CMT Crossroads: Boyz II Men’s Influence on Brett Young

Brett Young had a hard time narrowing down all the Boyz II Men songs he wanted to sing on the newest CMT Crossroads. Boyz II Men, the best-selling R&B group of all time, has been the soundtrack of Young’s life ever since the group broke out with their 1991 debut, “Motownphilly,” and the group’s timeless vocal arrangements continue to influence the music he makes today.

“Boyz II Men was so present and prevalent in my life when I started writing songs,” Young told backstage with the trio at their CMT Crossroads concert. “Every once in a while, when you guys sing your solos I can tell who’s who, but when you’re singing together, it’s like who’s doing what right now? It pushed me as a singer before I even knew it was doing that.”
Boyz II Men’s Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman have been a group for 27 years, and in that history, CMT Crossroads has been their first opportunity to collaborate in the country music space. As the singers of iconic songs like “I’ll Make Love to You,” “End of the Road” and “Water Runs Dry,” they know a great lyric when they hear it and are part of R&B’s living history that continues to revitalize nearly every music genre. Arguably, no other music genre has had a more significant impact on country music in the last decade than R&B, and that’s attributed to the current class of musicians consuming just as much timeless country as they are the latest Bruno Mars.

“There have been quite a few R&B records that have been covered by country artists and vice versa,” Nathan Morris said.

“A lot of songs we sing have country intonations,” Wanya Morris added. “Who’s to say ‘Water Runs Dry’ couldn’t be a country record? When Brett sings it, it sure sounds country to me.”

The newest CMT Crossroads premieres March 27 at 10 p.m. ET.

Lauren Tingle is a Tennessean and storyteller who eats music for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When she’s not writing or rocking out, she enjoys yoga and getting lost in the great outdoors.