Nick Lachey is feeling better, thank you. In May, the former 98 Degrees member released his second solo album, “What’s Left of Me,” a heart-rending, spleen-venting chronicle of his split from wife Jessica Simpson. His pain proved popular; the album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard charts and has since been certifi ed gold.
Lachey, meanwhile, has gotten it out of his system. His divorce from Simpson is final. He’s dating MTV VJ Vanessa Minnillo, co-owns the American Basketball Association team the Hollywood Fame and has embarked on his first solo tour. And he has no problem recounting his romantic tribulations in song.
“I think I’m in a vastly different place in my life than I was then,” says Lachey, 32. “At the time (‘What’s Left of Me’) was written and recorded, I was living those moments. Now those songs just represent a memory, a moment in time that’s come and gone, and I think, emotionally, I’m not invested in those the way I’m sure I was a that time.
“I think for me to go out and be as emotionally fragile as I was when I wrote them and then go out and do a live show wouldn’t be very entertaining for anyone. I think it’s probably a good thing I’m a little bit removed from them now.”
The hardest part, he says, is that the rest of the world — and particularly the tabloid and celebrity media — still seem to be stuck in that place.
“I think everyone involved has moved on, and it’d be nice if everyone else moved on as well,” Lachey says. “It is frustrating; I think people want to talk about the past more than the present and the future — which is where my head’s at.
“But you cant do anything about it. It’s out of your control. There’s no sense worrying about it.”
Instead, the Kentuckyborn Lachey, who came to fame in the late ’90s with the group 98 Degrees (which also included his brother and “Dancing with the Stars” secondseason champ Drew), is focusing on his career.
The tour, his fi rst-ever as a solo artist, is his primary concern right now. Lachey has carefully constructed a set comprised mostly of material from “What’s Left of Me” and his first solo album, 2003’s “Soul-O,” as well as “a couple of cover things I’m really excited about” and some 98 Degrees favorites that he’s performing “in a way that’s different ... we’re not really doing it full-blown.”
“My goal with this show,” Lachey explains, “is to make it kind of intimate and interactive. I think doing theaters really allows you an opportunity to make the audience really feel a part of it as opposed to sitting far away and making a spectacle out of it. I feel like there’s an opportunity to make them feel like they’re part of the show.”
Another album is on the horizon, though Lachey says he hasn’t started thinking about that yet. His next move may be back to the small screen; he’s working his third TV pilot, which Lachey hopes to pitch for the 2007 fall season. He describes the show as “definitely comedic in tone,” and, not surprisingly, he confirms that the last thing he wants to do after his experience with Simpson on MTV’s “The Newlyweds” is anything in the reality realm.
“If anything I want to go into a more scripted kind of conventional acting situation,” Lachey says. “I’m not really interested in doing another reality type of scenario. I just can’t see doing anything that intrusive again.”
And, Lachey adds, he’s not soured on marriage and has hopes to one day start a family.
“More goals of mine are in the personal world, and those are the things I’ve yet to achieve,” he says. “Career-wise I feel like I’ve been fortunate enough to do so much, and I feel really great with where I’m at.
“I don’t really have any expectations or goals at this point of trying to make things happen. My mentality now is just to take it day by day and see where it leads me.”
Nick Lachey performs at 7 Sunday (September 24th) at the Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway, Detroit. Tickets are $44.50 and $32.50. Call (313) 961-3500 or visit
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