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 to Yesterday."
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" (RealAudio excerpt).
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.