It's hard to believe Boyz II Men have been around for more than 20 years, without a single break-up to speak of. Speaking of which, the R&B quartet is celebrating 20 years of making records (it actually formed in 1988) with the new album "Twenty," a 20-song collection (duh), split between new songs and re-recordings of classics such as "End of the Road" and "I'll Make Love to You." And while Boyz II Men often have been labeled a boy band -- it says so right in their name -- the group has accomplished far more than any Backstreet Boys or One Direction has or, likely, ever will. In fact, Boyz II Men singles have spent a combined 50 weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100, a feat only achieved by three other artists (Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Mariah Carey). Take that, Take That!
Prior to their show at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds on Oct. 18, Lowcountry Current spoke with the Boyz's 39-year-old Wanya Morris about the possibility of one day entering the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, another batch of boy bands and the hit song people think is theirs -- but isn't.
Question. In January, Boyz II Men got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Where does that rank among the group's greatest accomplishments?
Answer. Actually, I believe, to date, it's one of the greatest accomplishments that we've had through the course of our career. The star on the Walk of Fame, it kind of immortalizes us. It makes it so that once we are gone it's not just a title. It's actually something that people can walk by and see -- Boyz II Men were actually here. And, being so young, you actually feel like you're accomplished and realize that there's so much more to accomplish.
Q. In four years, Boyz II Men will be eligible to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Make a case for why you should get in.
A. I actually didn't think about that. Most people in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are in their 80s, 70s or 60s. We are just happy to be part of music that people tend to hold as part of their lives, and if they were to put us in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame it would be another incredible feat for Boyz II Men at a very young age.
Q. It seems like every 10 years or so there's a whole new crop of so-called boy bands. Today it's One Direction and The Wanted. Why do you think that is?
A. Everything has a resurgence. The fact is they come as fast as they go because, nowadays, it's easy for a boy bands to accomplish stardom based on the demographics of the world. You get one big boy band and the label says, "We need another one! We need another one!" Back in the day, the moniker boy band wasn't coined until six, seven years ago after us, when the Backstreet Boys came (along). We just had boys in our name. We were somewhat the progenitors of that.
Q. How do you guys go about choosing a set list?
A. We make sure that it makes sense, that it flows pretty good, that it has the old songs, some old, new songs, some borrowed songs, some blues songs. We want people to leave there with a memory. Not just remember Boyz II Men, but remember music itself and the songs that pull the heartstrings.
Q. Is there a boy band song that people think you recorded but didn't?
A. Yeah. All 4 One had a song "I Swear." Everybody swears that that's Boyz II Men, but it's not. Actually, if you Google Boyz II Men and our catalog comes up, that song will actually be within the catalog. It's not our song.
Q. Too bad you can't have the royalties.
A. (Laughs.) Yeah, you bet. We might want to re-record it.