The Boys backstage

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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 whobring out one successful albumor two and disappear, and thenthere are the Backstreet Boys.Among Indian audience, especially,no boy band has received the adulationthat the Backstreet Boys have.

When we meet the BackstreetBoys - AJ McLean, Nick Carter,Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough -backstage at the Rock `n India concertin the Capital, we meet a groupthat's at ease at being older. Not tosay the boys aren't having funthough.

The India stop is part of the Asianleg of their `This Is Us' tour, as part ofthe promotion for their latest album.About the album, "The music on thealbum is what the Backstreet Boysare best represented by," says Nick."Because of the amount of travellingwe do, our inspiration has becomeinternational."

While the group's first two albums- Backstreet Boys and Backstreet'sBack - did more than well enoughinternationally, the group's biggestphenomenon till date has been their1998 album, Millennium.

Millennium, though, is not abenchmark now, say the bandmates."On a personal level, our music isgoing to grow with us... Millenniumstays our biggest hit, but if we neverget back to the Millennium days, itdoesn't really matter," AJ says. "Seventeenyears is not bad, right?"

When the Backstreet Boys cameup with their single Incomplete in2005 after more than three yearssince their previous album Black & Blue, there received a mixed reaction.

"It's not easy being a popular artistein the top 40 as well as trying tostay in the top 40. Everything is gettingyounger and younger as musicprogresses. In the end we just wantto put out music we feel good performing.As far as how our style haschanged, we have tried to evolvewhat we feel comfortable. We'd liketo have our peers enjoy our style butultimately it's about doing what wefeel comfortable in," Nick says.

"We've all grown up," says Brian."We got a special cord with the audienceyears ago, and we're happywe're performing."

Though there have been ups anddown and spells when the membersconcentrated on solo careers, they'rehappy to be back. "We have a greatbond, we're family. Most bandsbreak, we haven't," Nick says.

What started out as a five-memberband was left with four after KevinRichardson announced his departurein 2006. This reunion, though,doesn't look like its happening. "He'smade his decision," says Nick. Theothers nod.

By a strange twist of fate, a songco-written by Backstreet Boys' AJwith OneRepublic's Ryan Teddar willnow feature in rival boy band Westlife'snew album, Where We Are.Called "Shadows", the song was purchasedby Simon Cowell's record labelfor a Leona Lewis album, andthen ultimately passed on to Westlifebecause the producers believed itwas better suited for a boy band.

Ask AJ about it and he says, "I wishI was in the studio when they (Westlife)cut it. I wish we could perform itsomeday but."

Backstreet Boys videos have beengrand affairs, be it "Backstreet'sback" or "Larger than life".

"This was in a time when everyband was trying to outperform andoutdo 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 expensivememory."

"Don't tell people we're crazy," areNick Carter's parting words.




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