From the Biebs to Boyz II Men: 'The Sing-Off' judge Shawn Stockman discusses the show…and his new album
"The Sing-Off" judge Shawn Stockman sat down to chat about working with Justin Bieber, his role on "The Sing-Off," and his new album, "Twenty" on a recent conference call.
What do you think is the biggest difference between the level of talent from groups and artists from when Boyz II Men started out?
Shawn: It's a huge difference to be very honest. I mean me and my guys did a cappella. We would never have thought of taking it to the level that these guys are taking it to. I mean they're going places that we never imagined.
You know, with us it was merely just voices…and maybe an occasional imitation of a instrument or something like that. These guys actually sound like instruments like guitars and bases and trumpets and, you know, piccolos and flutes and all that other stuff. It's like they're really way more advanced than me and my guys ever were.
You've recently worked with Justin Bieber – what was it like working with him?
Shawn: Justin is a real professional. He's really great. And despite all of the hype behind him and, you know, the girls screaming, he really is a legitimate artist. He's not a flash in the pan artist at all. And I enjoyed working with him – talking to him and hanging out with him.
I was talking to a seasoned professional. And he carries himself that way. (He’s) very mature, understands things, understands music, understands the music business.
Who has surprised you this season on "The Sing Off" with how they've grown?
Shawn: The Dartmouth Aires. I honestly didn't think that they would have as much as they had. I thought that I was going to get tired of them doing all the jumping around and things of that nature, but they've shown that they're so much more than that.
They've shown that they can be, you know, serious artists and they can really switch it up and change it up. They're (I think) one of the most diverse groups in the whole competition and I believe they're going to go really far.
What should we expect from your new album?
Shawn: You know, history. And not meaning that in a presumptuous way but just literally like it's history, it's 20 years encompassed in one record. It's a double CD that features I guess you could say the first Boyz II Men, the classics I guess you could say.
We have those on one disk and we re-recorded them and added a little twist and flavors here and there. Not too much because we didn't want to piss anybody off who like the originals. And on another CD we have 12 original brand new, you know, Boyz II Men records and this is something that we haven't done in about nine years.
So people will actually get a chance to hear new music from us and (see) just where we are musically. We've grown a lot vocally. We think that we've gotten a lot stronger. And it's just good music.
What do you love most about being a judge on "The Sing Off?"
Shawn: I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I don't learn something from these groups and from these artists. I learn so much musically. I learn how far you can take music. I learn how far you can go with music, you know, and ideas and the possibilities just by listening to them.
It's all a learning experience. And at this point and at my age that's all it's about – learning and understanding and just getting more information to become a little bit smarter than you were before.