Welcome to the musical tale of two cities... cities which could no longer contain the soulful, harmonizing hip-hop talents of five of their most gifted sons. Ladies and gentlemen, Backstreet Boys are about to define 1998.
Kevin Richardson spent his first nine years on a 10-acre farm and the next eight in a modern-day log cabin.
"I had a great childhood," says Backstreet Boys' oldest member. "I loved school, played Little League football, rode horses and dirt-bikes, and sang into a hairbrush in front of my bedroom mirror."
The boy was happy-and he could sing.
After receiving his first set of keyboards as a high school freshman, Kevin spent his adolescence in chorus and drama club. He also entered talent shows and played his keyboards in restaurants and at weddings.
These days, prior to touring, Kevin shared an apartment with Howie D. and his cousin Brian. His free time is spent weightlifting, dancing, shooting hoops, playing football, and writing music at his keyboards. Ask him to describe life in the studio and he'll say, "Sing. Eat. Sing. Sing. Eat. Sing. SLEEP!" And on the road? "A lot of fun, a lot of work, and sometimes a little lonely. Its' what I've always dreamed of!"
Back in Lexington, disillusioned by his work with a local Top 40 cover band, Kevin decided to go down to Orlando on a whim. He left for Florida that very day, had a job as a tour guide in Disney World the following week, and devotred the bulk of his time to becoming a professional singer-songwriter.
Kevin heard about "those guys who harmonize all the time" from a co-worker who arranged for an introduction. He was riveted by the a capella harmonies he heard the night he met Nick, Howie and A.J., and was impressed by their dance floor maneuvers. Why not team up? they all thought at once. The die was cast, and all they needed now was one more member to fill out the sound. First thing in the morning, Kevin phoned his cousin Brian in Lexington, had him called out of calss, and told him about the three singers he'd met the night before. Next day,
"I'm a big ham and I gotta be out there and doing crazy stuff for no apparent reason, esepecially on stage...," admits A.J. But then, one might have guessed that there was something brewing when, as a youngster in his very first acting job, A.J. brough thte house down as Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
In fact, by sixth grade, Alexander James McLean had appeared in 27 classics such as The Nutcracker, The King And I and Fiddler On The Roof.
While attending junior high, A.J. won a part in Nickelodeon's High Honey, I'm Home and began an ongoing relationship with both Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel. A.J. sang, trained extensively in dance, and took dancing lessons.
When he's not working, A.J., who's a skilled puppeteer, spends time cartooning, writing poetry that inspires his songwriting, playing basketball, volleyball and shooting pool. His take on the tracks of the Backstreet Boys' debut album? "In my mind, they're gonna be hits!"
Backstreet Boys is Brian Littrell's first big showbiz gig.
He spent his growing up years singing at his local church, and was frequently invited to perform at other regional churches, revivals and weddings. To balance out the picture, Brian immersed himeslf in popular music at school, and his fascination with artists such as Hammer and Boyz II Men kept his ears firmly tuned to Top 40 and Urban radio stations. Brian enjoys his life and considers himself very lucky to be a member of the Backstreet Boys.
When it's time to take five from BSB, Brian sacks out on the king-size waterbed he bought for $50 ("It was practically brand new"). He also participates in all kinds of sports, his favorite being basketball. His cut of choice on the Bacstreet Boys debut? "Don't Leave Me," "cause the track and the words are just slammin!"
We've Got It Going On!
City number one, Lexington, Kentucky, home of cousins Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell
City number two, Orlando, Florida. A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough and Nick Carter saw each other at auditions all the time. They were solo performers with solid credentials in musical theater, commercials, television and fiolm, and as they sat around waiting to audition for new projects, they'd find themselves harmonizing an old Temptations hit, or somebody they'd just heard on the radio. After awhile, the a cappella singing took on a life of it's own.
Anywhere For You...
People were amazed at the a cappella harmonies Backstreet Boys could create at the drop of a hat.
No musical instruments or engineering wizardry were required for this group to create vocal magic and moods.
Honestly, energy and heart-wrenching harmonies characterize Backstreet Boys self-titled debut album. The hook-laden urban pop tracks are a romantic's delight. "I'll Never Break Your Heart," "Anywhere For You" and "Every Time I Close My Eyes" are powerful ballads that speak straight to the yearning heart. "We've Got It Going On," "Boys Will Be Boys" and "Don't Leave Me" are rockin', up tempo gems that opine a force that is always with us, especially in matters of love. "Tell Me That I'm Dreamin'" offers a taste of Backstreet Boys' outrageous live harmonies and "Tender Love" in which A.J. McLean shares the contents of a letter he's written with his Backstreet Boys' brothers is a believable slice of life. Your heartstrings will hip-hop, rock, swing and ache from total involvement in the Backstreet Boys experience. "Quit Playin' Games (With My Heart)" is a romantic midtempo song that should continue its number one status worldwide...
It's probably no accident that Nick Carter was born in the same Jamestown, New York hospital as the legendary actress/comedienne, Lucille Ball.
A firecracker from day one, you could regularly find "Little Nicky" dressed in nothing but diapers, bustin' a move, on the dance floor of his father's Yankee Rebel lounge.
By fourth grade, after his family moved to Florida, Nick landed the lead in Phantom of the Opera.
He was also a featured vocalist at Tampa Bay Buccaneer pre-game shows for two years.
At age 12 he put in a winning performance on the 1992 New Orignal Amateur Hour, and did commercials for both the Money Store and the Florida State Lottery. Nick was offered a gig with Disney, but deided to go with the Backstreet Boys after that first night of harmonizing.
During off hours, you can find Nick at home with his parents and four younger siblings. The drum set in his room gets a heavy workout and he spends lots of time jamming with two of his buds. Nick is a licensed scuba diver, enjoys the family motorboat and fishing, and loves poetry and football.