WanMor Talk Bridging The Gap Between R&B Generations

By Bianca Gracie | June 9, 2023

WanMor (from left: Big Boy, Chulo, Tyvas and Rocco) on the set of their "Mine" remix video. Photo by Khrave

R&B has been thriving lately, with newcomers and legends alike showcasing that the genre shows zero signs of faltering. But many are solo acts, raising the question: When was the last time we had an all-male group? Enter WanMor, a Gen Z quartet that is bridging the gap between old-school and new-school sounds.

Comprised of (youngest to oldest) Big Boy, Chulo, Tyvas, and Rocco, the South Jersey-born group has solid music roots. The sons of Boyz II Men founding member Wanyá Morris, WanMor has the soulful harmonies of the legendary ‘90s group. But make no mistake, they are aiming to forge their own path.

“Music is definitely in our lives. [I remember] when we saw our father on stage at Disneyworld and suddenly the crowd was going wild. He brought us on stage and we were dancing. I thought, ‘Yeah this is gonna be in our lives forever,’” Big Boy tells EDITION. “As a group, [it was] when we did our first performance. This was before WanMor—this was at a party. There were a lot of people there and we were so nervous because it was the first time of us ever singing together.”

WanMor chose to sing New Edition’s 1988 classic “Can You Stand The Rain”, which they said started the heartbeat of the group. They made it official last September when they became the first artists signed to Mary J. Blige's Beautiful Life Productions (via 300 Entertainment).

The group received a shower of love at the 2023 Grammy Awards, performing alongside Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and Chris Stapleton with a tribute to Motown Records. They sang “The Way You Do The Things You Do” with the legendary Wonder as the crowd danced along. Shortly after, their debut self-titled EP released with the charmingly romantic lead single, “Mine”. And just in time for the summer, WanMor just released a bouncy remix of the tune.

Below, WanMor speaks to EDITION about their inspirations, their new “Mine” remix and that unforgettable Grammy Awards night.

I would love to know individually your musical inspirations or your favorite artists.

Big Boy: My musical inspiration is Stevie Wonder, for sure.

Tyvas: Mine would be Bruno Mars because he is so smooth.

Rocco: Mine is Jazmine Sullivan and Michael Jackson. Because does runs a lot and I do too, so I can go to her for [my inspiration].

Chulo: Mine is Usher and Chris Brown I really love the way they can make the girls scream and stuff and really put on a nice performance. And I know that we can do a performance like that too.

You all are such a well-rounded group. The sound is very tight-knit. But I would love to know, what each of you think you bring to the group itself. You mentioned the runs, but is there anything else that you think individually you bring to the table that makes it a cohesive group?

Big Boy: Well, what I will say is we can all sing lead. That’s a big factor in why this group is unique. And we're all blood brothers. But individually, I’m the leader of the group, so I gotta keep them in check. [laughs] They're rambunctious, wild children. Chulo, everybody calls him the ladies’ man. Tyvas is smooth and has very chill vibes. And Rocco is the energy ball.

Chulo: But when we put our harmonies together we can make some magic. We’ve been doing it all our lives so we really learned how to [fine tune] that.

WANMOR_6_5_EDIT.jpgWanMor on the set of their "Mine" remix video with King Combs (far left). Photo by Khrave

I liked that you all took the original “Mine” song which was more of a slow jam and actually made it into a proper remix.

Chulo: Yeah we added Sylvia Striplin’s sample [of You Can't Turn Me Away] and mixed it with Junior Mafia’s [“Get Money”]. We added the classics to our “Mine” song, and then we made some magic.

How fun was it making the music video?

Big Boy: I mean, even if there weren't cameras there, it was just a vibe. It was just straight up us having fun. A bunch of our friends and a lot of girls were there. We were just having a lot of fun. It was a party and it was just it was a beautiful day.

I like that you are all still being teenagers and not trying to grow up too fast. How do you try to balance still being a teen but also being an artist?

Chulo: Sometimes we have to put our friends to the side and really focus on what we have to do. We have school every day. And then on top of that, we have to practice for upcoming shows and [do] studio time. When we do get a break, we spend some time with our friends and hang out with the family. We like to read, watch sports and play video games. We like to be regular kids so that’s really how we balance it. Everything gets its own time.

The older generation is also very welcoming of you all. When you were at the Grammys this year, everyone of all ages was so accepting of you all. What was your favorite part about the Grammys?

Chulo: Our adrenaline was pumping. So it was kind of hard to remember. But I would say being able to walk up to all the celebrities and then being like, “Oh, I know, you guys!” They have been following us for a long time now. Or walking up to Beyoncé and her saying “I'm a huge fan of you guys,” was so crazy. I’m not gonna lie, we had the best Instagram [photos] that night. We were this close to getting Kendrick Lamar.

Big Boy: I’ll also say, performing on stage for them. I definitely could say I remember what happened. Looking at the crowd and seeing all the celebrities [cheer us on]. I saw Camila Cabello and she was two-stepping while watching us. Going on stage to perform with Stevie Wonder, Chris Stapleton and Smokey Robinson was a movie.

Chulo: Honestly, if I could relive that day over and over again, I would. And I’ll relive it over again just to get a picture with Kendrick Lamar!

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What do you think you bring to R&B that sets you apart?

Big Boy: I think it's the fact that we’re all brothers and we know that we’re going to stay together no matter what.

Chulo: After this [interview], we just go home to the same house. So it’s easier than having a group where you have to call the other group members’ moms if they can make studio time. We’re all blood brothers. We all live in the same house at the end of the day.

Tyvas: We still butt heads and have our disagreements but you can't keep a grudge very long. We love each other.

Big Boy: Yeah, it’s chemistry. Even when it comes to harmonies. We’ve been living with each other our whole lives so we know who can do what melody and how we could compromise if somebody’s voice is not 100 %. It makes creating songs a lot easier to do.

You got signed to Mary J. Blige’s label last year. Take me back to that initial meeting.

Chulo: We were chilling and watching TV on one of our school breaks, right? And then Mom says, “Hey, guys, Mary J. Blige wants to sign you guys.”

Big Boy: She said it so nonchalantly. But she likes to prank us sometimes. She did the same thing with the Grammys! [laughs]

Chulo: But after she told us about Mary J. Blige, it became a whole listening party with every song she had. It was so amazing. And then a couple of weeks later, we met her in person at the Invite Only studio. Kevin Liles was there, the CEO of 300 Entertainment. We sang for him too, and he said, “I'm gonna sign you guys too.” It was amazing, all thanks to God. We’re so appreciative.

Big Boy: Mary J. Blige gives us great advice. She tells us to stay together, listen to our mother, all of the “auntie” things in the book. She’s like our auntie!

Chulo: People would think, “Oh my gosh, is she mean like how she is in Power?” [laughs] No, she's extremely nice. She’s sweet. And she really gives us good advice. Really?

Speaking of advice, what’s some of the most important advice that you received from your parents?

Chulo: Always have fun. But remember when it's time to take things seriously.

Big Boy: Practice, practice, practice. And 100%. God first. Everything comes after. If you need help, need assistance, need anything? Leave it to God.

Beautiful. What else do you have planned for the rest of the year?

Rocco: Hopefully, we go to the BET Awards. So some more award shows.

Chulo: We will have the best Instagram that night too. [laughs] We have a tour coming up. We have a lot of merch coming out. Yes. A lot of things going on. And more music too.