Aaron Carter on Looking Forward

Aaron Carter on Looking Forward

The millennial icon is ready to change things up in 2018.

The millennial icon is ready to change things up in 2018.

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

“Aaron Carter” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. A large chunk of the millennial population remembers the singer and songwriter as a crucial element of their childhood or teenage musical repertoire—he himself began performing at the humble age of seven, eventually going on to sell millions of albums and become a major name in pop music. He’s remained a fixture since then, continuing to put out music, star in reality TV shows, and become a tabloid headline fixture. Last year, he boldly came out as bisexual, went to rehab, feuded with family members, etc.

But Carter has big plans for 2018, which include the release of his first album in 15 years, a tour, and making even more music. He’s determined to make waves with his craft rather than his personal life, although you can bet that the two are intertwined. Check our talk with the artist below, and stay for his new album LøVë on February 16th. 

We’re still at the beginning of a new year. Did you make any resolutions or is that not your style?

Yeah, I do. My New Year’s resolution was staying out of trouble. Just having a good year, focusing on music, working hard, that’s it.

Can you talk about the creation and the lyrical content of the album?

It’s been a journey—the whole project took about a year to make and it’s all about relationship stuff. I’m not in a relationship, so that says a lot about it. It’s a little bittersweet sometimes, but it’s a part of who I am and what I want to sing about.

Are you ever conscious that someone might hear a song you wrote about them? Do you try to let go of any fear around that?

Yeah, each song is usually specified towards somebody. It was a healing thing for me. Writing is very therapeutic for me. I never wrote many journals or anything like that, but doing music and writing lyrics clicks with me in that way. I get inspired by all kinds of things, and there’s plenty of new things to come and new things to write about.

Do you have to be in a certain mindset to write a song?

I don’t go into the studio or into writing a song thinking, “This is what I’m gonna write about."  I go with the flow of how the music feels. I have a great team of people I work with, so that’s amazing.

With everything that you’ve been going through, will you approach new subjects when you start writing again?

Definitely. I’m still figuring out what I’m gonna be writing about next.

When you put out a new song, what do those first days look like?

I’m always looking at what people are saying. I think everyone does that, no matter what people are saying. We want to know. The fans’ opinions matter the most to me, especially these days.

How do you like to engage with your fans? Is it mainly social media?

It’s definitely not the MySpace days anymore [laughs]. You can connect with fans, they know what you’re about, and it’s really cool. There’s a lot of people I watch, that I’m a fan of, so social media has really made it easier.

There’s the digital world and then there’s IRL. Is it interesting to transcend from the social media world to meeting fans on tour?

Yeah! That’s how I grew up. Social media had nothing to do with concerts, selling tickets, record sales, anything like that. I like the world we’re in now, but it can be pretty invasive sometimes. It just depends on what you put out there and what you want people to be saying about you. When I do meet and greets, that’s when I get to meet the fans.

Do you feel more comfortable on stage or in the studio?

Stage is what I’m used to, mostly, but it’s a balance. The writing process and the recording process are 50/50 to me. I really identify with writing music, and it’s helped me through some rough patches. It’ll get lighter and more fun as it goes. It just depends on what’s going on in my life. I can’t write songs that are fictitious.

So everything is pretty honest? That can be hard—you can’t just make up subject matter.

No, you can’t. I mean, there are people who can. I can’t.

Are you already writing new stuff or do you have to pause to promote the album?

I’m always working, always writing. I work as much as I possibly can. There’s times when I take a break and I’m not writing, and I can just chill and wait for inspiration to find me.

What’s the best way for you to relax?

Netflix and chill [laughs]. I just relax, take it easy, spend time with family and friends.

This is your first album in 15 years, so how are you gauging its success?

I have no idea [laughs]. The fans appreciating my music, and understanding where I’m coming from, that’s what success is to me. People talking about it, doing covers of my music—that’s what I love to see.

You have legacy fans who’ve been around for ages. Is it hard to maintain those fans and still evolve your music?

There’s people who are still stuck in this “back in the day” world with me, but I have a lot of new fans too. A lot of younger new fans, older new fans, all kinds. That’s pretty awesome. It gives me a second try at it as an adult.

How would you describe your fans? What kinds of people show up to your shows?

It’s boys, girls, young, older—it’s all kinds of people. It’s awesome when I do shows because I never know who’s gonna be a fan of the music. A lot of people are still learning the new stuff, but “Sooner or Later” did great last year… It’s a new chapter. It’s my first release in a long time, and I couldn’t be more excited.

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