WEEKEND BEST BETS Boyz II Men promise love and emotion at Hanover Theatre
May 17, 2012
By Bonnie J. Toomey FITCHBURG SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE CORRESPONDENT
Boyz II Men will appear at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts at 8 tonight, crooning familiar R&B love songs of the '90s and some new ones. This marks their 20th year serenading the world with love songs, and heralds their first release in 10 years, "Boyz II Men Twenty" featuring Wanya Morris, Nate Morris and Shawn Stockman, under the label MSM Music Group/Benchmark Entertainment.
I reached Wanya Morris, the founding member and soulful second tenor of the trio, at his home by telephone shortly before he left to pick up one of his kids from school. The 38-year-old Morris is married and raising seven children.
"When they come they'll hear some old ones and some new. Some borrowed, some blue," Wanya said.
If there is one philosophy behind Boyz II Men, it would have to be "Love each other." From romantic love to a mother's love, each song embodies the theme behind the silky smooth voices filled with harmony. Why do they sing about love? The world needs it, especially now.
At tonight's show, "they'll find out what they love and fall in love all over again," he promised.
Wanya loves connecting with his kids, and one of the ways he does that is by chilling out with them at home in New Jersey.
"I like to play video games. I love watching Cartoon Network; it helps me keep my youthful qualities," he said.
When I asked the ages of his kids, he chuckled and pleaded the fifth, a father protective of his family's
privacy. The most important to Wanya is that his kids remember him as daddy.
"I try my best to be a good dad, make sure they know right from wrong, respect authority and their elders, and their parents. I want them to see what they want to be when they get older."
And as far as his children making the music biz a career like Dad? His advice came in a short and simple objection.
"No, don't do it. Make it a hobby -- in the beginning that's what it was. We were broke still doing it -- we loved (the music) first. I want them to have a skill and use what God gave them because they are good at it," he said.
"Music is everything to us. We all went to the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts. We loved how we sounded before we loved each other," Wanya said of himself, Sean and Nate.
His one regret comes from his early days as a student.
"I didn't work as hard as I have could have in high school," he said.
Boyz II Men has sold 60 million records and won four Grammy Awards. The guys also have nine American Music Awards, nine Soul Train Awards and three Billboard Music Awards. But Wanya's all-time special recognition came in January on Hollywood Boulevard, where people can see up close, as opposed to something placed on a wall or a shelf in the celebrity's living room.
Theirs was the 2,456th plaque on the Walk of Fame and the first of this year. It can be found near Motown artists like The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Miracles and the Temptations.
"Our star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame immortalizes us -- everybody can see it -- our kids can say, this is grandfather," he said.
And for tonight's performance, Wanya says everyone should "bring everything they can, dancing shoes and tissues -- it will be an emotional time."
Boyz II Men is the best-selling R&B group of all time and famous for hits like "End of the Road," "I'll Make Love to You" and "On Bended Knee."