Jordan Knight On His Joint Album With Nick Carter, Their Wild Live Show & Future Plans: Idolator Interview
Jordan Knight has survived the roller coaster ride of teen stardom better than most. Since melting hearts and conquering charts as part of mega-successful ’80s boy band New Kids On The Block, the now 44-year-old has released successful solo albums and kept the NKOTB flame burning bright with prolific touring. His latest endeavor is a collaborative album with Backstreet Boys alum Nick Carter.
They discovered a shared love for R&B (and a similar performance style) when their respective bands joined to form super-man band NKTOBSB. That lead to a joint project called Nick & Knight and a similarly titled album. I caught up with Jordan recently to talk about their LP and blockbuster live show. He also opened up about the artists that inspire him at the moment and his future plans. Find out more after the jump.
Did you broach the idea of recording an album with Nick Carter on your joint NKOTBSB tour? We started talking about it more after the tour. We would kid about it in the dressing room on tour. I think we found out we have the same sensibility when we’re on stage, and we kind of perform the same. We were friends before that, but as far as being on stage together — that’s where it really clicked.
How did the rest of NKOTB feel about the Nick & Knight album? Everyone was pretty supportive. I didn’t really play them every song that we were doing, but I did let them know that I was doing a project with Nick. I think one of the reasons why the New Kids On The Block stay together and stay strong is because of trust.
They trusted that I wasn’t trying to go off and leave the New Kids or do something totally different, or try to get away from my identity as a New Kid. We’re brothers and we stick together, and they were supportive.
Was there an instant creative chemistry between you and Nick? I think so because musically and performance-wise, we have the same styles. A lot of people think of Nick as maybe pop or pop/rock, but he’s actually really good at R&B. That’s one of his main loves, and that’s what I like to do. We’d be backstage goofing around and singing songs, and that’s what he’d lean towards. I knew that it would be a good fit.
Tell us about writing “Drive My Car” together. We did a few more but that was one we picked for the album. It was pretty tough getting us both in for writing sessions just because we both had serious schedules and he was touring with the Backstreet Boys. “Drive My Car” is one of my favorites on the album, it’s kind of a disco-R&B vibe. It has a late ’70s feel to it.
Didn’t Bruno Mars also contribute a song to the album? I don’t know how that came about, but the producer Keith Harris is good friends with Nick. Harris would send him some songs for the project, and one of the songs he sent Nick was “Switch”. Nick sent it to me and said: “It’s a cool song. One of my favorite singers is demoing it.” It wasn’t Bruno Mars though, it was a guy named Lloyd — he’s an R&B singer.
We did it, and later on when we were signing off on the song Bruno Mars‘ name was on it. So we went back to Keith Harris and was like, “Did Bruno Mars write this song?” He said yes. I said, “Well it would be nice if you told us that! We could’ve used his name in the promo!” It’s a really cool song. It has a retro R&B feel, but it also has a new Pharrell-type of production. It fits right in, and its perfect for me and Nick.
How have NKOTB and BSB fans reacted to the album? I think they responded great to the album, and really well to the show. I think they didn’t know what to expect, because our fans love what they love. Jordan fans are crazy about Jordan, and Nick fans are crazy about Nick. So they were kind of seeing in tunnel vision.
But when we came out with the record and when they heard us both singing on the same tracks, it was like “Oh, I get it now.” I think people are amazed at the chemistry first and foremost, because we really do have a great chemistry on stage and we play off each other. We really enjoy performing with each other.
Who has the most intense fans — you or Nick? I would say it’s even! When you come on the scene and sings songs at such an early age, that’s going to be your fan base — teens and tweens. You’re singing these songs to them at such an impressionable age and it leaves such a positive mark. That impression lasts strong and deep for a lifetime, so I think that’s what it is. We were their first crushes, really. You never forget your first crush.
You guys perform a medley of covers in the show? We do a ’90s set. When you go to parties, there’s always a ’70s or ’80s night. But no one goes up to the ’90s. So we dedicated it to the ’90s where there was such good music and a lot of people don’t yet recognize that. So we go into that and remind all the fans by doing some covers of great songs that came out then.
What else can we expect from the tour? We do the whole record, but there’s a moment when we do some acoustic songs and a couple of those songs are from each band. The cool thing about it is that on one of the songs, Nick is harmonizing with me. It’s just a different twist on it, and it’s so cool.
It’s a different thing from what you see from “boy bands,” you know a lot of choreographed dancing and that kind of thing. We do have choreography, we love doing that. But the acoustic set is also a big hit that the fans love to see us do.
How do you find the right balance between the nostalgia and the current songs? The thing with fans is that they get a lot of nostalgia from coming to our group shows. They’ve gone to our NKOTB shows since our last reunion so they’ve seen a lot of it. For them, it’s pleasing to get away from it for a little bit and see us doing something new or putting a twist on certain songs. We do sprinkle some nostalgia in for sure, and it’s fun.
We love to perform the hits. One of the songs I do is off my first album, “Give It To You”. People love that you’re bringing them back in time. It’s like a roller coaster ride — you bring them back, then you bring them up to date and give them something new, and then you go somewhere else and take a turn here. It’s all about the pacing. As long as it feels good, you just go with it.
Which current artists are you paying attention to? Maroon 5, they have some good stuff. One of the writers who worked with the New Kids a lot, his name is Nasri and he had that huge hit with Magic!. Nico and Vinz‘s “Am I Wrong” is probably one of my favorite songs of the year. I love that song, it’s just a good mix of R&B, pop and it’s just different. Drake is a favorite, and Nick Jonas has some good songs out.
Are you more passionate about the solo projects or the band? I’m definitely passionate about the solo stuff, I love doing it. When you go out on your own and you’re successful at it, it feels really good. You just get that personal satisfaction out of it. Then there’s also doing it with your group, and the camaraderie and brotherhood of that.
Is there more NKOTB material on the horizon? NKOTB have some ideas in the works, but they’re not complete yet. But we’re not going anywhere. As far as me personally, I might so another solo record or another with Nick. We still have more touring to do even besides the U.S. so we definitely want to do that. People ask me if I could do reality shows or act, but I don’t know. I like being in Boston, I don’t know if I could go to L.A. and to that whole thing. But I definitely like doing music, that’s for sure.
Have you caught Nick & Knight on tour yet? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.
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