All-4-One shares an incredible moment with Whitney Houston at a dive bar
By CHELSEA HUANG
After 23 years in the business, All-4-One, probably best known for their hit cover of "I Swear," has had scores of pinch-me moments.
In addition to serenading Bill and Hillary Clinton at the 1996 Arkansas Ball after the former won reelection, performing live with Olivia Newton-John, singing "We Are The World" at the AMAs, a Grammy Award and seven studio albums, the group revealed a moment with Whitney Houston that's nothing short of spectacular.
Tony was unfortunately recovering from an injury, but the remaining three -- Jamie, Alfred and Delious -- ended up at a dive bar with the late, great diva after a show in Hong Kong, where a band called them up on stage.
"Whitney was just not having it," Delious told AOL in an exclusive interview. "And they put on 'We Are Family,' which was part of the show at the time. So I got up and sang. I looked over at Whitney, and Bobby Brown was like, 'She's not going.' But I sang, 'We' and she started singing 'We-e-ee-ee' ... And I was like -- Am I seriously riffing with Whitney Houston in a dive bar in Hong Kong?"
Watch All-4-One sing "I Swear" at AOL HQ
In the beginning of their career, while riffing with Whitney was particularly memorable, traveling the world was the norm. Jamie revealed that in the first five years, they were away from home a minimum of 300 days a year.
Much has changed since the foursome's debut -- but a lot has stayed the same. For one, they've retained all of their original members. And that's exactly what they're trying to convey in their seventh studio album, Twenty+, which was released this summer, with 14 new songs and six of their past hits.
"With this record, what we're really proud of is, it's kind of the best of both worlds, and we have some songs in there that are definitely a lot more current sounding, but then there are some that stay true to our roots and who we are," Jamie said. "We're just trying to do the things that make us happy and to do the things that make our fans happy and want to continue to listen to us."
Watch the boys sing "Baby Love" from their new album
In the spirit of the old and new, we caught up with the boy band their own then and now experiences:
What were your fans like, then and now?
Jamie: Then, I would say crazy, because the majority of our fans were 12-18 year-old girls going wacky ... Now all those girls and our fans have grown up with us and now everybody is still having fun and living -- but just a little more laid back and chill."
What were your must-have tour items, then and now?
Delious: "Strawberry pop tarts. Strawberry pop tarts everywhere to the point that fans would start bringing them to me in boxes. Now, pineapples and fruit."
Tony: "Back then, we needed the Sega Genesis, now we need the Xbox 2 or Playstation 4."
Alfred: "I was going to say ... Then, you had your pager, now you have your iPhone."
Celebrity crushes, then and now?
Jamie: "For me, that's easy. My top three are still my top three. For me, the artists that inspired me the most were Prince, Stevie Wonder and Donnie Hathaway."
Tony: "Kind of the same, but the New Edition, the Boyz II Men and now, Justin Timberlake. I'm a big fan of Justin's. And Journey -- loved them back then and now."
Alfred: "Brian McKnight then. And now would be like, Mumford and Sons, that type of music."
Delious: Back in the day, I've always been a fan of Michael and Luther and surprisingly, Olivia Newton-John. Now, I'm kind of jaded by music -- I've given up ... Okay, I'm a Taylor Swift fan. You try not to and then song after song after song ... She writes some catchy stuff!"
Who would you take on your dream tour, then and now:
Delious: "To me there's not many 'singer singers.' There are great artists, but those who sing sing, I'm trying to think."
Jamie: "There's a few, I mean, I like John Legend."
Alfred: "John Legend would be awesome."
Working on your first album vs. working on "Twenty+?"
Jamie: "I think it was much different because we just have so much more control now. This is the first album we released on our own label, and we were able to do things the way we always wanted to do then."
Tony: "And technology has come a long way. I moved away from these guys about five hours, so we'd be on tour and we'd record inside of a hotel room, which we couldn't do 15, 20 years ago."
Delious: "... in my underwear."
What's the biggest thing that's changed, biggest thing that's stayed the same?
Delious: "I used to have hair."
Alfred: "We all have families."
Jamie: "We've actually gone from boys to men. Actually being teenagers and now kind of different versions of our dads."
Tony: "And we're still goofy as can be."
See All-4-One through the years: