Boyz II Men‘s Nathan Morris says that Justin Bieber‘s forthcoming Christmas album presented the perfect opportunity for the group to collaborate with the teen star.
“We always were thinking about trying to do something together, but we wanted to do something different, where it’s not just us on his album,” says Morris. “We are two different genres and age groups, so you gotta do something that makes sense, and the Christmas album just made sense.”
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The collaboration came together after Boyz II Men ran into Bieber and his manager a year and a half ago in a Los Angeles hotel. “We all hung out in the lobby for a little bit, and when we left, his manager was saying that that’s the biggest day of [Bieber’s] life, that we’re his favorite group,” recalls Morris. The group was recently contacted about collaborating on a track, which Morris says will be an original Christmas song and a “great record.”
“I used to [sic] listen to their music and practice the runs,” Bieber wrote on Twitter on Tuesday (Sept. 15) about recording with the group. “That is how I learned how to sing. Now I’m in the studio with them making music together… I’m honored and blessed. Thank you.”
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Boyz II Men know a thing or two about gaining stardom at a young age: the R&B stars recorded their 1991 debut album, “Cooleyhighharmony,” as teenagers, and quickly found worldwide success with hits like “Motownphilly” and “End of the Road.” Two decades later, Morris, Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris will celebrate their 20th anniversary by releasing “Twenty,” a double-album featuring 12 new songs as well as eight newly recorded updates on Boyz II Men classics like “I’ll Make Love to You” and “On Bended Knee,” on Oct. 25.
“For the last seven or eight years, we’ve been on the road touring,” says Morris. “What we’ve realized is that the origin of Boyz II Men is the classics that people know. They want to hear us sing new stuff, but when we’re done with that, they want to hear the classics… It just felt more well-rounded doing an album of new material and re-recording some of our older stuff.”
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The group released the album’s first single, the Charlie Wilson-assisted “More Than You’ll Ever Know,” last month. While Bieber’s Christmas album does not have a title or release date, Boyz II Men were happy to give the teen superstar some advice about young success before he releases his latest blockbuster CD.
“We always try to tell younger artists in the business to always be prepared for when things don’t go right,” says Morris. “Nothing lasts forever, and when you do get to a point when things start to change a little bit, if you’re mentally ready for it, you’ll be able to ride the roller coaster.”
Bieber seems to have taken the group’s advice to heart: after Boyz II Men posted on Twitter, “Remember what we talked about in the studio Lil bro,” the singer replied, “I’m not gonna forget.”