Twenty years since he first hit it big with Boyz II Men, Shawn Stockman is taking his music biz expertise to the judges’ table on NBC’s a capella singing competition The Sing-Off, joining Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles and host Nick Lachey to find the hottest new group.
“What I love is that I get to sit with good friends who are very knowledgeable about the business for two or three hours and talk about music — and get paid,” says Stockman with a smile. He remembers fondly the times when he and his Boyz bandmates would sing a capella in the Philadelphia subway, “because the acoustics were incredible. The harmonies would go on for miles. It wasn’t about money — that came later. It was the love of singing. And we see that in these artists. They love to sing.”
For Stockman, the TV gig is great fun but “just another element of what I already do in the business.” He’s still very much active with Boyz II Men, now down one man (Michael McCary left in 2003) to a trio that plays 150 shows a year. That means quite a bit of schedule-juggling every week. “It’s crazy,” declares Stockman, describing a recent week when he taped The Sing-Off, flew to China for a concert, and then came right back. Fortunately, he says, “I’m very good at sleeping on planes.”
To celebrate their twentieth anniversary, Boyz II Men will release 20, an album of ten new and ten re-recorded songs, that will hit shelves exclusively at Wal-Mart next month.
“It’s a little bit what people expect from us but a different interpretation of it, what we do within a modern template,” says Stockman, promising a tour to follow.
He acknowledges the difficulty of being away from his wife, eight-year-old twin sons and 18-month-old daughter when he tours, “But I’ve got a good partner in my wife. She holds it all down,” says Stockman, who reports that the boys love to sing and the baby “is dancing already. I already know where she’s going,” he says, and he’s fine with that. “If they decide to sing, great. All I can do is guide them. If they want to be garbage men, that’s great too. As long as they’re the best garbage men in the city, its all good!”
The Sing-Off premieres September 19 on NBC.
(Photo: Frederick M. Brown/GettyImages)