Chances are no one currently knows what Aaron Carter’s horny level is. It is a secret the Backstreet-brother and Shaq-conquering crooner keeps heavily guarded. What we do know is that Carter performs Tuesday at Teaneck, NJ’s Mexicali Live, and that his career has lasted longer than anyone might have predicted. We spoke to Carter about revisiting his earlier years, his hip-hop cred and whether or not his rematch with Shaq was fixed.
Your new track “Where Do We Begin” captures the transition of summer-into-autumn and deals with perpetuating a summer romance. That in mind, how was your summer?
My summer was phenomenal! I got to spend the summer with fans, it was consistent work with a new venue everyday. That’s what I like, when I’m on the road so much. I’ve toured so many times that it’s weird when I’m not touring. From 10-15 I had done probably ten headlining tours and probably been on 3-4 other tours with Britney Spears or my brother. Being on the road is where I want to be. When you’re on the road, there’s always something new happening. Home is where my heart is and my heart is with my fans. And if I can bring a couple other things with me like my dog and my older sister doing my merchandise, it’s kind of like a family thing.
Are there any issues with bringing your dog on tour?
None yet. I’m sure there will be something that happens, probably when we go to Canada I’m guessing there’s going to be some issues.
Your dog has a felony?
(laughs) No, I think going into Canada, don’t they have to quarantine them, or is that other countries? I can tell you Nick has his pug with him on tour, so I can just call him up and ask him “When you went to Canada, did you bring Nacho with you?”
The name of your current tour is the After Party Tour. Is this a reference to your single “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)?”
Of course it is. I came up with the concept and put it to fruition and put it out there and it ended up happening.
You’ve always had a strong hip-hop influence in your work. Do you recall being first introduced to hip-hop?
Yes I do, by my older sister and my brother. I was born in 1987, so when I was ten-years-old Tupac was really big, Bone Thugs was really big. I listened to Shyne and a lot of R&B groups like Blackstreet. It was weird because my dad would get upset if I was listening to hip-hop. He caught me listening to N.W.A. one time and got really mad at me. It wasn’t really his kind of music.
At what point did you really bring the rapping element into your songs?
Well, on the first album I had done one rap track called “Get Wild” with a lot of words in it that a ten-year-old kid should not have even known. The producer and the A&R, Steve Lunt at Jive Records, really kind of said let’s take the approach and do something a little different. He had a vision for me trying to be the flyest kid on the block and they took a lot of what my personality was and put it to the lyrics.
After that took off, you wound up being parodied on Saturday Night Live by Mena Suvari. What was it like being that young and seeing yourself parodied?
For me, I was just like “this was kind of weird.” I didn’t really watch TV that much and wound up seeing it years later. I don’t think I saw it when we first came out, we were working so much. I thought it was funny. They were making fun of me on SNL, that must be pretty cool then.
Your single “That’s How I Beat Shaq” was also huge around that time. You linked back up with Shaquille O’Neal this past summer on TruTV for a rematch. Have you always had a good relationship with him?
Actually, I haven’t really spoken to him all that much. Shaq is a very busy guy. All his commercials, he don’t stop working. When I saw him, it was like I saw him all over again, like when I was 12. It was funny, except he really wanted to beat me very badly. I thought that was cool that he remembered all that stuff, and I’m sure he hears about it all the time. Shaq came up with the concept of having me involved and had his people reach out to me and I was like “Of course I’ll do that for Shaq.”
You were in a pretty memorable episode of MTV Cribs in a Tupac shirt and showing off your vinyl collection. Did you hear much from your musical heroes?
Oh yeah, LeAnn Rimes recently reached out to me. There’s plenty of people who still know who I am and support what I’m doing, but I don’t really look around for that. A lot of artists know what I’ve done and see I’m coming back and hope it goes right. A lot of people also look at it and want to see you fail, but that’s just motivation to be the best that I can and stay on a good path and be good to all the people around me. It all stems from hitting a rock bottom. I can’t sit here and tell you that that didn’t happen to me because that happened to me and this tour was a blessing because I had been trying to get out on tour and finally my hard work was showing. I was doing an Off-Broadway play…
The Fantastiks, right?
Yeah, I did that and, honestly, I only planned to do that for three months, and I did that for a year and six months. A booking agent saw the hard work I was doing and wanted to book me for a tour.
Do you think there’s any misconceptions about you?
Oh yeah, tons of misconceptions. People think I’ve done crazy drugs, and that’s not the case. People have accused me of doing crack or meth and I’ve never touched any of that stuff in my life. When I was 18 to 21 I was smoking a lot of cigarettes and that wasn’t really healthy for me which left the room open for people to be judgmental. There’s nothing you can really do about that, and if they want to make stuff up about me I really try not to pay attention to it. Their intention isn’t good and that’s enough for me not to pay attention to it.
Do you have any songs of yours that you’re particularly proud of that you wish more people knew about?
Yeah, I guess I would say “Do You Remember.” It was written by the guy who did The Script, his name was Danny who had tried for a long time to breakthrough and eventually did with a band called The Script, but before he did that, he did that song for me.