From the days of Leif Garrett singing “Da Doo Ron Ron” to Tiffany serenading malls throughout the world during the 1980s, the business of being a teen idol has been a cautionary one.
On the one hand, the industry tries to pigeonhole you into playing the same bright-eyed youngster that made you famous, while, on the other, you hit a creative wall and decide that transitioning into the adult phase of your career is imperative for your sanity.
Either way, it’s a tall order, and few artists during the last decade are more familiar with that than Aaron Carter.
Known for Top-40 hits “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” and “That’s How I Beat Shaq,” Carter has dealt with a lot since arriving on the scene in 1997, but listening to him reflect back on it now tells me that he’s not going anywhere any time soon.
With age comes greater creative control over the direction your career goes in, so I expect Carter to come back a stronger and more self-assured artist than he was before. I can’t say what the public reception will be, but I will say that I’m rooting for his return to music to be a successful one.
I had the opportunity to speak with Carter recently about his upcoming tour and recent theatre stint in “The Fantasticks,” and he sounded like a determined performer ready to prove himself on the stage once again.
As someone who was also a teenager when “Aaron’s Party” initially stormed the airwaves, the nostalgia factor was too intriguing to ignore.
Question: How did your time in the theatre prepare you for a return to music?
Carter: It was a very good experience. It helped me boost my endurance and get rid of a lot of bad habits. I quit smoking recently and have been practicing my craft, so it was definitely good for me.
Question: How has your opinion of the industry changed since your teen years?
Carter: I have pretty much the same take as before. I know that social media has changed the game, but I still connect with my fans on Twitter as well as perform every year. My fans are looking for nostalgia and that’s exactly what they’ll get when they come see me. One of my favorite moments was being asked to sing with Michael Jackson and I want to recapture that excitement this time around. I’ve also sang with Usher, Celine Dion, and other greats in the business, so I’m thankful for that.
Question: What can fans expect during the upcoming show?
Carter: They can expect all the songs that they grew up listening to. I’ll play four or five songs from each of my albums.
Question: What made you decide to tour again?
Carter: It felt like the right time to get back out there. Someone actually came to me and said they were putting together a tour for me, so I was able to get a band and dancers together. I’m also going to be bringing a girl up on stage to sing to every night, so it’s going to be the real thing.
Question: How do you think audiences will respond given that you’ve been away for a while?
Carter: I hope they stay connected, because I’ve always been in touch with them. So far, they’ve been excited, so it should be great. I’ve always been good to my fans and they’ll remember that when they come to the show.
Question: What made you decide to take a break from touring to begin with?
Carter: I don’t know if I wanted to or it just happened. I turned 18 and wanted to begin figuring out how to live on my own, so I got away from it for a while.
Question: Do you have any plans to record new material in the future?
Carter: Absolutely. I’m always writing or thinking of songs, so I’ll definitely be in the studio in between shows.
You can catch Aaron Carter with What is This, Nikki Flores, and Justin Levinson at The Forum inside the Maple Entertainment Complex on February 23.
See www.ticketweb.com for details.