Boyz II Men Returning, Less Boyz This Time But Still Presenting Some Favorite SoBoyz II Men, the rhythm and blues group, is performing in Seoul on Saturday. The organizer, Live Plus, expects 4,000 people at the 7 p.m. concert at the Olympic Park Stadium.
Boyz II Men made a cappella music － without instruments － popular in the early 1990s. Now songs such as "In the Still of the Night" and "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" evoke memories from 10 years ago. Since their first album, "Cooleyhighharmony" in 1991, they have released four others.
Fresh from touring Japan, Boyz II Men will be performing songs from their latest album, "Nathan, Michael, Shawn, Wanya," distributed by Universal Music in Korea last fall. This fifth album marks the first time the four singers have taken almost complete creative control of their work.
Boyz II Men brought their smooth vocals to Korea once before with a concert in 1997. "Many races can identify with their music, which is why they have a large fan base in Asia," an official at the organizers said. "A lot of black musicians are all about speaking up against white supremacy. Boyz II Men transcend both racial and geographical boundaries."
While their music may have universal appeal, the age group of their Korean fans tends largely to run from high school students to young professionals.
Even before appearing live here, Boyz II Men paved the way for Korean soul musicians such as Solid, a trio that made it big in the mid '90s, Park Jung-hyun and more recently Park Hwayobi and Park Yo-shin.
On the international stage, Boyz II Men were partly responsible for the revival of rhythm and blues music. While the four members of the band are no longer "boyz," their success has generated a series of "boy bands" such as 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.
Shawn Stockman, Wanya Morris, Nate Morris, who are not related, and Mike McCary met at a high school in Philadelphia and formed a group called Unique Attraction in 1988. With Michael Bivins as their manager, they negotiated a deal with Motown Records and changed their name to Boyz II Men.
After their first album, their popularity started to wane. Then the 1992 Eddie Murphy movie "Boomerang" which featured the Boyz II Men single, "End of the Road," created a sensation. Subsequent singles such as "I'll Make Love to You" in 1994 and "One Sweet Day" on which they collaborated with Mariah Carey in 1995, secured their position as the a cappella sensation of the 1990s. They were chosen to sing the U.S. national anthem at the closing ceremony of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
While they may not have captured the public's heart as completely since, they have been busy releasing albums and learning from collaborators such as Babyface, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Sean Combs, who is better known as Puff Daddy.
For more information about their Korean concert, call 02-573-0038, 02-1588-7890 or 02-538-3200. Tickets can be purchased over the Internet at www.ticketlink.co.kr or www.ticketpark.com.
by Joe Yong-hee