Bass singer Michael McCary literally wandered into Boyz II Men. When the
group’s other members were harmonizing in their high school bathroom,
McCary walked in and added his deep voice to the boys’ three-part harmony.
Since that fateful day, McCary has been part of the best-selling, Grammy
Award-winning R&B quartet.
Michael Shawn McCary was born Dec. 16, 1972, in Philadelphia. Although
his biological father’s last name was Williams, Michael took the name of
the man who, along with his mother, raised him.
McCary was an honor-roll student who attended the High School of Creative
and Performing Arts in Philadelphia, where he met Shawn “Slim” Stockman,
Nathan “Alex Vanderpool” Morris and Wanya “Squirt” Morris.
First known as Unique Attraction, the vocal quartet renamed itself Boyz
II Men, after the New Edition song “Boys to Men.” They performed at talent
shows in New Jersey and Delaware before meeting New Edition/Bell Biv DeVoe
singer Michael Bivins at a show in Philadelphia.
Impressed with the Boyz’ sound, Bivins signed them to his Biv Entertainment
Company, licensed through Motown. In 1991 the Boyz released Cooleyhighharmony,
which went to #1 on the Billboard R&B albums chart and #2 on the
Billboard 200 albums chart.
At 9 million copies sold, it became the biggest-selling album in history
by an R&B group. Its massive hit single was “End of the Road,” but the
LP also included the hits “Motownphilly” and “It’s so Hard to Say Goodbye
Boyz II Men’s second album, II (1994), was even more popular. Its
record-setting single, “I’ll Make Love to You,” helped the LP sell 11
million copies. The single spent 14 weeks at #1, tying the all-time record.
The Boyz themselves knocked the single off the top of the chart with their
next release, “On Bended Knee.”
In 1995 Boyz II Men teamed with pop-soul diva Mariah Carey for “One Sweet
Day,” a single that broke the band’s own record, staying at #1 for 16
weeks. The band’s most recent album, Evolution (1997), entered at
#1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and featured the #1 pop single
“4 Seasons of Loneliness” as well as the top-10 single “A Song for Mama”
In addition to Boyz II Men’s amazing chart success, the group has won the
1992, 1993 and 1995 Grammy Awards for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or
Group with Vocal.
Boyz II Men launched their own Groove clothing line last year and staged
a major U.S. tour, featuring opening acts such as Dru Hill and Destiny’s
Child. They also performed at the all-star Jingleball ’98 at New York’s
Madison Square Garden.
On the soundtrack to the 1998 film “Prince of Egypt,” the Boyz contributed
the a cappella track “I Will Get There.”
Last month the Recording Industry Association of America named Boyz II
Men the best-selling R&B group of the century.
The Boyz are reportedly contributing a song called “So Amazing” to the
upcoming Denzel Washington film “The Hurricane.”
McCary manages another Philadelphia vocal group, Voices of Theory. He
also had roles in the 1997 films “Hoodlum” and “How to Be a Player.”
Other birthdays Thursday: Tony Hicks (Hollies), 56; Benny Andersson (ABBA),
53; Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), 50; Stephen Irvine (Lloyd Cole & the Commotions),
40; Lars Ulrich (Metallica), 36; and Christopher Thorn (Blind Melon), 31.