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Interview:
98 Degrees at Sound Board, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

98 Degrees is making it a happy holiday for its fans.

During October, the pop vocal quartet released “Let It Snow,” its first holiday album since “This Christmas” in 1999. The set features favorites plus a new song “Season Of Love,” and the group accompanies it with a themed tour highlighting material from albums as well as hits such as “Because of You,” “The Hardest Thing,” “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” and the chart-topping “Thank God I Found You.”

“Let It Snow” is also the group’s second album since reuniting in 2012, though the four singers work hard these days to balance the group with their other creative endeavors as well as their private lives.

Here are five things to know about 98 Degrees this year:

• The holiday tour is a new, and welcome, endeavor for 98 Degrees this year. “We’ve done Jingle Balls and things like that for radio stations, but we’ve never done a 98 Degrees Christmas tour, so this is a first for us,” Drew Lachey, 41 — who won the second season of “Dancing With The Stars” — says by phone. “So we built a show for that, but we made it so it’s not the typical pop concert where it’s like, ‘All right, get up! Get up! Make some noise! Scream!!!’ It isn’t that kind of show. There are more theatrical elements to it, more of an ebb and flow to it than would be involved in a normal show.”

• The “Let It Snow” album is an outgrowth of 98 Degrees’ 20th anniversary celebration this year. “We started thinking about how we were going to celebrate this year,” Lachey recalls, “and the idea came up of doing a Christmas record. The first one we did 18 years ago is a project we’re very, very proud of. We figured enough time’s passed where we can do another one and people won’t be like, ‘What?! They just released one.’ So we figured out what we could do to make some songs that people have heard a million times sound new and unique and signature to us, and we came up with a project that, again, we’re very proud of.”

• The album’s new song, “Season Of Love,” is a reaction to current events. “We were sitting down to write a song and we had all these ideas around,” Lachey says, “and with the state of the world and the country and everything being so divided we came up with the idea of taking this generous, joyful time of year, where everybody is thinking about their neighbor and donating and being charitable and volunteering and all these great things. Why don’t we take this moment and this feeling in this month and stretch it all year ’round, embrace the season of love — not just the Christmas season, but a whole season of love. That’s what it’s about.”

• As for two decades of 98 Degrees, Lachey notes that, “We crammed a lot into those 20 years. It’s seems like I’ve known the guys my entire life — (brother) Nick I obviously have. But, honestly, we’re having more fun and appreciating each other more now than we ever did in our 20s. I think with a little bit of age and maturity comes perspective and wisdom. We’re able to look back on things and appreciate opportunities we’ve been given and blessed with. We don’t take everything as seriously as we did back then, like, ‘Oh, if you don’t go Top 10 with this single the world is gonna end!’ Now we’re just enjoying life and family and we appreciate each other more and we’re having more fun.”

• Lachey and company are also starting to think about what they want 98 Degrees’ next 20 years to look like. “We’ve all got individual projects and aspirations we’re trying to accomplish and achieve at the same time,” says Lachey, who operates a nonprofit arts foundation with his wife in Cincinnati and is also active in the local film commission. “That’s the beauty of it is we’ve been able to find the balance where we’re able to go and do our own things and then come back and do this together. I think new music’s a possibility, maybe an annual holiday tour. As long as we’re enjoying it and continuing to have fans embrace this, we’ll keep doing it.”



• If You Go: 98 Degrees performs at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, at Sound Board in the MotorCity Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $46-$58. Call 866-783-9622 or visit soundboarddetroit.com.

Web Site: www.soundboarddetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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