Aaron Carter: Talks New Music, Justin Bieber, and Giving Back
The world was introduced to Aaron Carter when his music career took off over a decade ago — he was still just single digits in age and battling it out on the international pop charts with his older brother Nick from the Backstreet Boys. There have been ups and downs in both his personal and professional life, we caught a glimpse of such in the E! reality television series “House of Carters” in 2006 where the cameras followed the estranged Carter siblings (Aaron, Nick, and three of their sisters) as they reconnected their relationships. Later on, Aaron showed off his fancy footwork as part of the “Dancing with the Stars” season nine cast.
These days the 23-year-old singer is back to working on his music and helping out with causes close to his heart. Check out what Aaron had to say when we caught up with him at a benefit show in New Jersey!
Tell us about the show tonight!
Yeah, absolutely. It’s just me performing by myself. It’s kind of like a one-man-band type of thing and there’s going to be all new songs.
What made you decide to do it…it’s a charity event, right?
Well, Four Years Go – what this concert is about is raising awareness about what we can do to prevent like crazy stuff happening. It’s all about the next four years, there will be an introductory video to everybody out there [watch the video here]. This video is a concert to benefit Four Years Go, which means the next four years we have is a time where we can do something to make a difference of how everything goes in the world, you know. The population, economics, and just world crisis stuff. There’s a lot more to it and a lot more than everyone is still learning and everyone is still participating. It’s more of an economic, crisis type of thing, you know?
And you have another show in New York?
Yeah, it’s in New York and it’s more of a smaller, intimate type show. It’s for Audrianna, this little girl who has Neuroblastoma Cancer. Anytime there’s a charity or something that I can be a part of to raise money, to help this girl and her family pay for the expenses…
She’s very young!
She’s like five years old.
That’s so sad, but she’s a fighter for someone so small she’s really strong. I don’t know if I could take on something like that, but it’s the hand you’re dealt.
Yeah, especially put yourself in the parents’ situation. It’s their child and it means a lot to them that I help them out. Anything that I can do and anything that everyone else can do. [Help Audrianna’s family here]
You said that we’ll hear some new music tonight. What can we expect and when will we hear some new songs on iTunes?
Oh, wow! If you want to know when to expect new songs on iTunes, follow Johnny Wright.. WEG (@wegmusic) and ask him. [Laughs] He’s my manger and he’ll tell you. [Laughs] No, we’re just taking our time with the project right now, and just getting everybody back into it. I’m going to be doing more shows promoting some of the stuff that’s going to be on the new album before we release it. There’s going to be a lot more shows that come up before there’s any album out, but the album will be out soon. I’ve just been focusing on the music, that’s the most important part in who I am as a musician, who I am as an artist, and how it’s going to make any sense and be related in my life. It’s going to be who I am.”
We’re excited! Honestly, I’ve been following your career since I was nine years-old.
I’m not even kidding. [Laughs]
And how old are you now?
23 yrs old.
Oh, wow. Yes!
How would you say your musical style has changed since then? Because the first song I ever heard you sing was “Shake It”.
Oh wow! [Laughs, looks at the camera] She’s really been following since she was nine. That’s fourteen years people! That’s a lot. That’s dedication. Well, how has it evolved since “Shake It”? [Laughs] It’s evolved a lot, I mean music has changed. A lot of music has gone through a whole bunch of changes, I mean there’s stuff out there that I listen to and I’m like “What the heck is this? This is terrible!” or “What is this? This is great.” But my music in particular is more of an R&B-Pop crossover.
I’m also leaning towards an Urban style because that’s kind of… like what’s in my heart. Like an Urban sound, you know big kicks, big 808’s, and big production. A lot of piano, a lot of strings, you know just a big overall sound with good top line melodies that are catchy, and where there’s actual subjects to talk about that are meaningful.
You’ve worked with a lot of artists over the years. Who is someone that you haven’t worked with that you’d like to?
Ah, somebody that I haven’t worked with. Um, let’s see…I would say…well, I was going to say Justin Timberlake, but I did work with Justin. He did- they did the background vocals on “Surfin’ U.S.A”, him and ‘NSYNC. [Laughs] I don’t know if you guys know that.
I actually didn’t know that!
You didn’t know that? [Laughs] Yeah, on my first album. It’s funny because ‘NSYNC did the background vocals on “Surfin’ U.S.A” and then on “Swing It Out”, the Backstreet Boys did the background vocals. [Laughs] I had both of them on my album and they were backup singers- that’s great.
You had Brian and Nick on one of your songs too, I think. I think I’m right about that.
No, I had Nick on one…well; Nick’s been on a couple of songs.
On your first album.
Yeah, “Ain’t That Cute”. Brian and Nick, they wrote my song for me with Gary Carolla, I think it was. [watch the video]
That was fun, but you know times have changed. [Laughs]
Dancing with the Stars kicked off the new season this week, are you tuning in?
Yeah, actually I did.
Who did you like?
Oh, oh my gosh – who did I like? If I can be honest, let me go back and recap in my head.
I kind of liked Karina and Ralph, they were good.
Yeah! Karina is definitely…I hope she’s being nice to him. [Laughs]
Yes, [Laughs] I know. I know she’s tough. Those Russian-Ukrainian’s man. Whoo- they’re tough ones. Let’s see…I actually did like Ralph and Karina. I thought they were great, I really did. I thought they were awesome.
