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In a world full of imitations, the Backstreet Boys are definitely not just another fabricated, bubblegum-pop boy-band, but are a multi-talented group of real musicians. With each Backstreet Boy having his own unique experiences in such areas as: acting, singing, modeling, and playing instruments, it is obvious that it would add flavor to their phenomenal voices, and lead them to fame and fortune. "Honestly, looking at them for the first time with their country, down to earth, all American boy image, I thought they were out of their heads. Eventually, their vocal abilities and their passion for music changed my mind," stated their former manager, Johnny Wright on VH1 Music Television. Although it may seem as if success was easily handed over to them, these five regular guys from Orlando, Florida experienced many struggles on their bumpy road to the top. "They are liked and have such a huge following because of the diverse group of boys represented," Kayla Jones stated in a personal interview.
Despite their success in being number one in thirty-eight different countries, each member had his fair share of struggles before reaching his status in the Backstreet Boys (Gold Collector's Series Entertainment Magazine). Leaving their mark on the world was not as easy as it may seem. Each member comes from a different background with influences ranging from Latin to even Blackfoot Indian (Krulik, 11). What brings such a young and talented group of guys together is their love and passion for music and the stage. Ashufta 2 Nicholas Gene Carter, better known as Nick from the Backstreet Boys, was born in Jamestown, New York on January 28, 1980 (Golden 61). Being born in the same hospital as Lucille Ball, it was inevitable that he was destined for a career in show business. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to a dream house in Orlando, Florida. It was there that Nick truly developed his skills and desires for the entertainment world.
He experienced the different aspects of show business including: singing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers halftime shows, acting in Phantom of the Opera, winning talent shows, and even working for Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel (Golden 64). Despite of his accomplishments, he was still unsatisfied and was determined to discover his ideal job in the spotlight. The rebel of the Backstreet Boys, Alexander James (A.J.) McLean was born on January 9, 1978 in West Palm Beach, Florida. "He was an extremely energetic bundle of joy!" exclaims A.J.'s mother, Denise (Erlewine AMG All Music). Even though his parents divorced when he was only four years old, A.J.'s desire for the spotlight didn't fade, but flourished. After playing Dopey in his Pre-School production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, his mind was set on what he wanted to be a part of for the rest of his life, the entertainment business.
As his teenage years approached, he became more and more involved with Nickelodeon and local theater, winning role in The King and I, Fiddler on the Roof, and even The Nutcracker (Golden 50). Soon after, he began running into Nick and Howie in acting auditions, and the trio began singing together. Cousins Brian Thomas Littrell and Kevin Scott Richardson were both born in Lexington, Kentucky, but three and a half years apart. Both of them grew up in the countryside of the state. "We grew up in a big Baptist Church," explained Brian in an interview with AMG All music, "And ever since I could walk, I Ashufta 3 remember us singing together." After graduation, Kevin left Lexington, a place he called home for eighteen years, to pursue a career in music in Disneyland, while Brian finished high school. Within three years, the talented duos would be singing again, but this time in a serious musical band, which would later become one of the most successful pop bands of all time.
Being the baby of his family, Howard Dwayne Dorough was born on August 22, 1973 in Orlando Florida (Golden 25). With his parents being originally from Puerto Rico, he gained a wealth of knowledge from both American and Puerto Rican culture to help lead him to the roads he wanted to take. He tagged along to his sister's acting and music auditions for entertainment, but once his talent was seen, "He became something of a fixture on the local music theater" (Golden 26). Shortly after, Howie began to get involved with the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, where he would later meet A.J. and Nick, and embrace upon a journey he had never even imagined. With each member brought up so differently towards the spotlight, how did these five-some walk the well-trod path of stardom together? The Backstreet Boys formed in 1993, when high-school students A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, and Junior-high Nick Carter frequently ran into each other in acting auditions.
