BY TRICIA DESPRES | FOR SUN-TIMES MEDIA
Nick Carter was only twelve years old when he started his music career as the youngest member of the Backstreet Boys. In the years that followed, the world witnessed the stark contrast between the professional persona of the baby-faced boy band member with the complex personal life that had him dating Paris Hilton, taking drugs and breaking ties with his own family.
It’s that contrast that just might be why people continue to find the 34-year-old so darn intriguing.
Today, Carter continues to make a living playing and performing music that still resonates with millions of hard-core fans. Currently joining forces with New Kids on the Block’s Jordan Knight as part of the duo Nick & Knight, Carter recently spoke with the Chicago Sun Times about the life he has led and all that he says still lies ahead.
Question: You are coming to Chicago for two nights [at House of Blues[. Chicago has always been an amazingly supportive market for your music, would you say?
Nick Carter: Chicago has always been one of our favorite places to come. The fans there love what we do and they don’t have any preconceived feelings about what type of music we do. They enjoy our performances and continue to love what we have given to them for over 23 years.
NICK CARTER + JORDAN KNIGHT – THE NICK & KNIGHT TOUR WHEN:6:30 p.m. Sept. 26 and 27 WHERE: House of Blues Chicago, 329 N. Dearborn, Chicago TICKETS: $45 INFO: 312-923-2000; houseofblues.com/chicago
Q: Twenty-three years? Does that number shock you?
NC: It’s actually been more than that. It’s been 23 years for me and 25 years for Jordan. It doesn’t shock us though. We feel young and fresh and optimistic and we love being able to put out new music that’s a bit of a different take for us.
Q: You and Jordan have been friends for a while, but when did you actually come up with “Nick & Knight”?
NC: We actually came up with the idea underneath the stage on the NKOTBSB tour. Jordan thought it up and I was cool with it. But when we started the project and recording, we started challenging it. Maybe it was too cliché. But we said screw it and stayed with it.
Q: The NKOTBSB collaborations have been quite popular with your fans. Why do you believe two boy bands from the ’90s remain so popular after all these years?
NC: We come from an old-school mentality and a dying breed of groups that will get out there and dance and truly put on a show. I mean, we came from the days of Michael Jackson and Prince. There are so many new artists out there who don’t want to do that because it’s not cool or something. I truly think people are craving the performance aspect of our shows.
Q: The new album “Nick & Knight” came out on Sept. 2, and the single “One More Time” is out now. If that didn’t keep you busy enough, you are the subject of a new VH1 docu-series (“I ‘Heart’ Nick Carter”). What made you want to do reality television again?
NC: My life is pretty unique. I mean, I’m in a boy band at 34 years old. [Laughs] But that’s my career. I met a normal girl and threw her into this crazy world where she would have to sacrifice any sort of normalcy. Besides just having to learn how to live this crazy life, she and I both have families that are screwed up and the show will show how we have to bond together to overcome that.
Q: So, you are on the Nick & Knight Tour through November. How long do you look ahead with this collaboration with Jordan?
NC: We want to take it all over the world if we can. At this point, we just want to let the people speak for themselves. If they want more, we will give them more.