Interview: Boyz II Men don’t compromise
Having been an RnB powerhouse for over twenty years, Boyz II Men released their album, Collide, in 2014 and are now heading to Australia. Annastasia Robertson grabbed vocalist Shawn Stockman for a chat:
Firstly, I just wanted to thank you on a personal note for your music over the decades Boyz II Men have been around. If you had to pick the most memorable experience over the years, what would it be?
Thank you! That is such a tough question… We have had so many amazing experiences over the years, but I think every night when we perform is a new and memorable experience. I always remember the fans, how they react to each song and feeding off their energy.
‘End of the Road’ has been around for 23 years now and is still an absolute tune – what is the formula for producing such an enduringly popular song?
It really comes down to a core philosophy- as artists, we are committed to making timeless music, we are willing to work hard, and everything we do is for the fans. That’s how we’ve always approached writing or singing a song and I think the industry and the fans have responded to that.
You guys are undoubtedly the kings of RnB – how is the genre different now to when it was when you first started out?
There has definitely been a shift in the sound of R&B today. Back in the 90s it was great when R&B took off in mainstream music, we had the right sound and the right vibe at the right time. One concern we have with current R&B – and current mainstream music in general – is that emphasis is so much on one hit single now, with a good beat, rather than a cohesive album with quality lyrics and melodies. We’ve always been about making music that withstands the test of time- and that includes universal lyrics that resonate with fans. We want to make great songs and great albums- not just throwaway singles. We don’t compromise or just go with what’s popular because we know that our fans deserve quality music.
Who are your all-time favourite artists?
I love all different kinds of music, but I would have to say Prince is definitely one of my favourite artists.
And who are some new favourites?
There is a lot of great new artists and we have even had the honour of working with some of them. We really enjoyed working with Justin Bieber and think he is an amazing young talent, and we just saw Bruno Mars at our show at The Mirage in Las Vegas where we have our residency and are really impressed with his new music!
Could you talk us through some of the creative processes you undertook when producing your new record ‘Collide’.
Collide is a landmark album for us because it features some new stylistic elements, which made it a lot of fun to work on. We played around with different sounds and used what we thought our fans would enjoy and respond to.
How did creating and recording ‘Collide’ differ to that of your first album ‘Cooleyhighharmony’?
Collide is truly a collison of different sounds, styles and genres…It fuses rock, pop and funk with classic R&B. It was very different than creating Cooleyhighharmony as we now know what our fans are looking for we were able to explore a different sound, but give them what they love.
You’ll be here in Australia in October, playing shows around the country – what can we expect from your live performances?
Fans can expect a mix of new tracks from our latest album Collide, and all of the old hits that everyone knows and can sing along to. We love Australia, so we’re really looking forward to this show!
How are you preparing for your tour?
Well we have been touring a lot prior to heading to Australia so our vocals are all warmed up!
Where is your all-time favourite place to play, and why?
I love playing at The Mirage in Las Vegas where we currently have our residency! It is a lot of fun as Vegas is such a tourist destination so we get to meet with fans from across the globe.
Who influences you as a person, and as a musician?
Our fans are definitely our biggest influences as musicians. We truly love and appreciate all the support they have given us over the years. As a person, my family influence me, as they are the most important people in my life.
If you weren’t a musician, you’d be…
I honestly can’t imagine being anything else!
Boyz II Men have broken Billboard records, had multiple number 1’s, won Grammys, been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, so what’s next for you to conquer?
We are currently working on the “Doo-Wop Project” to share the story of doo-wop and its impact on all genres of music and can’t wait to share it with the fans!
BOYZ II MEN Australian October Tour Dates:
3rd: Perth – Metro City
5th: Adelaide – Thebarton Theatre
6th: Melbourne – Palais Theatre
8th: Brisbane – Eatons Hill
9th: Gold Coast – Jupiter’s Casino
10th: Sydney (City) – Big Top
12th: Canberra – Royal Theatre
15th: Sydney (West) – Evans Theatre Penrith Panthers
Tickets from: http://bit.ly/BoyzIIMenTix
Interview by Annastasia Robertson.