Backstreet Boys Talk Early Career Rejection & One Direction Competition
Being one of the biggest boy bands in history is no easy feat! When the Backstreet Boys sat down with Damon Scott backstage before their All-Star Christmas performance, they talked about the rejection they faced early on in their career, and the current competition from the boy bands of today.
The Backstreet Boys formed in 1993 at the beginning of the decade’s boy band boom. While some people predicted the group’s success, not everyone was initially on board with the start of the pop phenomenon.
“As a group we got rejected by Mercury Records,” explained Nick Carter, recalling BSB’s first potential major label deal. “We were about to sign with them, and I think John Cougar Mellencamp at the time was like, ‘If you sign those guys, I will never work again!’ We had not done anything up to that point. He just heard we were a boy band, and they were going to sign us, and he just didn’t want to be associated with it!”
The Backstreet Boys went on to become one of most popular groups of the decade, and one of the best-selling music groups of all time, moving over 130 million records worldwide and helping pave the way for today’s big boy bands such as One Direction and The Wanted. But twenty years later, BSB now face a new challenge… competing for airplay with those same groups that they helped pave the way for!
“I love the new song [One Direction] put out, ‘Story of My Life’,” said Howie Dorough. “But you hear these songs, and you hear them being played on the radio, and you are like, ’Wow, really… You can play them just because they are younger and have a little less wrinkles, but our songs are probably just as good, and can still be played right next to those songs.’ But we don’t get airplay… that is a little bit irritating.”
“It is a little bit unfair at times,” he continued. “Just because we are older, are we a ‘has-been’? Or are we still America’s first boy band, the ones they really love? I get it, [the new groups] are young, and it is a new generation, and the young kids are really loving them and enjoy them. We don’t expect for those kids to really listen to us. But at the same time, radio stations are playing will.i.am and people our same age still to this day… but we don’t get played as much.”
But the Backstreet Boys still boast a passionate and dedicated fan base. BSB’s tour in support of their latest release, In a World Like This, was one of the hottest tickets of 2013, and this year’s BSB cruise sold-out within 45 minutes of going on sale!
Said Dorough, “We were at VH1 the other day and we were looking at Entertainment Weekly magazine and it said, (referring to BSB) ‘Admit it, you like them!’”
Admit it. You still do!
–Tyler Roman, 96.5 TIC