††† In 1985, Nate and a friend started a group. "The group originally had actually five members. I formed the group along with a gentlemen by the name of Marc Nelson, who was the fifth vocalist." He continued on by telling how the groups members where chosen. "I first asked Wanya to join the group, and then he and I became much closer. At first, Wan like he was really quiet, but once he was placed in the right spot, he became more talkative. Next, I picked up Shawn.† Up until Shawn got the solo in the choir, he was always quiet. After that, he opened up and people started talking about him and to him much more than ever before." Nate didnít bring Michael into the group until two weeks later. "I really hadn't hand placed Mike into the group, like I had done with Wan and Shawn. Mike was in the bathroom one day, and Shawn, Wan and myself were all singing a song called 'Can You Stand The Rain', by "New Edition." We liked singing there because the acoustics were great. Mike happened to add a bass part to the song that sounded good to us. When he asked to join the group, we made him follow us around and keep singing that note, until he grew on us. That's why here's here."
††† The members of the group would change constantly Nate recalls. "We had a lot of different people in the group.† At that time, there was about five people in the group, and then as the years went on and things, changed, every year someone would like, either leave the group for there own reason or sometimes we would put people in the group that were seniors and they would graduate and go to college and so and so and so and so, and then every year we would put new people in the group. Some years there would be four members, three members, six members, two members. Whatever. At first it was me and a guy named Mark, and then we had three other people we put in the group, and those three graduated and went to college. Then we put Wanya in, and then we picked up Shawn and then Mike, and then the other guy that was in the group decided he wanted to be a solo artist, so, these are the four that stayed together."
Every year a local radio station in Philadelphia holds a concert.
"In March of '89, we† attended a concert thrown
by a Philly radio station called Power 99FM, it was hosted by
Bell Biv DeVoe" Mike said. The group wanted to sneak
backstage in hopes of finding Michael Bivins the leader of Bell
Biv DeVoe, "We wanted the groups leader Michael Bivins to
hear us sing, and maybe help us get a record deal." Mike
said. So determined to get backstage the
group some how used only one backstage pass to sneek all four of them inside."We went to the concert and hung around the backstage door. This lady we saw had a lot of backstage passes around her neck, but could only give us one. We passed it back and forth until everyone got backstage" he confessed. "As soon as we got back there, Michael Bivins was just coming off the stage, and we asked him if we could sing for him. After hearing us sing one of our favorite songs, 'Can You Stand The Rain' a cappella, he was so impressed that he gave me his business card and told Nate to call him." "We talked to Michael for almost a year and a half before we actually did anything," Nate recalls, "A lot of people where like ya'll ain't got no record deal," but they where wrong
. After signing to Michael's record company "Biv Entertainment" he got the group a contract with Motown Records, and the rest is history. There debut album has sold over seven million copy's, winning over 15 different awards including: three Grammy's, three American Music Awards, five Soul Train Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, two† Awards, and one World Music Award. In '93 they broke Elvis's long standing record of 13 weeks at number one, with there song "End Of The Road." But in '94 the boyz topped themselves with there song "Ill Make Love To You" beating there own record and staying for 14 consecutive weeks. But there latest accomplishment has been with "One Sweet Day" a duet with Mariah Carey, lasting 16 weeks at number 1, and yet again broken there own record and set another obstacle to over come for the next album.
Here are the Boyz from Philadelphia...
Michael "Bass" McCary
†††† Michael was born on December 16, 1971. The tall, handsome, velvet voiced gentlemen is said to be so honest that it hurts. If you don't want to hear the truth, then you better not ask Mike. Brought up by a very loving and supporting mother made his life a little easier when he was younger "My family had to derive it's happiness from my mom and everything that she did to make us feel happy and secure."
††† Not to
say that Michael's childhood was not pleasant, but having
only one parent supporting the family brought some
un-surety to Mike as child "I would describe my
childhood as happy, but it was definitely not relaxed.
Since we were always struggling to make ends meet, it was
very difficult to be relaxed." Also being raised in
Logan, a high crime area, didn't help him to relax†
"Logan's one of the biggest crime areas in Philly.
It was kind of hard coming out everyday and going to
different parts of the city to sing while all your
friends are slingin' dope and doing all the things you
were trying to stay away from."
††† One memory that stand's out in Mikes mind is from his childhood. When a childish prank scared him for life, literally! If you look closely at a picture of Mike you will notice a small scar right between his eyes. You might think this was left from some traumatic event in his life, but in reality it was a violent mixture of Mashed Potatoes, Salisbury Steak and Gravy. "Many people wonder how I got the mark on my face. I was in Kinnerten Elementary School and one of my female cousins was playing around with me in the school yard. She shoved me and then ran into the school lunchroom. I got her back, though. I picked her up and put her in the trash. So, while I was sitting down eating my lunch, she threw her tray of food in my direction to get back at me, but the food scalded me. That explains the mark right between my eyes," he says. Michael remembers the day so clearly that he can even recall what the school was serving for lunch that day, "Lunch was Salisbury Steak with Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Vegetables."
††† When you
think of Mike, most people would think of a popular guy
who's calm, cool, and kinda laid back. But in high school
Mike remembers being teased and called names. When he was
attending the traditional high school and not the
performing arts, he use to be made fun of for being a
'nerd,' "As a teenager, I tended to get laughed at
in school because I was a nerd.† I was in honor roll
society, and I did the debate team for about a year. When
I was in traditional high school I always liked music.
