Human Nature making doo-wop cool again
BY MIRIAM DI NUNZIO email@example.com April 25, 2012 4:34PM
Human Nature features (left to right): Mike Tierney, Phil Burton, Toby Allen and Andrew Tierney
♦ 7 p.m. April 29
♦ Akoo Theatre at Rosemont, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont, Ill.
♦ Tickets, $29-$57.50
♦ (800) 745-3000;
Updated: May 28, 2012 8:51AM
Maybe you caught their act Monday night on “Dancing with the Stars,” celebrating “Motown Night” with the likes of Smokey Robinson, Martha Reeves and the Temptations. Or perhaps you tuned in to your local PBS station in March and were blown away by an Australian pop quartet delivering sizzling covers of Motown classics like “Baby I Need Your Loving” and “My Girl.” Or maybe you caught their act at the Imperial Palace Hotel on your last trek to Las Vegas.
If you nodded yes to any of the aforementioned scenarios, then Human Nature needs no introduction. If you’re still wondering what all the fuss is about, you can check it out for yourself when this foursome performs at the Akoo Theatre in Rosemont, Ill. on April 29.
Started more than 20 years ago when brothers Andrew and Mike Tierney and pals Phil Burton and Toby Allen were in high school in Sydney, Australia, Human Nature brought their four-part Motown harmonies to concert venues across the globe. And their debut album, “Reach Out,” went five-times platinum.
Not bad for four guys who have collaborated with their mentor Smokey Robinson and made doo-wop cool again.
Andrew Tierney talked about the Motown sounds that are second nature to the group.
Question: For the uninitiated, let’s talk about the genesis of Human Nature.
Andrew Tierney: We started about 22 years ago in high school. It was an idea of mine to put together a pop vocal group at school for the fun of it. The first songs we did were doo-wop, and originally we were a cappella.
Q. Which Motown groups were your biggest influences?
AT: The Temptations were and still are the most obvious. When we started doing more performances, we really studied how groups like them were the complete package — the voices, the dance, the entertainment factor of their concerts. And of course, Smokey [Robinson] and the Miracles.
Q. How did you earn Smokey’s stamp of approval?
AT: We got a record deal in Australia in our early 20s and we recorded some original stuff that became hits there. But Motown had always been in our hearts, something we’d put into our live shows as a tribute to our favorite artists. Smokey read about it and when we got the chance to do a record in the true Motown style we asked him to record with us and he said yes. We flew to L.A. to meet him and we did an a cappella version of “Ooh Baby Baby” and he loved it. He took us under his wing to help us get under way in America. Then we got offered the chance to do a show in Las Vegas thanks to his interest and his being our official presenter.
Q. Which Motown song was the biggest revelation for you?
AT: I think it was “[Just My] Imagination” because it was a Temptations song that was never a hit in Australia. So for us to discover it 40 years after its release and to see what an incredible song it is and how audiences react to it was just amazing.