Words by Tiffany Lam, with files from Lauren Lyford
Interview by Kelsey Hall
Photos by Tiffany Lam
*This interview can also be found on page 22-27 of Issue 15*
AARON CARTER, best known as the teen hearthrob of the 1990s who sang the story about his party, his candy or how he beat Shaq. Hit songs “I Want Candy”, “Come Get It (Aaron’s Party)”, and “That’s How I Beat Shaq”, are back.
Twelve years later, Carter is back on a non-stop 11-month North American tour as a new young man ready to prove everyone he’s still got it. With a show and meet & greet nearly every night, we managed to score some time to get to know a little bit more about his recent endeavors.
Carter has been recently on the road for “The After Party Tour” where he headlined 33 shows across North America, followed by later announcing 133 more to total 166 shows in 11-months. Dubbed his comeback tour, the first big tour since 2005, he performs songs from “Aaron’s Party” all the way up to his newest songs. Carter opens up to us, starting with his first show of the tour.
“[It was] surreal, I never thought I would still have all of my fans when I got back, but I did, so it was a dream come true.”
Carter has some exciting goals and plans for himself hopefully happening in the very near future. With his recent comeback tour and sixteen years of experience, he has been working on showing everyone he’s back with much more to offer.
Coming back after an eight-year touring hiatus, Carter has proven himself to be back as a new better person, yet still the same young playful boy at heart we had all seemingly forgotten. Much to Carter’s surprise, his fans—though all grown up—were still there. To most, a delightful revisit to exciting childhood days.
Before this huge 2013 headlining tour, Aaron had recently been on an off-Broadway play called The Fantastics, performing in over 400 shows — touring as himself here and there on the side. What he gathers the most from this experience was being able to meet a few people and make his way back into the swing of things again.
“People started seeing my work ethic and they helped me put together a tour.”
Carter tells us he still loves performing all his classic 1990s hits even today. “It’s amazing. They lose their mind and sing all the lyrics; it’s been a really cool experience to see the fans reactions to me singing the songs they grew up [listening to]”, he adds.
“I wanted to reconnect with everyone first and show the fans that I’m back”, before releasing any new music, he explained, adding that making new music is still very much a priority. Step by step, starting with the comeback tour, Carter seems to be making smart decisions. While he mostly performs old songs and covers, he promises that more new music is on the way.
“I play the songs from my past and I just want them to see the performer I am now.”
He says his new music is going to be different, with a sound direction more towards Bruno Mars. When asked about any collaborations, he mentions hopefully working with Big Time Rush soon.
Getting back into the hang of things can be hard, especially with how much word there’s been about Carter over the past years, but there is no doubt he still holds a strong determination and passion for music and is headed in the right direction towards a brighter future.
He aims to translate to his fans how he has grown, what he has become today, and what he has still to offer. With an optional meet & greet after every show and a strong online presence, he admirably devotes the extra time to interact and rekindle his relationship with his fans no matter where he is.
Regardless of how tired he is or how early he has to be up the next day, Carter was ready to trade an hour of extra sleep to meet his fans outside the venue.
“I feel like I just needed a chance to be able to be more intimate with them, connect with them on a more personal level. It’s giving them the chance to get that one on one.”
Attending a show, his new act was mighty impressive. Admittedly, coming to the show I didn’t have high expectations; I simply thought it would be amusing to hear some of the fun pop songs I grew up listening to. Instead, my expectations were far surpassed. It was enjoyable and inspiring, and I was completely blown away. A true performer. There was just so much emotion, and with his playful interaction with the crowd, I could see and feel his passion and joy of performing. It was honest and genuine. He was back in his zone and doing what he loved most.
It seems with Carter’s comeback it’s more than just about his music, it’s his whole story. It’s about getting people to discover the grown-up Carter of 2013.
From Lou Pearlman to losing his sister to other family feuds and much word on the street, the 26-year old has undeniably been through a lot — and for someone to make such a positive return is nearly unheard of. But Aaron did it. With Carter back on the road with new goals and aspirations, he seems a lot more driven than I may have preconceived, and his many years of performing experience was easily evident within that single show I experienced.
What captivated me was his impressive performances covering Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”, Bruno Mars’ “Treasure” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”. Anyone can seemingly do this, but he knew exactly what he was doing and exactly how to captivate a crowd.
In spite of what judgemental haters may say about the past, Aaron Carter today is no joke — and pulling a Celine Dion with nearly a performance every night for 11 straight months, he’s as real as it gets.
He can sing well. He can perform well. He may be considered a has-been, but no one can say the man does not still have talent. Period. While he may not be Beyoncé or Bruno Mars, he can definitely still make a career for himself performing.
“It’s really nice to see the support [given to] me and it’s been an amazing feeling to see [the fans’] reactions. It’s been a lot of work with all the non-stop touring but it’s all worth it.”
Despite having once been a teen pop star with the high life, he was not at all arrogant or rude in person like diva-stars Justin Bieber, Kanye West or K-OS may have been. He seemed mature, down-to-earth, and constantly thankful for everything thus far.
After meeting Aaron Carter, seeing him perform from the sidelines and hearing out what he has to say, I could finally understand and see he’s just a happy, genuine and young-hearted man with a rocky past searching to recreate himself. All he’s asking for is another chance.
Check out photos from the Kingston, Ontario, CA show by Tiffany: