Produced on June 18, 1971, Nathan Morris helped put Philadelphia back on the map for music starting in the late 1980s, when this high school pupil founded the all-boy group Boyz II Men. Morris and three other vocalists became known for harmonizing flawlessly, as well as for topping the charts using their ballads, R&B songs and dance melodies.
The girls of Salt N Pepa model together with the group Boyz II Men using their Grammys in the 37th annual Grammy Awards in La, Ca., Wednesday, March 1, 1995. Salt N Pepa won for rap duet or group performance, and Boys II Men won for best rhythm and blues record and for greatest duet or vocal performance. The trio, from left, are, Cheryl James, Sandy Denton and Dede Roper. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
His family struggled financially after his dad left when Morris was about 10. The child discovered comfort in the church choir and playing trumpet. When Morris was in the fourth grade, a vocal teacher found his singing possibility and gave him private lessons. She and Morris’s mother nudged him into auditioning for the Philadelphia High School for the Creative & Performing Arts. After belting out ancient tunes in Italian and German, he was accepted almost instantly.
One day in history course, a tired Nathan Morris started singing loudly. Fellow pupil Marc Nelson shortly joined in. The twosome immediately bonded and made a decision to form the group Boyz II Men in 1988. Vocalists Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman and Michael McCary signed on also. The fivesome got their big break in 1989, when they captured the attention of vocalist and music producer Michael Bivins at his Bell Biv DeVoe concert. Bivins, once of New Edition recognition, offered them a deal. All were on board except Nelson, who bowed out.
The quartet released their debut album, Cooleyhighharmony, in 1991.
Though McCary left the group because of scoliosis in 2003, the remaining members carried on. Their last two albums were made by Randy Jackson.