Do you think he might take it?
I hope so! I mean, I know Karina really wants to win. [Laughs] I know that.
We honestly thought you could’ve gone further in the competition. You were one of our favorites of that season. What was your favorite performance? I know mine, but what was yours?
Thank you. My favorite performance was the Argentine Tango because I got to be really sexual with Karina. [Laughs] No, it was definitely my favorite one, the Argentine Tango. The Muppet one was good.
That’s the one! That’s my favorite, I love that one.
The Muppet dance was fun too. It seemed like it went by so quick, like all of a sudden I [makes kiss sound] kissed her on the shoulder, I smiled, and then it was over and I was like ‘wow’. But, I guess when something goes by quick like that.. We had fun; we did a great job together. It was awesome…it was a good competition. [watch the video]
There have been many times where you have actually been compared, and he has been called the ‘new Aaron Carter’ – Justin Bieber. How do you feel about that?
Well, I mean it’s flattering. He’s out there doing a great job, he’s got a good team around him, and hopefully he keeps in good spirits.
So, you’re cool with that?
Of course- absolutely; I mean there was a time that that happened too where um… [watch the video]
(We were then interrupted by the venue caterer with a plate full of fruit for Aaron.)
A few years ago you did a reality show with your brothers and you sisters, “House of Carters”. Now aside from reality competitions, would you do another reality show where they peek into your personal life like that?
Yeah, just as long as my brother wasn’t involved. [Laughs]
Did they really roll the entire time or did you ever a break away from it?
No, they pretty much rolled the entire time.
I don’t know how I could imagine a camera on me all the time.
Yeah, there was really nothing you could do. I remember my sister, my sister BJ, was like hiding in closets and stuff ’cause she couldn’t take it. [Laughs] Everybody was like ‘where did BJ go?!’ and I knew where she was and she was like sitting in the closet on her Sidekick or something like that just talking to people.
Oh, the Sidekick…
Yeah, [Laughs] back then the Sidekick was goin’ down.
You’re going to be an Uncle, are you excited?
I know! Any day now. I’m so happy for my sister, Leslie. You know, she’s been married for like six years now with her husband and he’s a great guy. I couldn’t be more proud of her. Leslie’s a very talented, a very, very talented artist. She’s very amazing at writing, very amazing at composing, and just amazing at being an overall good sister.
We wouldn’t mind seeing you guys perform.
Yeah, yeah we might do something!
You’re on Twitter and you communicate a lot with your friends which a lot of celebrities have Twitters, but they don’t all talk to their fans. Do you try to answer everybody or are there particular tweets that will catch your eye?
No, it’s definitely like particular tweets that catch my eye. I mean sometimes, you know, it just depends. At the same token, on the flip side of things I try to answer as many people as I can too. But, it’s weird though because sometimes when I start answering a lot of people, there are people that will stop following me. I don’t really care though because if you’re getting upset at me for communicating with my fans, then don’t follow me. I’ll end up blocking you anyway.
You can’t please everybody! I actually like Twitter; I think it’s really cool. I would’ve loved to have had it when I was a kid and wanted to talk to my favorite singers. That would’ve been awesome to have that.
Twitter isn’t just for ‘tweeting’, I get addicted to those little hashtag games where you have to fill in those things that everybody catches onto.
Oh yeah, I do too!
Speaking of those fun things- have you ever heard of @LMAOTwitPics?
Oh, my gosh… it is the best Twitter ever! You know when you’re out there, you see people and you’re like ‘What the heck are they wearing?’ ‘What are they doing?’ You just see those random funny things. @LMAOTwitPics has them all and you won’t be able to stop laughing the entire time!
Yeah, you have to check it out.
I will! I’ll follow you @LMAOTwitPics. [Laughs]
Rebecca Black has been trending for an entire week. Japan isn’t trending anymore and yet Rebecca Black is. How do you feel about the song “Friday”? Have you heard it?
Oh, yes! I heard it last night and, you know, ‘no comment’. [Laughs] I have to say ‘no comment’ because if I… yeah, it’s crazy what the music is coming to.
It seems a little bit easier for artists to get out there with YouTube. Do you think kids have more of an advantage now with YouTube than what you had when you were younger?
Oh yeah, there wasn’t YouTube…there was barely internet.
There wasn’t really any marketing online.
There was barely internet when I first started. Actually I don’t even think there was internet, I mean what was it? AOL? IM? [Laughs] Yeah, and you know the Apple computers with the colored things, the colored backs. I mean the internet definitely takes over the whole industry. It can work to people’s advantage or it cannot work to their advantage.
Do you have any advice for young kids who are trying to get out there now?
My advice for young kids trying to get out there now, I mean…it’s hard. Continue to do what you love, if you love being a performer- do it. You can’t always please everybody, you know I can’t always expect to please everybody and I don’t try. I try to make sure that I’m happy, and not just content, I’m actually really happy. You know, jubilant. I actually have a good feeling about what I do and it’s not for everybody else. [watch the video]
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us. I appreciate it, and like I said…it’s crazy! Nine years old and now… [laughs]
Yeah, you’re welcome. Thank you.
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photography: Chanelle Justice ©FANVASION