Four to the Fore

updated 06/06/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/06/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

POP MUSIC IS LOADED WITH OVER-NIGHT-SENSATION stories, but All-4-One's is shorter than most. The foursome weren't even a group until last fall. But faster than you can say "Boyz II Men." their sweet, retro-smooth R&B harmonies have sent two singles ("So Much in Love" and "I Swear") off their self-titled gold debut album sprinting into the Top 10. Just as suddenly, Jamie Jones, 19, Tony Borowiak, 21, Alfred Nevarez, 20, and Delious, 23—whose collective performing experience had been confined to church choirs and talent shows—find themselves singing to 18,000 screaming girls. "It trips me out to see them crying," says Jones, still awestruck.

Native Californians Borowiak, Nevarez and Jones met while competing on the West Coast talent-show circuit. After a record producer suggested they form a group, the trio began searching for a fourth to round out their sound. They found him singing "Ebony & Ivory" at a karaoke contest in Lancaster, Calif. Delious, who grew up in various locations as an Air Force brat, had just quit another group. "Too many egos," says Delious, who had intended to stay solo. "I really don't know what made me [join]." Perhaps those perfect harmonies brought Delious into the fold. "Me and Tony's voices are thin," says Jones. "Delious gave some fullness. Together everything clicked."

With their lineup established, they auditioned for Blitzz Records, an affiliate of Atlantic. One pitch-perfect, a cappella version of the 1963 Tymes classic "So Much in Love" was enough to get them signed to a five-year deal, a decision that has already proved profitable.

As All-4-One prepares for a summer tour, the group need only conquer fears of flying and overzealous fans. "I'm finding out little girls can be very strong," says Borowiak. "When five of them get a hold of your arm, they can lift you up."

From Our Partners