As they get to work on their 10th album, the Backstreet Boys are revealing that they’re calling on some of music’s biggest names for possible collaborations!
“We’re reaching out to people who we were always inspired by or who may have been fans and we didn’t even know,” AJ McLean shares with ET. “We’ve all made friends with different people. Nick’s been talking to Steve Aoki, Howie talked to Zedd, who’s been a big, big fan [and] Diplo, we’ve also talked to. We’ve also done stuff with The Chainsmokers and those guys are amazing and out in Vegas with a residency as well, so who knows.”
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The quintet, who appears on CMT Crossroads with Florida Georgia Line on Aug. 30, has also been in discussions with mega-producer Timbaland, who joined them in the studio earlier this month. The session stemmed from the hitmaker serving as a Boy Band architect alongside Nick Carter, who describes the GRAMMY winner as an “incredible human” whom they would love to work with.
“We’re talking with a bunch of producers and seeing what makes the most sense and this made a lot of sense since Nick’s been working with [Timbaland] on Boy Band,” Howie Dorough says. “We’re all huge fans of him and we’ve never had a chance to work together, so we were just talking and vibing to see if it might make sense to [record] together.”
“He said he’s pretty much worked with everybody except us and was like, ‘I’m not sure how that fell through the cracks,’” adds McLean. “I told him, ‘Dude, it’s overdue!’”
While the group has been tearing up the country charts with their Florida Georgia Line collaboration, “God, Your Mama, and Me,” and have now turned their eyes to Timbaland and various EDM stars, McLean is confident their upcoming record won’t steer away from BSB’s signature sound.
“I can definitely say with complete faith that this album’s going to go back to what’s true about the group -- great melodies, great songs, great harmony,” McLean says. “I don’t think we’re going to try to go outside of who we are. This has been working, so let’s stick to what we know!”
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Having signed a new contract with RCA Records -- following the independent release of their previous album, In a World Like This -- McLean added that having “one captain as opposed to five,” has been a blessing and helped smooth the record-making journey.
While their recent Boy Band performance -- part of an architects’ medley which also featured Emma Bunton performing her Spice Girls hit, “Say You’ll Be There” -- reignited talk of a potential BSB-Spice Girls tour, the band reiterated there are no immediate plans to share a stage with Baby Spice again.
However, sharing the dance floor at a club would be a different matter -- if their paths cross again. The Boys recalled partying with the girl group over the years and even confessed to some secret old crushes on Bunton and her bandmates!
“I wasn’t crushing on them as much as Howie,” Carter dishes. “But they were all super cute and we were around each other a lot over in the U.K. There were so many parallels, and I like to say it was us, the Spice Girls and Hanson who really broke pop radio around that time, so there’s a bond that’s there, even though we haven’t spent a lot of time together. Now that I’ve done the show with Emma, she really knows who I am and I know who she is as a person now, and that’s really special.”
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McLean also reveals that he thought Victoria Beckham and Geri Halliwell were “so gorgeous and hot,” adding that Dorough “talked about Baby Spice all the time.”
“We were young and single, so I used to catch up with them at festival shows and go partying,” Dorough explains. “We used to go to this place Momo, a Moroccan food place, and downstairs they have music and a band. Baby Spice was reminding me today about the last time we were all in the U.K. and she was like, ‘Last time we were together, we were salsa dancing downstairs.’ There must have been some alcohol consumed because I don’t remember this too much! As she said it, I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I kind of remember...’”
“But they’re great girls, we respect them a lot and we’d love to do something with them in the future if it all works out,” Dorough continues. “It would be a fun collaboration.”
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In the meantime, as the guys work on their new album, they will continue their record-breaking Larger Than Life residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, with their next run of dates kicking off on Nov. 8.
As for whether Boy Band winners In Real Life -- comprised of Brady Tutton, Chance Perez, Drew Ramos, Michael Conor and Sergio Calderon -- might make a cameo at their next Las Vegas run, Dorough jokes they could “probably swing them some tickets.”
After more than two decades together, their biggest advice to the new group, aside from getting a good lawyer, is to always prioritize their music. “If you don’t have the hits and the music, no one’s going to care,” McLean says. “So, believe in yourself and stay in your own lane. Even the guys who didn’t make it [should] keep going and not get discouraged because they’re all going to be super successful at some point.”
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“The boy band thing is never going away, even though people may want it to,” McLean adds. “So, get used to it, world! We never went away – it’s been 24 years!”
Check out Dorough, Carter, McLean and bandmates Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell help a fan propose to his girlfriend at a meet-and-greet at their Las Vegas show in the video below.