Brian Littrell has finally come home.
He dedicated his first solo album, “Welcome Home,” to God. The born-again Christian singer, more commonly known as a member of the Backstreet Boys, grew up singing in church and credits his faith to the success he has had personally and professionally.
“I’ve always attributed my success to God and having this opportunity as a solo artist. My faith has always been the utmost important thing in my life,” Littrell tells andPOP over the phone from Atlanta.
The album was released last month and features 11 songs of contemporary Christian music ? six of which Littrell co-wrote.
“This record has been a three-year process in the writing and in forming the material I wanted to include,” he says. “It’s special to me. It’s 11 of my favourite songs.”
Littrell dedicates the song “Grace of My Life” to his wife Leighanne and his son, Baylee.
“It’s not necessarily just a small piece of who I am. It’s kind of every bit of who I am as a person, a husband and a father,” he says of his faith.
Littrell will be embarking on a small U.S. tour in support of the album.
Though he won’t be making it to Canada, he wants his Canadian fans to know that the country holds a special place in his heart.
When the Backstreet Boys began in 1993, they first hit it big in Europe and Canada followed close behind. They hit it big in Montreal and the BSB fever spread across the country.
“It wasn’t until ‘Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)’ had really made an impact in Canada that people in the U.S., in like North and South Dakota, who were picking up Canadian radio stations just started calling and requesting the songs and going to the record stores to buy the album. And it wasn’t there because it wasn’t even out in the U.S. yet. MTV was kind of forced to play the videos and it really took off from there,” he says.
Last year, the band released “Never Gone,” their first CD together in nearly four years. The album received critical acclaim and saw the band get together again for a tour across the world.
Littrell says it was great to return to the road with his bandmates. He finds it hard to believe that it’s been over 13 years since receiving the phone call to come try out for the band.
“We’ve just celebrated 13 years (together) and I’ve gone from 18 to 31 real fast, but it’s been a joy. I didn’t expect all of this to happen throughout our career,” he says.
As for the label of the BSB being just another boy band? Littrell thinks the reason the group is still around while others, like New Kids On the Block and ‘N Sync, have fizzled out is because the Backstreet Boys stuck together to continue making good music.
“I think the biggest concern with everybody across the board was to keep it together,” he says. Things come and go ? I mean fads, clothing styles, music styles ? they do, they come and go ? I would always say, ‘guys as long as we stick together and stick with what we’re good at.’ And what I always thought that BSB was good at was good, quality music.
He understands the band was not adored by everyone around the world, but it did make an impact on popular culture.
“I mean there’s a lot of songs that I still hear today in elevators in hotels that I’m at, and, like I say, it’s a tribute to our fans,” he adds, pointing out that as the group has grown in the last 13 years, so have the fans.
Littrell says it was interesting to see the crowd that came to see the Never Gone tour. It was no longer the crazy BSB fans from the ’90s, but girls who had grown up, their parents and even some males.
He says there are tentative plans with the rest of the group to get together in late June and begin recording the new BSB album. He plans to be in the studio with the guys for all of July and probably most of August and can?t wait to get back to making music with the band that made him famous.
And as for young Baylee, does he know his dad is a Backstreet Boy? Littrell laughs.
“He’s three-and-a-half and he was with me the whole U.S., and even the Canadian version, of the Never Gone tour. He was on the tour bus the whole time ? my wife and him. So he definitely knows who I am but he doesn’t call me a Backstreet Boy, he calls me Daddy ? which is just fine by me,” he says, adding that the band refers to Baylee as the mascot of the Backstreet Boys, and he loved doing the sound check on tour.
Maybe that means that little Baylee will follow in his father’s career footsteps, but we’ll have to wait and see.