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Highway to success Backstreet Boys performing in New Delhi
Highway to success Backstreet Boys performing in New Delhi

It might be more than a decade since their Millennium days, but the Backstreet Boys are still on a high, writes SHALINI SHAH

Boy bands. There are a few who bring out one successful album or two and disappear, and then there are the Backstreet Boys.Among Indian audience, especially, no boy band has received the adulation that the Backstreet Boys have.

When we meet the Backstreet Boys — AJ McLean, Nick Carter, Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough — backstage at the Rock ‘n India concert in the Capital, we meet a group that's at ease at being older. Not to say the boys aren't having fun though.

The India stop is part of the Asian leg of their ‘This Is Us' tour, as part of the promotion for their latest album. About the album, “The music on the album is what the Backstreet Boys are best represented by,” says Nick. “Because of the amount of travelling we do, our inspiration has become international.”

While the group's first two albums — Backstreet Boys and Backstreet's Back — did more than well enough internationally, the group's biggest phenomenon till date has been their 1998 album, Millennium.

Millennium, though, is not a benchmark now, say the bandmates. “On a personal level, our music is going to grow with us... Millennium stays our biggest hit, but if we never get back to the Millennium days, it doesn't really matter,” AJ says. “Seventeen years is not bad, right?”

When the Backstreet Boys came up with their single Incomplete in 2005 after more than three years since their previous album Black & Blue, there received a mixed reaction.

“It's not easy being a popular artiste in the top 40 as well as trying to stay in the top 40. Everything is getting younger and younger as music progresses. In the end we just want to put out music we feel good performing. As far as how our style has changed, we have tried to evolve what we feel comfortable. We'd like to have our peers enjoy our style but ultimately it's about doing what we feel comfortable in,” Nick says.

“We've all grown up,” says Brian. “We got a special cord with the audience years ago, and we're happy we're performing.”

Though there have been ups and down and spells when the members concentrated on solo careers, they're happy to be back. “We have a great bond, we're family. Most bands break, we haven't,” Nick says.

What started out as a five-member band was left with four after Kevin Richardson announced his departure in 2006. This reunion, though, doesn't look like its happening. “He's made his decision,” says Nick. The others nod.

By a strange twist of fate, a song co-written by Backstreet Boys' AJ with OneRepublic's Ryan Teddar will now feature in rival boy band Westlife's new album, Where We Are. Called “Shadows”, the song was purchased by Simon Cowell's record label for a Leona Lewis album, and then ultimately passed on to Westlife because the producers believed it was better suited for a boy band.

Ask AJ about it and he says, “I wish I was in the studio when they (Westlife) cut it. I wish we could perform it someday but…”

Backstreet Boys videos have been grand affairs, be it “Backstreet's back” or “Larger than life”.

“This was in a time when every band was trying to outperform and outdo the other,” Nick recalls.

“In fact, I had written the song — although I didn't pay for it… thankfully,” Brian chuckles. “It's a very expensive memory.”

“Don't tell people we're crazy,” are Nick Carter's parting words.

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