‘SuperFest’: Boyz II Men reveal their keys to success and longevity in the industry

The following is a transcript of the video shown featuring John Kelley and Boyz II Men. The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Following the “Byron Allen Presents The Comedy & Music SuperFest,” Allen Media Group’s John Kelley spoke with Boyz II Men about the R&B group’s resilience and success. The variety show, which was filmed in February, is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. ET Monday (tonight) on theGrio Cable Network.

Below is a transcript of the conversation.

John Kelley [00:00:00] So, gentlemen, tell me. Coming up, you guys knew all about variety shows and being a part of that. Talk about being a part of “Byron Allen’s Music & Comedy Superfest.”

Shawn Stockman [00:00:08] Yeah, this is an honor, man. It’s great that he even considered us. Yeah, we’ve known him a long time and we’ve seen him develop and grow into the entrepreneur and, you know, the mogul that he is – practically what he’s always been. He’s just just made the whole thing come to fruition.

And, you know, again, it’s always nice to be considered for something as special as this. We love to perform and we love to perform in front of crowds that appreciate our music. So this whole situation sets up just a beautiful platform for us to go out and be ourselves.

And that’s always the best performances. When we’re able to kind of be loose. There’s already stress enough with the television, with the lights and the production and all the other stuff. So it’s nice that Byron, you know, made us feel at home. So we’re able to kind of do our job and do it in a way where we feel comfortable.

Shawn Stockman, far right, details Boyz II Men’s experience performing (credit: theGrio)

Kelley [00:01:00] Legends in this game, could you’ve ever dreamt that it would be this and you’d still be going strong today?

Nathan Morris [00:01:05] No, I think that’s part of the reason why it is going the way it has. Because none of us really – I honestly say we just didn’t take it seriously. The only thing we took serious was singing, sounding good, being the best singers we could be. Everything else was just extra. So it’s like every day it was always us focusing on that and everything else went on around us. So we just really didn’t take it serious. Music was the only thing we took seriously.

Kelley [00:01:28] Tell people about the work because you guys make it look smooth and easy when you’re up there, but talk about the work that goes into it because this doesn’t happen by accident.

Stockman [00:01:36] Well, I was just going to say, the work actually comes with actually doing the job in real time. Sometimes you get your most out of your job by actually performing is almost like a basketball player. You can practice and, you know, do shootarounds and suicides and all that other stuff all you want. But the real test as far as like how well you do your job is when you’re on that court and when you are in front of people.

And I think what made us, I guess you could say, kind of well-oiled machines, as we humbly call ourselves, is because of constant repetition. We’ve done this time and time and time again and in all types of conditions, in all types of circumstances. And that’s what I think keeps – iron sharpens iron, so to speak.

When you’re in those positions to perform in any situation, then this comes easy to you. It’s almost like when you hear about like when Denzel Washington goes back to Broadway and things like that, they go back to Broadway just to keep their brain sharp, to keep their skill set high, because that’s a different level of commitment and a different level of pressure. And you keep the flame turning.

So I think a lot of why we do what we do at the level that we do it, is because we constantly do it and we put ourselves in different environments just to test it.

Kelley [00:03:01] Can you fellas do me a favor? Take me back to the origin. Do you remember when you first got together and that magic started happening?

Morris [00:03:08] Yeah. We were in high school. Funny, because I wound up going to his high school because my mom wanted me to go there. I wanted to play football. So I got to a school and was just kind of bored because I didn’t have any sports. So I started singing because there’s just nothing else to do so we’d just sing in the hallways and bathrooms.

John Kelley asks the R&B group Boy II Men about their performance at Superfest (credit:theGrio)

Once we all got together, our other member, Mike, was the last guy to join. So it was like we were in the bathroom singing one day and we just heard him add a bass part from way on the other side of the bathroom. So when he came out was like, “Well, sing it again.”

So that’s kind of how he got into the group. But again, like I said, it wasn’t something that we really took serious. It was just after class or even sometimes during class, we’d go out in bathroom to just sing and just have fun.

And, you know, when the record deal and everything came around, it was just like, okay, well, we’re just going to continue to do the same stuff that we do because this is what we love to do. And it’s fun and it’s easy and we just continued to do it.

But I mean, that whole thing early on was special because like I said, it just wasn’t something that any of us thought what we were looking for. We just enjoyed hearing each other sing, trying to figure out parts and, you know, “Oh that was dope, do that again,” that kind of thing. And it was never really just, “let’s make a group and be famous.” That was not even close to the thing.

Wayne Morris [00:04:28]: So we actually thought that when, Nate graduated or, you know, everybody graduated, that it would be over or Shawn and I will probably, you know, do what Nate did, which is bring, you know, other people in.

Morris [00:04:42] Because I was in the year before them. So it’s like, you know, once I graduated, they were still there. But once that happened was when we met Mike. So they were actually – Shawn was just coming out, Wayna was still and I was out of school so it was kind of up in the air. But once the album thing came in, it’s kind of what kept us together. Because like you said, it probably would have just broke off into different stuff. But we went in the studio to start recording records, and by the time he graduated, we were we were running.

Kelley [00:05:06] I could to talk to you guys all night. I think you have a performance to do, so I’m going to let you cats get to work here. I appreciate you.

“Byron Allen Presents The Comedy & Music SuperFest” will be available for streaming Tuesday on Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku and other platforms.

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