They began hanging out, started singing together, and eventually brought in two additional members, Kevin Richardson and his Kentucky cousin Brian Littrell. The band's initial gigs ranged from high-school gymnasiums dances to Grad Night at Sea World. Eventually, with the inclusion of smooth R&B-pop numbers like "Tell me I'm Dreaming" in their act, the Backstreet Boys heated up the local teen sufficiently enough that a phone call placed to a Jive Records executive during one of their pandemonium-inciting gigs resulted in the group scoring a recording deal (MTV). Ashufta 4 Although it may seem hard to believe, the Backstreet Boys were not always accepted and welcomed by U.S. audiences. They worked for four years topping the European charts with such hits as "Quit Playing Games" and "We've Got It Goin' On," which only peaked at number sixty nine on the U.S. charts. Finally, their hard work was beginning to pay off when they started gaining American fans. As their fan base grew, Backstreet Boys added a new track called "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" to their debut album Backstreet Boys. This was probably one of the best decisions had ever made because the popularity of the single gained them numerous awards including the award for best group on MTV's Video Music Awards.
Their success was far from over as their next album "Millennium" was released (Erlewine AMG all music). When Backstreet Boys' sophomore album "Millennium" was released on May 18, 1999, fans chaotically approached record stores. It made history by selling 1.3 million copies in its first week and continued to sell up to fourteen million copies in the United States alone. The success of their second album was nothing compared to the third album Backstreet Boys released in the U.S. It soled over 1.6 million copies in its first week and topped eight million in its third. Overall, they have sold over one hundred million copies of their CDs worldwide, which could only compare them to the group that started the whole boy band mania.
"They're the nineties version of the Beatles!" exclaimed Ashley Perreira, a Backstreet Boys fan, in a personal interview. Even though they've accomplished more in their eight year career than most artists can in a lifetime, they are still mocked and disliked by some who think they portray a feign image. "I don't like the Backstreet Boys because they don't write their own lyrics or play their own instruments. They are not artists but wannabe musicians," stated an anti-Backstreet fan on a MTV message board. The person's comment are Ashufta 5 clearly lacking truth. Backstreet Boys play instruments but they are not given the opportunity or time to practice because of their hectic road schedules, so they only play "Quit playing Games" on tour with their own instruments (MTV).
They write many songs for themselves and other artists, including more than half of the songs in their album Black and Blue. An artist is "A person who does anything well with a form or effect," (Webster's Dictionary) therefore Backstreet Boys are considered "artists." The Backstreet Boys are looked upon as a clean-cut, innocent, and emotionless prefabricated boy band whose popularity has ridiculously exploited. What people ignore to recognize is that they're as much as anyone else, and that their fame comes with a heavy price. While busy on the road, Kevin's father passed away along with Howie's sister, and A.J.'s grandmother, which lead him to have treatment for depression and alcoholism. "Being on the road gives us very little, if any, opportunity for relationships," complained Brian in the video interview of A Night Out With The Backstreet Boys. Despite their complaints, Backstreet Boys obviously found time for relationships, fans, and their families because cousins Brian and Kevin wedded the love of their lives in 2000. With all their accomplishments behind them, a greatest hits album on its way, and their newest release debuting at number sixty-nine on the Billboard Charts, they should have a bright future ahead of them.
However, some people's opinions, such as Kayla Jones', may differ. "I don't think they possess the ability to transcend the trends and changes of an ever-changing industry. Nothing lasts forever. Teen girls won't like synchronized dancing forty-something year old men singing 'Oh baby girl...' Their fifteen minutes of fame may have lasted a while, but the clock is still ticking" (Personal interview). That may be true, but even if their success comes to an end, they've gained many friendships, learned many lessons, gained loads of cash, and made world history. If the Backstreet Boys can overcome A.J.'s alcoholism, be known as positive figures throughout the world, and still come on top, it is obvious that they can and will be around for many years to come.
Nick assures the fans in an interview with MTV, "Even if it ends today, we will go on knowing we've gained so much in so many ways, but I don't think it'll end...unless one of us dies.".
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