Even though retailers got into the holiday spirit weeks ago, now that Thanksgiving has passed it is officially "the most wonderful time of the year." Grammy Award-winning pop/R&B group All-4-One will be returning to Las Vegas Dec. 7 and 8 to spread some holiday cheer, performing a mix of hits and holiday classics inside the Suncoast Hotel and Casino.
"It's really the best music to sing," said Delious Kennedy, one of the four members who make up the quartet. "I wish we could sing it all year long."
Ticket holders can expect to hear a range of holiday tunes during the festive concert, including two really cool a capella versions of "The First Noel" and "Silent Night," according to All-4-One member Jamie Jones (Alfred Nevarez and Tony Borowiak make up the rest of the group). Kennedy also noted that he's been learning "Mary, Did You Know?," which he's never sung before.
When asked if fans could expect to hear the group's Grammy Award-winning song "I Swear," which holds a spot on Billboard's list of the most successful singles of all time and has been named by ASCAP as one of the greatest love songs of the 20th century, Kennedy joking replied, "Nah." The hit song, previously recorded by country singer John Michael Montgomery, spent 11 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and made the band a household name.
"John Michael Montgomery did an amazing job with the song, the only reason our version was bigger was because in 1994 country music wasn't as prevalent as pop," Jones humbly stated. "Now, you have artists like Taylor Swift blurring the line between country and Top 40, but back then music was segregated. Pop and R&B were just more popular."
Kennedy agreed, noting that the song was the last track the guys recorded for their eponymous debut CD, which also included the hit cover "So Much in Love."
"Originally we were asked to critique it," Kennedy recalled. "I thought it was a bit pompous. But the one thing our manager did was he didn't let us record all the songs we wanted. He looked for career songs, songs that would strike an emotional chord with listeners and really stick around—songs that would be played at weddings and proms, not in-the-moment songs [with lyrics] like 'let me lick you up and down.'"
Both Kennedy and Jones credit their manager's tactics with the group being around for as long as it has. In fact, the quartet is currently working on their 20th anniversary CD, scheduled for release early next year.
"Hopefully it will be out in February," Jones stated. "We've got a lot of cool surprises on it, including some of our hits live."
While ticket holders probably won't get to hear any of the new tracks during All-4-One's holiday engagement ("We're just now learning them," Kennedy said), they can expect a great night of music.
"We don't just stand there and sing—we put on a show," Jones said. "You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll experience so many emotions. A lot of our fans are grown up now and have kids, and seeing us perform live is a great excuse to have an adult night out; you can get your groove on and take a trip down memory lane."
Given that All-4-One performed at the Suncoast in February, it was only natural to ask Kennedy and Jones if they had any favorite restaurants in town.
"CUT at The Palazzo is amazing; I love a nice, medium-cooked steak," Jones said. "I enjoy a good buffet, too."
When asked about their guilty food pleasures, Jones replied that he has to be careful around sweets.
"Donuts and carrot cake are my kryptonite," he said.
"For me, it's red velvet cake," Kennedy said. "I can also eat an infinite number of French fries, which isn't good for me; I just dowse them in ketchup."
While Jones mentioned he's been on a diet, both he and Kennedy agreed that—when it comes to the holidays—all bets are off.
"I've been on a no carbs/no sugar diet and am down 40 pounds," Jones said, "but I already told my doctor if I go in and gain 9 pounds in one day, don't be mad, cause I'm going all in!"
Although the holidays are special to Kennedy and Jones because they get to spend time with their families, it's also a special time of year for them because they both celebrate birthdays during the holiday season. Not surprisingly, since their birthdays are so close to Christmas, both Jones and Kennedy admitted that they're usually stuck with "birthday/Christmas presents." While Kennedy said that he now realizes the holidays are more about giving than receiving ("When you're young it's about you; now it's about others"), both singers did have holiday/birthday wish lists when asked what they wanted to find underneath their trees this year.
"I'm a musician at heart, so I just want more equipment," Jones replied.
"I could use some new lenses for my camera, I guess," Kennedy concluded. "50 millimeter, if my friends are reading this. That would be awesome."
All-4-One performs inside the Suncoast Showroom Dec. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at just $15.95, plus tax and fees. To purchase your tickets, click here or call 702-636-7075.
For more on All-4-One, visit the group's official website.