The Underlying Forces Behind Boyz II Men’s Success

Boyz II Men’s nine-time platinum album Cooleyhighharmony recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. But when the original four members of the Grammy Award-winning rhythm and blues group first started singing together, founding member Nathan Morris says the group dynamic was far from perfect.

“We started singing together before we were even friends,” he says. “We didn’t even like each other, didn’t even talk to each other. Over the years, we have learned to understand each other.”

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The four men—Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman and Michael McCary—worked to understand and respect each other’s individual talents. Nathan says that he now feels as if he is with family when touring with his bandmates. “We have spent more time together as a group than we have with our families.”

Despite ups and downs over the years (such as losing McCary from the group in 2003 due to chronic back problems from severe scoliosis as well as personal problems), the three remaining members of Boyz II Men stayed together.

“We’ve been through those times where the clubs weren’t filled, the phones weren’t ringing and the gigs weren’t coming,” Nathan says. “But we stuck it out.”

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And they’re thankful they did. The group recently had a residency at the Mirage in Las Vegas and won Musical Artist of the Year at the Casino Entertainment Awards in 2014.

One of the keys to the group’s success: humility. Boyz II Men never had a lead singer.

“We’ve done some things together we know we couldn’t have accomplished with any other group of people,” Stockman says. “We watched each other grow, shared a lot of intimate times and moments. That ultimate friendship [allowed] us to understand that this is rare.”

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This article appears in the March 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.


Scott Bedgood is a freelance writer and the author of Lessons from Legends: 12 Hall of Fame Coaches on Leadership, Life, and Leaving a Legacy. He lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife Sami.

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