Hi. How are you?
Great. So, are you enjoying New York?
I’ll try. (laughs)
Since you are here, I’m assuming you didn’t have to start school this week.
No, I’m tutored.
Are your brothers and sisters jealous about that?
Kind of, but they are used to it since I’ve been acting for a while and have been missing school. From last Christmas break on, I’ve been tutored.
I think, being a kid, I might be more jealous of you because you don’t have to go to school than the fact that you are a singer.
How did you get signed by Sony?
I was recording my demo in the studio last summer, and I was in the right place at the right time with the right person watching me. He knew some people at labels and he took the unfinished demo and sent it to some people and they liked it. They set up some meetings with my parents and I, and I was just lucky.
I read you were doing commercials and similar stuff before you were signed as a singer.
Yeah, I used to do tv commercials and have been acting all my life.
What was the first song you ever recorded?
The first was called “What You Want”. I really like the song; it’s really funky.
When did you first work on the track “Candy”?
Well, my Dave McPherson, my A&R guy, at Sony, found the song and sent it to me and I loved it. When I first heard it, I thought it was a really good song, then I came up to New York and the people at Sony didn’t like the production of it. So the producers came down to Orlando and worked with me and I also worked with Tony Battaglia, who wrote a bunch of the songs on the album, so we redid the song and the label loved it.
So is recording a lot harder than people think?
It is a lot of hard work. The actual producing, mixing, and mastering is hard work, harder than what I do. But for me it was a lot of hard work recording, but it all pays off.
So for a lot of people who don’t know, how did the song come to you?
They sent a tape with a demo singer singing the song and the lyrics.
You toured with N’SYNC. How was that?
It was awesome. Performing is my favorite thing to do, so I had tons of fun.
What is your show like?
I have four guy dancers and we do three songs and we just have fun up there.
How do you choreograph your show?
I have a choreographer out in LA, her name is High Hat, and she is a hip-hop choreographer for Missy Elliott and Vitamin C. She is really cool.
Were you star-struck, being on the bill with N’SYNC?
I was totally star-struck. As soon as I found out I was going on tour with them, I got calls from people I hadn’t heard from in a long time asking me, ‘Can you get me N’SYNC’s autograph?’ I was so star-struck and respect them so much. Every time I saw them I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. There goes Justin!’ It was really cool.
Did you get to hang with them?
They are so busy, but we all ate dinner together almost every night. Even though they are so successful, they were really down to earth and really cool guys.
We’ve interviewed a lot of people, like Backstreet Boys, C Note, and LFO, all of which at one point called Orlando home, and you live in Orlando. I’m just wondering what is in the water there?
I don’t know. (laughs) Every time I say I’m from Orlando, everyone is like, ‘Backstreet Boys and N’SYNC,’ but a lot of them were transplanted to Orlando. I’ve lived here all my life, so I’m not really into the scene over there. I never even met them before. I only met N’SYNC from touring with them.
I was wondering if it is weird when people your age and older ask for your autograph?
It is weird. It is one of the biggest compliments that people my age and older like my music and have respect for me. It is the coolest feeling in the world.
Besides this question, what is the dumbest question anyone has asked you?
Oh, man. (thinking) Someone actually asked me how I named my pets. I don’t know why. I have a cat named Milo and Otis and I was like, ‘I don’t how I named them.’ A lot of people ask me the same things, like ‘What is your favorite color?’ and ‘When is your birthday?’ Stuff like that.
Tiger Beat, right?
Yeah. (laughs) But I like questions like yours, about the music.
Speaking of music, what would we catch you listening to?
Right now, Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill. I listen to a little bit of everything, but I’m listening to a lot of hip-hop and R&B right now. I’ve been with my dancers for the past six weeks and that is what they listen to.
Who did you grow up listening to?
Madonna. I also loved the New Kids On The Block. I remember jumping up and down on my bed singing “Papa Don’t Preach”. I had the cut gloves, ripped jeans, and bandanas when I was like six or seven. Madonna is my idol.
So you’d like to work with Madonna.
For sure. And Bette Midler. I love her. She has such a great voice, and Beaches is my favorite movie.
Well, both of them obviously do movies. Would you like to do something like that?
I have aspirations to do that, but later on down the line. This is my first priority right now.
Do you get involved with your web site, www.mandymoore,com ?
Yes. I’m on there all of the time.
Do you take your computer with you on the road?
Yes. I have a laptop. I’m obsessed with getting online. I like to talk to people and I like to see what they are listening to. Everyone seems to be so sweet; I haven’t found any mean people yet.
I also read that you were going to be on the cover of a catalog?
Yeah. It is called Wet Seal catalog. I got to play in fake snow, but it was a lot of fun.
Did you get to keep any of the clothes?
They are sending me some because the clothes hadn’t been ordered yet. It was a lot of fun. I loved it.
And like you didn’t have enough things to do, you are also promoting the new Sony Discman.
Yeah. I’m the spokesperson for the Sony Psyche, which is a new disc player that is geared towards teen girls. It is really cool looking and they are making them in different colors.
So, what is next?
I don’t know. Mostly radio shows and a tour, but I don’t know with who.
Plans for New Year’s?
I want to be in New York. It’s the place to be.
+ charlie craine