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Backstreet Boys’ Howie Dorough Says Fans Will Get to Know Him 100% on ‘Back to Me’ Solo Album

Backstreet Boys' Howie Dorough
Chung Sung-Jun, Getty Images

After spending well over a decade as a member of the Backstreet Boys, touring the planet and releasing successful records time and time again, Howie Dorough knew it was time to spread his wings a little bit and fly solo. The 38-year-old iconic pop star is setting the stage to make his individual debut with a new album, ‘Back to Me,’ and a hip new single, ’100,’ to match — but don’t worry girls, the Backstreet Boys are alive and well.

PopCrush caught up with the ridiculously nice and modest BSB star, who dished exclusive details on his new record. Howie D. promises that he’s laying it all out through his music, and that fans will have a chance to learn about who he is as a person and what he’s all about with his premiere release. As if that’s not enough, PopCrush is giving one lucky fan a chance to get to know Howie even better with a one-on-one Skype session, a load of merch and admittance to Howie’s first ever private online concert through Stage It. You can get more information on the ’100 Reasons We Love Howie D.’ contest — including deets on how to enter — right here.

Did we mention that Howie is planning to tour by the beginning of 2012? Hold onto your seats, Backstreet Boys fans, because this boy-bander is about to take center stage for the first time ever. ‘Back to Me’ is slated for release on Nov. 15.

Let’s talk about your first solo single, ’100.’ We love it, it’s really catchy! How has it been received so far?
First of all, thank you guys for getting involved with me on the contest. I’m really excited about it. The title, ’100,’ has really spun off into so many different things, it’s kind of crazy how catchy it’s gotten — between just the meaning behind the song, which so many people have taken in so many directions, and even asked me how I feel about it. To me, it feels like such a great song out of the box. You know, being a member of the Backstreet Boys then venturing on a solo career, definitely when I heard it, it reminded me of a great summer song. Like I said, the message behind it I can definitely relate to myself — whatever I do, whether it’s work, a relationship, whatever I do I always give 100%. So, the ’100′ to me, you know, besides the 100 kisses — which, I’m partly Latin so I love giving kisses anyways — it definitely has a lot of meaning behind it.

So regarding the ’100 Reasons We Love Howie D.’ contest, what sort of response have you gotten so far? Any memorable videos submissions?
Actually, they’re starting to come in. It’s quite funny, you can tell … My friends have noticed, they follow me on Twitter and everything, they joke with me about the 100 things they like about me and the dislikes. They can actually add in dislikes as well. [Laughs] But definitely the fans have really gotten excited about it. I think it’s going to be a fun thing. I’m really blessed to be in the group, the Backstreet Boys, and then at the same time the fans have been able to just give so much to us. For some reason they like me and my group and I’ve got lots of nicknames, like Sweet D, everything you can think of. I’ve got a lot of love for my fans out there. It’s great to see how they’re just compassionate and giving to the group.

Win an Exclusive Skype Session With Howie D.

How do you think your experience from being in a successful group will benefit your solo career?
Being a group member has definitely schooled me on what it’s like to be in the pop entertainment business. You know, traveling around the world doing concerts, getting to know the fans, the highs and the lows as well, but I think it has definitely seasoned me into a more professional entertainer. Even getting to know myself. You know, we all came from individual solo backgrounds, and we all had planned on — when the timing was right — to give each other the space to do individual projects, because we all believe that the stronger we are individually, the stronger we are with the group. I think the Backstreet Boys has been a great platform for all of us. To not only continue doing what we do best as a group, but to also give us a chance to spread our wings and get creative on our individual projects, which the fans now at this point are really asking for. Maybe 15 years ago it wouldn’t have been the first thing they would have asked for, but now after seven, eight records they want to get to know us individually as well.

New album, ‘Back to Me’ is going to drop in November. What can we expect from it?
Well, actually, I’ve put together an album that I feel very, very proud of. I worked on it about five years in the making. I initially started off in one direction, a little bit of a pop-Latin direction, because I wanted to explore my roots and my Latin family and just do something completely different from the Backstreet Boys. But over time, in between BSB tours, recording albums, [and] in my down time when I had time to work on it, I ventured more into a little bit closer to what people know me as as a Backstreet Boy: pop melodies. A lot of the fans say that they’re used to my voice having a sultry kind of sound, with the ballads and the mid-tempos, and I’ve definitely given them that, what they wanted, on there.

