Boyz II Men celebrated their 20th anniversary this week with friends, fans and Mickey Mouse.
Nate Morris, Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris were surprised onstage with a cake during their evening performance Monday at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Disney World.
After the presentation, the trio closed the show with “End of the Road,” the hit that spent a record-setting 13 weeks atop the pop charts back in 1992 and helped make Boyz II Men the most commercially successful R&B group of all time. Shawn, a judge on the NBC vocal competition “The Sing-Off,” was visibly emotional during the number; unable to finish his verse, he told the all-ages crowd, “Thank y’all so much,” before walking out of the spotlight to allow the audience and his group to continue the song.
The road for Boyz II Men has not been without its twists: After achieving unprecedented success in the early ’90s, Boyz was beset by record label struggles and health problems (Wanya developed a polyp on his vocal cords, then fourth member, Michael McCary, quit because of back problems) — not to mention the late ’90s explosion of boy bands like *NSYNC. In recent years, Boyz dropped three albums of cover songs, while one disc of new material, The Rehab, was distributed only in Japan.
But today’s chart-toppers are giving Boyz something of a resurgence: They appear a capella with Justin Bieber on “Fa La La,” from the heartthrob’s upcoming Christmas album, and the Boyz song “Uhh Ahh” is sampled heavily in “Countdown,” from Beyoncé’s latest album.
Meanwhile, Boyz II Men’s new project hit Walmart and digital retailers this week. The double-disc set, aptly titled Twenty, contains the trio’s first original music in five years, including “One More Dance,” written by Babyface, along with a CD of rerecorded classics like “On Bended Knee.”
The set debuted at #1 on the iTunes R&B/soul albums chart, showing that, while Boyz II Men isn’t new to this journey, they just might have quite a bit of road left ahead of them.
Watch the interview here.