Boyz II Men on Kobe, love and what’s next

Boyz II Men PHOTO: Jerry Metellus

This Friday, Boyz II Men return home to Philadelphia for a performance at The Met — just in time for Valentine’s Day. The past few weeks have been extra busy for the powerhouse trio, as they’ve stepped up to the plate to honor fallen hometown hero, Kobe Bryant, performing a soul-stirring tribute to him at the Grammys as well singing the national anthem during a special ceremony for him at The Staples Center.

“I still haven’t gotten over it. He was a Laker for sure, but he was brought up in the soil I’m from,” says Shawn Stockman, who along with Nathan Morris and Wanya Morris, make up Boyz II Men. “We all knew Kobe and watched him grow. The world lost a diamond.”

As far as memories with Bryant, playing basketball with the legend is something one doesn’t forget.

“I remember playing in a charity basketball game with Kobe, right before he went in the draft. He did some trick pass to me and the ball hit me right in the face. I haven’t played basketball since,” Stockman recalls with a laugh.

Boyz II Men
Shawn Stockman calls singing and performing “his sanctity.” PHOTO: Austin Hargrave

While Philly still nurses a broken heart this Valentine’s Day due to Bryant’s passing, Boyz II Men’s concert is sure to provide sweet relief in the form of heart-felt harmonies that soar into the stratosphere.

With a long list of hits firmly rooted in the subject of love, it’s impossible to not be moved. From “I’ll Make Love to You” to “On Bended Knee” to “50 Candles” to “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” there’s a Boyz II Men song for all of your feelings. Speaking of love, how is it that love songs never get old?

“Because love is the fifth element,” Stockman says. “We all require it. It gives us purpose and hope. It allows us to dream and manifest those dreams. It makes us our best selves.”

Stockman also points out that despite being known for their ballads, we should expect a lot of energy from their show on Friday.

“It’s so funny talking to people [afterwards] and them being so surprised at how much energy is in our show,” he says. “I hope people don’t expect to be ‘balladeered’ to death.”

That of course, would be very unlikely — especially when Boyz II Men is doing the balladeering. But with their packed touring schedule and nightly vocal gymnastics, how do they stay centered when giving so much to their fans?

“Sometimes we’re just traveling all day,” Stockman reveals. “Other times I’m in my room playing ‘Call of Duty’ or my guitar. I turn every room into my man cave.”

Luckily, work doesn’t feel grueling at all when you love what you do.

Boyz II Men
Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men perform at The Met this Friday. PHOTO: Austin Hargrave

“I’m actually blessed to have a job I love,” Stockman says. “Singing and performing is my sanctity. It’s the only place where I feel the freest.”

When he’s in Philly, Stockman has a few favorite places to hang out.

“I like going to South Street,” he says. “Center City has really nice cigar lounges and restaurants, where I can chill with some friends, smoke a stogie and have a glass of Macallan.”

And what’s next for Boyz II Men? While we’d all love to hear some new songs, the group’s latest venture may serve as a smooth accompaniment to their music — a line of wine called “Harmony.”

“We’re in the wine business now,” Stockman reveals. “I’m extremely excited about it because they all taste fantastic.”

If you go: Boyz II Men, Friday, Feb. 14, The Met Philly, 858 N. Broad St., themetphilly.com

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