In the 1990s, the Boyz II Men were the youngest vocal group in the music industry. Singers from Philadelphia brought their loud vocals to radio stations everywhere and set the blueprint for the boy bands that would follow them at the turn of the century. But Boyz II Men themselves had a special connection to New Edition, one of the male vocal groups before them.
Boyz II men’s career debut
Michael McCurry, Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman first met each other at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. Vanya was the only freshman who sang in the school choir when he joined the group, while Michael joined the group one day after reconciling in the bathroom.
After performing at their school’s Valentine’s Day party in 1989, the Boyz II Men decided to see how far they could take their star power. They snuck into a concert put on by local radio station Power 99 at the Philadelphia Civic Center with plans to find local rap icon Will Smith backstage and perform for him, and hopefully be joined by a powerful record executive.
However, instead of meeting Smith, she ended up crossing paths with Michael Bivins, a singer and member of New Edition.
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Bivins appeared in a 2021 episode of Netflix’s series it’s the pope To discuss Boyz II Men’s Rise to Success. “I wasn’t really Discover them,” said Bivins earnestly. “I think [sneaking in was] There is a part of wanting and wanting to see and hear everything.”
“Whatever the new version was at the time, everyone was going to sign up,” entertainment journalist Kelly L. Carter said. “It would have been nearly impossible to proceed the way they did without getting the co-mark of that initial new version, as the sound that defined urban radio at the time.”
After the members of Boyz II Men found Bivins backstage at a concert, they began singing for him, and did not stop until they were surrounded by an audience, including the performers. Which included artists like Paula Abdul, Keith. Sweat, and Cherrell.
Boyz II Men was a big fan of the new version
“I thought they looked good, and I wasn’t going to tell them they looked better than us,” Bivins laughed. “I think I was just being nice and number them the only ones I knew by heart.” Boyz II Men member Nathan Morris called Bivins every night for several weeks, insisting that he could manage the group.
“We were always big fans of the new version,” Morris said in old footage from the group’s early days. “In high school we listened to them. They were like modern-day temptations to us, so they’re the ones we looked up to.”
Bivins appeared in the same clip, and admitted in the documentary that if it weren’t for Morris’ determination, Bivins would never have become a record executive.