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Boyz II Men sending out 'Love'

By Lisa Respers France, CNN
Boyz II Men is back with a new album of cover tunes, their second with "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson as producer.
Boyz II Men is back with a new album of cover tunes, their second with "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson as producer.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Boyz II Men have a new album of cover tunes, their second
  • "Love" features the R&B group singing love songs from various artists
  • The group will soon celebrate 20 years in the music industry
  • They hope to celebrate their anniversary with a double CD, reunion with former member
RELATED TOPICS
  • Boyz II Men
  • R&B
  • Music
  • Bonnie Raitt

(CNN) -- There's no doubt that Boyz II Men know a little something about love. The superstar R&B group even used the word as the title of their new album.

"Love" is their second project of cover tunes and also marks another go-round working with "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson, who was a producer on the successful "Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA."

The group covers a variety of love tunes, including Journey's "Open Arms," the Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris," and "In My Life" by the Beatles.

Boyz II Men clearly still loves performing, as they spend most of the year on the road thrilling fans with their classic hits like "End of the Road" and "I'll Make Love To You."

Members Wanya Morris and Nate Morris (fellow member Shawn Stockman was sick with the H1N1 virus) spoke with CNN about their latest musical endeavor, what music puts them in the mood and whether fans should expect a reunion with former member Michael McCary.

CNN: Why name the album "Love?"

Wanya Morris: The title embodies everything that Boyz II Men represents. Every album we have ever done has always had a representation of love.

We tried to reach and delve inside of this album and to not just go with the sound, but also the lyrical content that embodies that representation of love

CNN: Boyz II Men has been around for almost 20 years. How has the music business changed?

Nate Morris: A lot of people don't understand that music conforms to the day and times that it is in. It is a circular motion, but it never comes back exactly the same.

We believe that the soul, the understanding, of true music has kind of disappeared. There was a time early in the '70s and the '80s when we started getting into the computers and synthesizers that we started getting away from it then, too.

Right now, with the auto-tune and all of these different pro tools, we are kind of getting away from it again.

This album is the type of album that will hopefully try to steer some of those musical people back in the direction of true music.

CNN: There don't really seem to be any R&B groups out right now representing like Boyz II Men has in the past. Why do you think that is?

Wanya: Groups are hard to come by. A lot of times, when a group is put together by an entity or a manager, [the members] never really had aspirations of being in a group.

With our group, music put us together. We were not contrived by a manager. We loved the way we sounded together, even before we liked each other.

CNN: How has Boyz II Men changed?

Nate: We have definitely grown in more ways than one. We have children now, some of us wives and relationships. We're very big believers in learning and trying to gain as much wisdom as we can.

We've had some ups and downs in our careers, just like people have in their lives, and it's set in a situation mentally where we understand our position in life.

CNN: What's the biggest lesson you both have learned as entertainers?

Nate: To stay consistent. It's OK to move with the times, but stay consistent with who you are, not just because of who you are, but because of who your fans fell in love with.

We try to be different, but we try not to sway too far from who our fans know us to be because you can't gain those people back if you lose them.

CNN: What's the first single from the new album?

Wanya: The first single we are pushing for is "I Can't Make You Love Me," originally done by Bonnie Raitt. We wanted to stay true to our roots, and it's a very beautiful song. And with our sound, we gave it an R&B twist.

It's always been a favorite of ours, and we hope people will fall in love with it again.

CNN: Is it difficult to cover songs that are so beloved and have been hugely successful?

Nate: Oh yes. There are so many people that have listened to these songs and fallen in love with the song as it was originally performed.

We know that these songs have a fan base. We try to put our interpretation with how we think the song should be without swinging too far away from the solid concrete melody.

Wanya: Integrity is important. Just like someone doing "End of the Road." If they take it so far away from what people know, the fans want to know, "Why did they do that?"

CNN: Your music has set the mood for so many fans. What do you listen to when you want to get in the mood?

Wanya: Marvin Gaye, the Isley Brothers, anything with a nice feel.

Nate: Anything lovely and sexy. I always tell people that everybody's feelings about love are different.

It's funny because you take a language like English that only has one word to describe "love," while a language like Spanish has four or five. That gives you the understanding that love can mean so many different things to different people.

CNN: Any upcoming plans for an album of original material?

Nate: Late, late next year, we are planning on releasing a Boyz II Men 20th anniversary album, which we are hoping to be a double CD. There's a slim chance that our fourth member of the group will be back for that album.

 
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