I did [also] have a chance to explore something that the Backstreet Boys started on last record and really dove more into it, which was the Euro-dance kind of feel. Very similar to the sounds of Taio Cruz and Usher, David Guetta, [and] Black Eyed Peas. I’m a big fan of loving to dance and loving positive music, I just want to get up and go out to a club, go out to have some fun and just enjoy life and be positive about things. That’s what I’m all about. I’ve got a lot of positive things in my life which I’ve been able to transfer into music on this record.

What do you think will surprise your fans the most about on your solo album?
It’s funny, with being in a group, lots of things about it are so overwhelming. At the same time, some of the fans get to know the group but get to know a little bit of each of us, whether it’s a part here or in a song, in a chorus, in a verse, in a video, a little bit in an interview — but a lot of times they don’t get to know us 100%. With this album, my fans are getting to know me 100%. It’s all my vocals, from the backgrounds to the leads, everything on there, I co-wrote about 3/4 of this album. You’ll get to know a lot of what’s going on in my headspace, things that are going on in my life. The biggest thing is, I think people always knew I could sing, but now from what I’m hearing from people who listen to the record is, ‘Wow, we knew you could sing, but we didn’t know you could sing that good!’ [Laughs] You get a chance to hear me 100% singing all of the vocals. I think people are really going to get a chance to know me, Howie D.

Can you tell us what the next single is going to be?
We’re actually right now in the process of choosing the next single. There’s a lot of good, positive feedback on a song called ‘Lie to Me,’ which is one of my favorite songs. ’100′ and ‘Lie to Me’ are both two songs that I didn’t write, but I’ve always been a big firm believer of, you know, a hit song can come from anywhere! I’ve never had shame of the game of being able to accept somebody else’s song and think that, ‘Hey, this could possibly be better than one of my other songs!’ or, ‘This is one of my favorite songs!’ ‘Lie to Me’ is one of my favorite songs. It has that sound that I think people can be like, ‘Wow, this could have been a BSB song for sure!’ But I was blessed to be able to use it for my solo record. It has kind of a pop-rock feel to it. A Euro-pop rock feel. It’s cool. The message behind it is one I think a lot of people can relate to.

People can interpret it in many different ways, but for me, when I listen to it, it’s about a person who’s so in love with this girl and she may just not be the right person for him, but he just doesn’t care. He wants to be lied to, to be told that she’s right for him, because he’s just so in love with her. A lot of people can look back at their choices and see that even though it felt so right, a lot of people said it was so wrong, but they just believed so much in their heart that it was right. Maybe they had to go on and get hurt, to make the wrong decision, they were just willing to do it. That’s what this song is about.

Anyway, that’s a strong contender for the second single, but we’re seeking other songs. Over in Japan it will possibly be a duet that I just did over there. In Canada, there’s maybe even talks of another single. But overall, right now, it looks like ‘Lie to Me’ is the strongest contender.

Will there be a tour following the release of your album?
ABSOLUTELY! Absolutely. My first bit of touring will be promo, I’ll be going over to Japan in the first week of November, since the album release there is Nov. 9. Then I’ll be going to Canada, because for the rest of the world the release is Nov. 15. Then there’s some talks about me already doing some touring before the end of this year here on my own. If it doesn’t come together, then it will definitely be by the beginning of next year.

What was it like for you when BSB first got together with New Kids? They kind of set the stage for what you guys and ‘N Sync did later.
It was awesome! We definitely credit to those guys as being the first boy band before us. We were definitely all fans of them growing up. When they did their run and decided to take some time off, they passed the torch on and we took the torch and carried it on. We were excited to hear that they were coming back, and us all keeping pop music alive. They definitely had a lot of mutual respect for us. Throughout our career we’d see each one of them every so often, all the guys. We were on tour the same time they were on tour a couple of years ago — with our individual tours — and were crossing through New York at the same time. They asked if we’d be interested in coming on stage with them, because they were thinking of doing a tribute to us, singing a song called ‘I Want It That Way,’ and they asked if we would like to sing it with them, we were like, ‘Sure! Why would they even want to honor us?’ So we made this cool event out of it, and I think right there, it shocked so many of our fans. We both have done so much, now it’s about trying to do something different and trying to shock people. I think we did that. That sparked the idea of the joint tour.

Watch the Howie D. ’100′ Video

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