Some people laughed and teased me because I wanted to
sing." When Michael changed schools, and went to the
Performing Arts the teasing stopped and the support he
needed to pursue his music career started. "When I
got into the High School For Creative and Performing
Arts, that kind of rude behavior stopped because everyone
in that school was doing music and art related
††† Michael looks forward to someday getting married and having a big family. Mike's looking for a girl who has a brain, someone who can hold her own in a verbal battle and also someone who has a big heart "I like a girl who's smarter than me, cause that's to be respected. I don't need anyone I have to guide at all times. If I'm with someone who's not really strong-minded and strong-tempered and strong-willed, then I cant be the best I can be. Her independence makes me stronger. So I'm looking for someone who's definitely smarter than me, really strong, warm compassionate and really understanding."
Shawn "Slim" Stockman
born on September 26, 1972.
Nathan 'Alex Vanderpool' Morris †
††† Nathan was born on June 18, 1971 in the South side of Philadelphia. Raised mainly by there mother, Nate, his two sisters, and brother had a hard struggle. When Nate was nine or ten, his parents got divorced and his father left. That caused very severe financial problems in the family. "Basically my mom couldn't support us on her limited income" he say's, "After pop left us, things at home just werenít what every kid wanted, we went through many situations." Although Nathan and his family had to struggle to get by, going to church regularly and singing in choirs helped him to strive harder for his goal, and believe in himself.
††† When it
came time to pick what high school he wanted to attend,
he hadn't even considered Performing Arts. Mr. William
Morrow was his junior high music teacher, he respected
and admired him very much. "He was the person who
kept me focused on what I wanted to accomplish in
music." His wife taught music classes in The School
For Creative And Performing Arts, "Mr. Morrow's wife
made me feel guilty enough to go, and so I went."
"It was hard for Nate to get adjusted to the new
school. "When I first got there, the transition was
kind of difficult but I eventually adapted to it.†
The difficulty was the atmosphere in general. It was a
small school which only had about two hundred guys and
†††† Most people seem to think that fame can change a person's image or personality, for some people that may be true, but Nate strongly denies that rumor and insists that he has not been changed." Most people who know us always worry about the guys in the group changing as we become more famous, but I think what we see more is that the people around us change." In such a short amount of time the groups popularity has risen an extreme amount causing Nate and the group members to feel some pressure about each project they do "Although our first album has sold over 7.5 million copies, I still feel that some people aren't taking our talent seriously. I also know that a lot of new groups fall into the trap where the public doesn't really think that they will be around. That's why it's so important to us to keep doing the same thing, so that people understand that we're not just a passing fancy." †
Wanya 'Squirt' Morris †
††† Wanya was born on July 29, 1973. His mother Carla Morris and father Dallas Thornton never married and broke up when he was young. Wanya has one brother Keri, and two sisters Serene and Dorothy.
Ever since Wanya was young his family has encouraged him
to sing, but in the start Wanya had his mind set on
drawing "Everybody basically wanted me to sing, but
at the same time, they wanted me to have something to
fall back on. That wasn't the idea that I had. I wanted
to draw, and actually drew for a little while. I drew the
logo and tour jackets for the last Boyz II Men tour. I
also created the logo for our new album, II, using some
creative suggestions from my brothers. Eventually, my
only career goal was to sing, and with the exception of
art, I didn't want to do anything else."
††† Luckily the relationship between Wanya's mother and her boyfriend ended and so did his vicious beatings.
††† Ever since Wanya was young, he has always had a knack for getting people's attention. "When I was young, I was basically a ham.†† If anyone ever asked me to sing, I would just sing. It didn't matter if I was in public or not, I would just come out and sing anything they requested." From child to adult, Wanya feels he hasn't changed that much when it comes to his personality.† "Basically, now I'm still the same way, except, I'm not as much as a ham as I use to be, because I know better now. I have been taught by people in the entertainment industry not to sing when I'm not on stage. I have to maintain a certain mystique in public and never show anybody everything I've got at one time," he finished.
Wanya has always liked to have fun, especially in High
School, "I would do all kinds of things to make the
school year fun." But that eventually paid a toll on
his grades. "The crazy thing was, after awhile, I
played so much that my homework didn't even matter to me
anymore. By the time I found out that I should have been
doing my homework, my grades were so bad that it was too
late for me to care." After Wanya got expelled from
the High School For Creative and Performing Arts, he
††† After Wanya finished High School he never had a plan to go to College, "I never wanted to go to college, but my family wanted me to. I was watching TV one night and Eddie Murphy told an interviewer the reason why he didnít go to college is because people use to always say that he needed something to fall back on. When people would say that, it made him feel as though he was setting himself up for failure. Since entertainment is something that he wanted to do for the rest of his life, he didn't want to think about failure. That meant a lot to me, and I agree with his reasoning", he said.
††† The international success of Boyz II Men has helped point Wanya's life in a more positive direction. "When we got Boyz II Men up and off the ground everything in my life looked up. The hard life that I lived before, makes our success feel extra good to me."
Note: This is taken from the Boyz II Men Biography