In the late 1990s, Aaron Carter stole our preteen hearts and made his grand entry into the music scene. With his appearances on Disney and Nickelodeon, his classic hairstyle, and the release of hit singles like “How I Beat Shaq” and “I Want Candy,” Aaron captured a fanbase that has remained loyal to this day.
Starting his music career at the young age of 7, Aaron sang in a local band called Dead End but left two years later to start his pop career. In March 1997 he made his first solo appearance opening for the Backstreet Boys (his brother, Nick Carter, was a member). He soon became the life of the party with the release of his first album “Aaron’s Party” in 2000. The album sold over 1.5 million copies and went platinum later that year.
Through the early 2000s Aaron released hit after hit and made appearances on both film and television. After appearing on the E! reality series “House of Carters” in 2006, he left the pop-star spotlight to pursue other areas of show biz. Aaron has proven to be a man of many talents, appearing on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2009 and starring in the 2011 Off-Broadway production of “The Fantasticks.”
Last Wednesday Aaron brought the party back to his fans in New Haven with his “The After Party” tour stop at Toad’s Place. Yale’s 17O1 Records, Yale’s only student-run record label, was lucky enough to get an exclusive backstage interview with him before the show.
As we entered the room, Aaron and his crew were joking around and getting pumped up to 2 Chainz. However, as soon as he noticed us, Aaron smiled, came over to introduce himself and told his team to quiet down as we began to chat.
Q. Aaron, we’re really excited to see you perform tonight. Is this your first time in New Haven?
A. No, I don’t think it is. I can’t remember, to be honest with you. I’ve been to Connecticut quite a few times for some shows. I actually think I’ve been to this venue, I haven’t been able to figure it out yet. I’ll probably remember when I’m onstage. It’s a great place, though, a great venue. It’s got a lot of good vibes.
Q. A lot of people here have been fans of yours for quite a while, basically since you dropped “Aaron’s Party” in 2000. How do you think you’ve developed as an artist since then?
A. It’s been a great ride, I’ve developed in a lot of different ways. I’ve been able to get more involved in music and become a producer, and I’ve found different aspects that I really enjoy.
Q. Do you spend a lot of time producing now?
A. I do, I spend lots of time producing. But right now I’m just focusing on this tour and keeping myself healthy and, you know, keeping my mind on doing “The After Party” — focusing on this. And focusing on my album and releasing another CD.
Q. Before this album, your last three have been compilation albums. What’s in store? What can we expect from you now and in the future?
A. It’s going to take a few years, you know, to get around the world. I’m starting with America, probably will go to Europe and then the Philippines, South America, Southeast Asia, Mexico. … It’s not gonna stop. I’m gonna keep going, and going, and going, and going, everywhere.
Q. The music industry has changed a lot since 2000 when you first entered the scene. Now people are increasingly listening to dub step and DJs. What are your thoughts on dubstep?
A. I listen to all kinds of music. I listen to bluegrass, jazz music, dubstep — I listen to all kinds of music, so I respect all kinds of music. When it comes to dubstep it’s not particularly what I’m going to do. I do theme songs, you know? I do theme songs and fun records. It’s not so serious, it’s just fun. That’s what I’m known for, and that’s what I’m gonna stick to doing.
Q. If we were to look at your iPod right now, what would we see?
A. I don’t own an iPod, but if you looked at my recent YouTube playlist or something you would see, like, Wiz Khalifa on there, you’d see Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Miguel. You’d see One Direction, Justin Bieber — I listen to all those kids too — Cody Simpson, Austin Mahone. I listen to all that stuff.
Q. What’s the best way to listen to Aaron Carter — live or recorded?
A. Probably come to my concert [laughs]. I still sing all my songs in the same keys, I didn’t change them because I have a lower voice or something, it’s not like that.