Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men discusses his latest single, debut solo album, working with Foo Fighters and more
Shawn is looking forward to doing a lot of solo shows and really cut his teeth in that realm after three decades of work with Boys II Men.
After an illustrious career spanning three decades with four-time Grammy Award-winning R&B and soul trio Boyz II Men, singer Shawn Stockman has finally decided that it's time to branch off into a solo career as well. Stockman teased his debut solo project last week (July 27) with the first single, 'Feelin Lil Som’n'. The single (which you can listen to below) has been described as a "roseate, hood-sophisticated, declaration of love backed by a slow riding groove; a modernized version of what Shawn and his music have always represented." Shawn says he drew inspiration for the song from his past hits, contemporary songs across many genres, and the last person who got him Feelin Lil Som’n: his wife.
'Feelin Lil Som’n' is Shawn Stockman’s first release with SRG Records and its partnership with SRG-ILS Group, a leading music company noted for embracing new technologies that support artists and labels in recording and publishing. “Shawn is an amazing man,” says CEO Claude Villani. “It has been my pleasure to get to know him and work closely with him. As a musician, he’s multi-faceted; an incredible vocalist, outstanding guitar and keyboard player, and a brilliant songwriter. The SRG/ILS Group is very proud to be able to release such a diverse and thoughtful album. "Feelin Lil Som’n" is going to wow a lot of his longtime fans and create many, many new ones."
As a member of Boyz II Men, the best-selling R&B group of all-time, Shawn is known for the international smash hits 'Motownphilly,' 'End Of The Road,' 'I'll Make Love To You,' and 'One Sweet Day'. Outside of the group, the accomplished lyricist, composer, arranger, and musician has collaborated with artists including Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Tank, and Johnny Gill. In 1996 Shawn had his first solo hit with 'Visions of Sunset' from the 'Mr. Holland's Opus' soundtrack, a film starring Richard Dreyfuss. Last year, Shawn surprised fans by providing backing vocals on the latest Foo Fighters album, 'Concrete and Gold.' In addition to his music work, Shawn is a television personality as well, most notably as a judge on the popular competition series 'The Sing Off', which ran for five seasons on NBC.
Shawn continues to tour regularly with Boyz II Men. “I love performing with my guys! I will do that till I can’t anymore. I think we’ll eventually do another record. Till then, I’ll be holding it down for the brand I helped build and maintain.”
Meaww had the opportunity to have a brief chat with Shawn via e-mail where apart from discussing his latest single, he also divulged some lesser known details about his upcoming solo album. Simply titled 'shawn' with a small 's', the album will comprise straight-from-the-heart love songs. As Shawn puts it, they're "songs that the brotha from work can play for his woman after the day is done." Read the full interview below, where Shawn also talks about a possible release date, working with the Foo Fighters, and more.
Congratulations on your new single "Feelin Lil Som’n”. You’ve said that the song is inspired by your wife. Could you tell us a little about how you composed the track?
Shawn Stockman: Thank you. I approach the lyrics to a song by not dictating what I want to write but what the track dictates to me. It’s about how any man would feel if he met the woman he wanted to spend his life with. Yet, the backdrop is a dope beat created by Tim Kelly. The groove chose the lyrics I wrote. And I just obeyed.
You’ve also said that you’ll continue to perform and tour with Boyz II Men. What prompted you to branch off with a solo project?
This is something I always wanted to do. Just never was the right time in the past. So when the head of the label, Claude Villani presented me with the opportunity, I took it. It felt like it was finally the right time.
“Feeling Lil Som’n” is the lead single off your upcoming solo album. How many tracks are on the album? Does the album have a title yet?
The title of the album is simply, “shawn”, with a small “s”. It’ll be about 11-12 tracks. We’re still figuring that out.
When can we expect the album to drop? Will there be more singles to preview it?
Right now it’s slated for October. But I want it to release when it feels best to release it. It’s not necessarily about when but if we’ve done enough to ensure the people have been made well aware that it’s coming.
The sound and production both seem tangential to your work with ‘Boyz II Men’ and is clearly different from the group’s work. How is writing for your solo record different from working with the Boyz?
BIIM is my group, and the sound of the group I was involved with creating. So there will always be nuances of that in everything I write. The great thing about this and the main difference with this effort is that it was just me in the studio. Sometimes, literally just me. Me, my drum machine and my guitars. So everything you hear comes solely from my mind.
Do we get to see any collaborations on the album? Who produced the album?
I did one collab with Brian McKnight who we co-wrote a dope record. A sexy slow grind type joint, called “heartbeat”. Outside of myself, I have Tim Kelly, Antonio Dixon, and Raphael Saddiq as the producers in the album.
What’s the idea behind the album? Is there a particular feel or message that you’re particularly looking to target
With this album, I just wanted to create love songs. Songs that the brotha from work can play for his woman after the day is done, or if you’re in your car and you wanna hear something that just feels good. It’s for the ladies that are at work and they just wanna hear something they can groove to with their girlfriends. It’s music for those “9-to-5er” couples!
Will you be touring separately apart from Boyz II Men in support of the album?
That’s the plan. I’ll definitely be performing to support the record because I just love to perform. But It all depends on if there’s enough demand for me to do it on a consistent basis.
You collaborated with Foo Fighters on the title track of their 2017 album ‘Concrete and Gold’. What was it like working with Dave Grohl and company?
It was dope! I’ve always loved heavy rock music, and the Foo Fighters are one of my favorite bands. We just so happened to be in the same recording studio that day and after we finished catching up, he asked me to be apart of their hardest record on the album. It was a great spontaneous vibe and I loved it!
Any such efforts we can look forward to in 2018?
I really hope to do a lot of solo shows. Cut my teeth in that realm. Make mistakes, and have fun doing it in front of people. This is an exciting time, and I’m so happy I still get to explore uncharted territory with my career. I’m ready to go!