Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough on Why *NSYNC Should Return as Foursome, Joint Tour Talk & Going Solo (Exclusive)
By Leena Tailor
Following their show-stopping performance with Ariana Grande at Coachella, fans aren’t the only ones calling for *NSYNC to reunite, even if it’s without Justin Timberlake. Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough is sharing how he’s been encouraging the remaining members to consider reviving the boy band and is open to a joint tour someday.
“I’ve definitely talked with Joey [Fatone] before about us doing something,” Dorough, 45, told ET when asked about bandmate AJ McLean recently declaring how a joint Backstreet Boys/*NSYNC tour would cause fans to "lose their ever-living minds." “I’ve even encouraged them to go on themselves and keep performing. We were once four. I’m like, ‘Dude, if we can do it the four of us, so can you!’”
Backstreet Boys member Kevin Richardson left the band in 2006, before returning in 2012. Dorough admitted that it might be harder for *NSYNC to continue without Timberlake since he sang a large chunk of the group’s lead vocals back in the day, but believes they could still successfully make a comeback.
“Obviously, Justin was a main lead in that group so I know it’s a little bit different,” Dorough said. “With Kevin or myself, back in the day, it [wasn’t] as hard to go on as four. If it was Nick, AJ or Brian who had left, it might have been more challenging.”
“But I still think that there are fans out there, who would love to see them and who would hate for them not to continue on just because one other person is doing his own thing,” Dorough continued. “So, I’m always encouraging them -- and all the other groups from the past that are out there too. I feel like nowadays we only help each other continue the pop scene and the nostalgia.”
Indeed, the boy banders have formed strong bonds and supported each other over the years, despite talk of strong rivalry during their heyday. Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC members have attended each other’s weddings, turned up at each other’s concerts, written music for each other and starred together on the big screen, in Nick Carter’s 2016 film, Dead 7.
Fatone even hit the stage with Dorough and Richardson, performing covers like “Jessie’s Girl,” at a pre-party for the Kentucky Derby over the weekend.
*NSYNC isn't the only act who some fans would like to see the Backstreet Boys head out on tour with. There's also been much talk of a joint tour with the Spice Girls in recent years. However, for now, the quintet is busy with their DNA World Tour, kicking off in Portugal on Saturday before hitting the U.S. in July.
Dorough is also preparing for the long-awaited release of his solo, children’s album, Which One Am I? onJuly 12. The 12-track record chronicles the ups and downs of his childhood, with Dorough dropping the first single, “No Hablo Español,” on Friday, along with an adorable music video directed by Jimmie Roberts and starring Dorough's 10-year-old son, James. The cutie plays a young Dorough as he experiences bullying and cultural issues as a child. Dorough cameos as a guitar player, rocking out with James at the end, and the singer's mom, Paula Flores Dorough, plays herself, the grandmother.
“James is playing a younger version of me and my mom’s also in it, so it basically recreates the whole going to grandma’s house,” Dorough shared. “I went back home and did it in Orlando at Full Sail University, which is where we did one of our first Backstreet Boys recordings -- we recorded ‘I’ll Never Break Your Heart’ there.”
“It’s a school that does six-week programs for music engineering and filmmaking and they have their own back lot, where you feel like you’re at Universal Studios, so I try to support them as much as I can when I’m back home,” adds Dorough, who has also completed his second video and has students entering concept ideas into a contest for his third, “Monsters in My Head.” “It’s really cool working with them and seeing these young, up-and-coming people.”
Together with his album collaborators, musicians Tor Hyams and Lisa St. Lou, the record has also been adapted into a musical, Back in the Day, with Dorough playing himself in shows kicking off at the Rose Theater in Omaha, Nebraska, on Jan. 31. And, it’s no surprise who’s putting their hand up to play a young Dorough!
“James is like, ‘Daddy, can I play your part in the musical?'" laughs Dorough, who also has a 6-year-old son, Holden, with his wife of 11 years, Leigh.
It’s hardly surprising that young James is eager to star in the musical. Dorough shared how his boy had caught the showbiz bug during a 2017 interview with ET.
“Right now, he wants to be a singer,” he said at the time. “He wants to be the next Backstreet Boy and start his own group! I would support my kids in whatever they want to do, but it would be honoring and flattering if he did choose to become a singer.”
Which One Am I? is available for preorder here. See more on Dorough below.