Music in the nineties gave birth to many groups but one in particular that never goes unnoticed and is perhaps the most memorable is Boyz II Men. They were a group that introduced an a cappella style of soulful doo-wop in their music which was different and refreshing because no other R&B/Pop group was singing and performing that way. The WhatItDo had the wonderful opportunity to catch up with one of the members of the group, Shawn Stockman, who also happens to be a judge on NBC’s “The Sing-Off.” Boyz II Men’s new album just dropped yesterday and Shawn tells us WhatItDo with the album as well as his thoughts on being a judge on “The Sing-Off.”
TWID: What should we expect from your new album dropping today (Monday, Oct. 24)?
Shawn Stockman: It’s about history and not meaning that in a presumptuous way but just literally like it’s history. It’s 20 years encompassed in one record. It’s a double CD that features the first Boyz II Men, the classics, but just the songs that people know us most for. We have those on one disc and we re-recorded them and added a little twist and flavors here and there. Not too much because we didn’t want to piss anybody off who like the originals. And on another CD we have 12 original, brand new Boyz II Men records and this is something that we haven’t done in about nine years, so people will actually get a chance to hear new music from us and just where we are musically. We’ve grown a lot vocally. We think that we’ve gotten a lot stronger, and it’s just good music. We always try to make music that people can apply to their everyday lives. Music is practical. At least it should be. And we try not to make it too hard. We try not to make it too intricate, because we feel like a lot of times when it comes to love and relationships, the best way to say it or talk about it is singing so everybody understands it.
TWID: You’ve been a judge from the beginning. What do you love most about being a judge on “The Sing-Off”?
Shawn Stockman: I’m not going to sit here and lie to you and tell you that I don’t learn something from these groups and from these artists. I learn so much musically. I learn how far you can take music. I learn how far you can go with music and ideas and the possibilities just by listening to them. It’s inspirational in the sense where I’m taking mental notes, watching them, and listening to them. Being still an active musician, you can’t help but to be inspired by sound, about learning, and understanding – just getting more information to become a little bit smarter than what you were before.
TWID: Do you think that this genre of a cappella music has potential to dominate the Billboard charts?
Shawn Stockman: I hope so, because the art form of a cappella deserves it and these kids deserve it. And I’m not just saying this because I’m part of this show. I might be a little biased but the truth is that these kids work harder than any other singing vocal competition groups or shows or whatever that’s out there. And that’s just the truth. It’s one thing to sing and dance but to sing and dance without any instrument, it’s harder. It’s a different discipline. It’s a side of your brain that not too many people have. And these guys do that. These kids, these older gentlemen and women and things of that nature, they do all of it without any help. It’s just them and their vocals and that in itself, technically, it is amazing. And that’s what sets them apart from anybody else. I’ll put it this way. I’ll put them up against any artist from any of those other shows. No disrespect. But the bottom line is that I’ll do that and we’ll start off with music and then at any given point the music will cut of and we’ll see who can continue the show.
Catching up with Stockman was a joy in and of itself and to listen to a seasoned musician who’s been in the music game for over 20 years was amazing. With a new album released and being a judge on “The Sing-Off”, Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman says, ”This is the good stuff and I appreciate all those that are a part of our journey.”
Article Written by: Elizabeth Lavulo
*Photos courtesy of Sony Pictures Television / Lewis Jacob
*YouTube video courtesy of BoyzIIMenVevo