donnie Wahlberg for years, and the group of them have talked about finding an opportunity to tour.

"The guys and I made an appearance at the New Kids show when they were with the Back Street Boys a couple years ago in Orlando (Fla.)," Stockman recalls. "And Donnie said he had never heard that in all the years he had been doing it, he had never heard the screams that loud when we came out. And that pretty much confirmed our spot."

Stockman said they're looking forward to a fun summer.

"It's a really great thing for the fans, and for us too," he said. "But for us, it's really just a bunch of friends going out on the road. We're just guys who have known each other and appreciated each other's position in the business (who) decided to get together and sing a few songs for a few thousand people."

If you go ...

What: Boyz II Men

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 4

Where: H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, Pa.

Cost: Tickets cost $25 to $39

Call: 717-477-7469 or go to

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