The Stanbic Bank-sponsored music festival has continued with its tradition of attracting international entertainers of acclaim. In 2016, the festival hosted award-winning UK-based pop-reggae band UB40. It has previously hosted renowned acts including Hugh Masekela, Oliver M’tukudzi, Mi Casa, Earl Klugh and Zonke as well as a host of top local artistes.
Speaking at a press briefing, Stanbic Bank Public Relations Manager said, “This year Boyz II Men, best known for their emotional ballads and acappella harmonies throughout their 20-year history, are expected to pull huge crowds, not only from Zambia, but also from neighbouring countries in the region”.
Formerly a quartet that included bass singer Michael McCary, they are currently a trio composed of baritone Nathan Morris alongside tenors Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman. McCary left the group in 2003 due to health and personal issues.
Boyz II Men gained international success during the early 1990s. The group redefined popular R&B and continue to create timeless hits that appeal to fans across all generations. Their road to success began, ironically, with the release of the number one single “End of the Road” in 1992, which reached the top of charts worldwide. The single would set a new record for longevity, staying at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for 13 weeks, breaking the decades-old record held by Elvis Presley.
Boyz II Men proceeded to break this record with the subsequent releases of “I’ll Make Love to You” and “One Sweet Day” (with Mariah Carey), which, at 14 and 16 weeks respectively, each set new records for the total number of weeks at number one. To date, “One Sweet Day” still holds the all-time record with 16 weeks at the top of the Hot 100.
In addition to four Grammy Awards, Boyz II Men have also won nine American Music Awards, nine Soul Train Awards, three Billboard Awards, and a 2011 MOBO Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. The trio holds the distinction of being the best-selling R&B group of all time, with 60 million albums sold.
Previously called the Stanbic Jazz Festival, the Stanbic Music Festival has been changed to include more musical diversity. The festival has on two occasions been held at the Misty Jazz Restaurant at Levy Mall, and at the Lusaka Polo Club last year.