Boyz II Men residency gives fans all the love they need
By Josh Bell
Nathan Morris is serious about Las Vegas. The singer, one-third of R&B vocal group Boyz II Men (along with Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris), looks at his group’s residency at The Mirage not just as another gig, but also as a chance to build on an important legacy. “I love the way that Frank Sinatra and Dean (Martin) and the whole Rat Pack kind of just took over Vegas like they were the staple,” he says. “They were not just the musicians; they were the personalities, and people loved them as people, not just musicians.”
Relating to their audience as people and not just as musicians is a big part of the Las Vegas show. “One thing that’s for sure is that 99 percent of what people know about Boyz II Men is the music, and they don’t know much about who we are, where we come from and how we’ve even been able to do what we do,” Morris explains. Sharing that story will mean sharing the group’s hits, including songs like “Motownphilly,” “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday,” “End of the Road” and “I’ll Make Love to You,” but it also means showcasing songs by other artists. “We’ll be performing songs that we grew up on, or that were very influential in creating who we are, and the sound of Boyz II Men,” Morris says.
The Boyz II Men story started back in the group’s native Philadelphia in the late 1980s, when the three current members, along with former member Michael McCary, got together to perform. “We weren’t even friends when we started this group,” Morris says. “We just loved the music. We loved the way we sounded. We sang together, and it felt good.” That musical bond has endured for more than 20 years, and it’s what motivates the group to continue performing, typically doing 100 to 110 shows a year. “Throughout it all, when things weren’t going well and when things were going well,” Morris says, “the common thread was always that we loved music and we loved to hear the way we sounded.”
Morris is grateful for the stability that a Las Vegas residency provides, in contrast to endless touring. “We’re a world-renowned group, so it allows people from around the world to come to that world destination, Las Vegas, to where our fans can now physically come to us, and we don’t have to always go to them,” Morris says.
While in Las Vegas, Morris plans to spend his down time playing poker and pursuing his love of photography, but he also hopes to make a larger impact on the city. “Obviously everybody knows about the Strip and all the things that you do there, but there are other communities,” he says. “There are urban areas that need help and support.” For Boyz II Men, being in Las Vegas is about more than just music; it’s about making a genuine, lasting difference.