On Bended Knees: Boyz II Men (L to R): Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman, Nathan Morris (Photo: ManhattanSociety.com/Gregory Partanio)
The old and the new were on display at Manhattan's Porsche Design Space when 90s R&B stalwarts Boyz II Men held an intimate listening party and live performance Monday (Sept. 19) to preview their new album "Twenty," due on Oct. 25 (with physical copies available exclusively at Walmart).
"Twenty" was played in its entirety before a sharp-dressed crowd of print, social, and entertainment press over wine and hors d'oeuvres, prepared by celebrity chef Angelo Sosa. Just moments after their sudden arrival, the trio treated its guests to a near- a cappella performance (save for a few piano brushes) of new single "More Than You'll Ever Know" and old standbys like "I'll Make Love To You" and "On Bended Knee," which will be reworked on the album's second disc.
"There was no schedule, no set list, and honestly, no rehearsal" explained manager Joe Mulvihill. "Just a piano and mics... the evening just unfolded naturally." The group's management, along with its public relations team, The Chamber Group (reps Sherlen Archibald and Vanessa Wheeler were on hand), appeared genuinely enthused over Boyz II Men's rejuvenation. Recent successes include the launch of their charity, The Boyz II Men House, the release of their mobile ap, and their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Monday night proved that Boyz II Men remain committed to leisurely, slowdance-ready R&B, both live and on record. During the performance, Shawn Stockman observed, "The art of the ballad has seemed to dissipate. The slow songs [on the radio] aren't even slow songs!"
Following the performance, Chamber Group publicist Vanessa Wheeler was eager to hype her company's role in this second wave of Boyz II Men, referencing past success with last summer's "I Am Still Music" Tour (headlined by Lil' Wayne, featuring Rick Ross, Keri Hilson, Far East Movement, and Lloyd). Other current projects for the NYC-based Chamber team include Drake's new record, "Take Care," and rapper Wax, a recent Def Jam signee whose name was also on the lips of Tebukozza Babumba, representing the SoHo venue S.O.B.'s.