Manhattan, NY - February 10, 2010
Known to the 80s generation as the beloved ground breaking trio who took rap beyond the city and into suburban neighborhoods in America and beyond, The Fat Boys (www.FatBoysMusic.com) were pioneers in what become a hip hop world. In fact, they took to the silver screen not once, not twice, but three times, including cult classics like Krush Groove and Disorderlies; breaking barriers previously assumed to have been unbreakable, their performanced were classic. Years later, The Fat Boys own Prince Markie Dee is one of Miami's mainstay radio personalities where he hosts the Prince Markie Dee show week nights on 103.5 FM (www.1035TheBeat.com). Markie Dee typically presides over his clothing line (www.FatBoysClothing.com) which has him on the phone with thelikes of Hot Topix, Urban Outfitter, and Spencer's Gifts; he personally sees to the daily operations of his retial distribution network. However, he is much better known for talent development, having developed the likes of Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Destiny's Child and many more standout artists.
Recently, as he did with The Fat Boys, Louis L. Gregory (Uncle Louie) "rediscovered" a talent that, like The Fat Boys, was not so new, yet had been dormant for some time. Needless to say, that artist is back in the spotlight now. After connecting with 98 Degrees founding member and front man Jeff Timmons on twitter, @TheFatBoys found themselves "tweeting" with @JeffTimmons98 on a regular basis, which led to a question that is asked more often than not, "why don't we do a song together?" While that question is tossed around amongst many artists, often times merely as an ice breaker, or a sign of respect, Louie carefully considered this and decided "that this could be an outside the box collaboration that just may produce a hit song".
Jeff worked with his high school buddies from Ohio, also known as his production crew, (Matthew Fechter, Craig Fechter, Anthony Battle, Dave Feller) and quickly put together a track, followed by a writing session and finally, he recorded his vocals. Far removed from the 80s and the decade's tape reel recording methods, and in the spirit of the "digital revolution", Jeff emailed Louie the track and Prince Markie Dee hit the studio, delivering a classic 16 bars within hours. With Jeff's vocals recorded in California and Markie's recorded in Miami, the song was now complete. The best part about this song, aside from the hard hitting track, Jeff's emotional singing and the poignant old school flow of Markie Dee, is that fact that it was mutually agreed upon that they would distribute this track absolutely free. There is a download link in the "Updates and News" section of www.Uncle-Louie.com. So what's next? Jeff and Markie are hoping that Louie can bring comedic star Any Milonakis "into the mix" for idea they say "is sure to go viral". Stay tuned.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
"I'm not a good golfer," the multi-platinum singer tells Tonic. Nevertheless, his performance on the links helped raise $300,000 for charities just last weekend.
Nick Lachey knows a thing or two about raising money for charity. The multi-platinum singer and his longtime buddy, NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson, teamed up for their 3rd annual Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic this past weekend, raising close to $300,000 for twenty different charities altogether.
"We had a great time," Lachey tells Tonic. "We raised a lot of money for a myriad of charities, so it was a very successful weekend."
When it comes to swinging a golf club, though, the good-natured Lachey admits he's not as great on the green as he would like to be. On Friday, Lachey teamed up on the links with his brother, fellow 98 Degrees member Drew Lachey, and 2010 NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, raising $32,000 for the Haitian relief efforts through his charity, The Nick Lachey Foundation.
"All thanks to Jerry," says Nick. "He was definitely the ringer of our group. I'm sure my brother and I both embarrassed ourselves badly in his company. Jerry is nearly a scratch golfer so I'd say he was probably one of the best players out there. I'm certainly at the back of the pack, if not the furthest back on the pack. I'm not a good golfer whatsoever."
Did his longtime pal, Rice, have anything to say about Lachey's performance on the course? "There were no words to describe my playing," Lachey jokes. "He just laughed."
The two-day charity event began Thursday night with the Super Skins Kick-Off Party at Hotel 944 at the Eden Roc Renaissance in Miami Beach, which featured a special performance by Snoop Dogg. "Snoop did a great job. He is one of the classic performers of my generation, so it was great to have him," says Lachey, who hung out with his longtime girlfriend, Vanessa Minillo, Johnson, the four-time reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. "We had a blast."
On Friday, Lachey hosted the Super Skins Celebrity Golf Classic at The Biltmore Golf Club in Coral Gables, Fla. The golf tournament challenges celebrities to win individual holes in a "team-skins" format. Each hole had a designated monetary value. The celebrity team who won the hole got to donate their winnings to the charity of their choice. "That gives the players — who so graciously give their time — a feeling of satisfaction of knowing that if they win a skin, they will be able to dedicate that money to a cause that's near and dear to them," says Lachey.
‘NSync star Joey Fatone played for the Fatone Family Foundation; Drew Lachey for Autism Speaks; the Miami Dolphins Jason Taylor for the Jason Taylor Foundation; NFL receiving great Tim Brown for the Tim Brown Foundation; Fox Sports Net analyst Jason Sehorn for Sehorn's Corner; former Miami Dolphin Rob Konrad for the Miami Dolphins Foundation; Josh Johnson for Boys & Girls Club-Miami Dade; New York Jets' kicker Jay Feely for the Muscular Dystrophy Association; Pro Football Hall of Famer Will Allen for the Will Allen Foundation; professional poker player Greg Raymer for Safe Haven for Cats; Creed drummer Scott Phillips for the Lewy Body Dementia Association; ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit for the Kirk Herbstreit Foundation; Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen for All Stars Helping Kids; and the Atlanta Falcons' Chris Redman and Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan for Global Outreach Ministries. In addition, one "skin" worth $15,000 was donated to the Clinton Bush Haiti Relief Fund.
Lachey is grateful to all the celebrities and sports icons who showed up to help others. "Jerry Rice has been at the event all three years," says Lachey. "For all his success, he couldn't be a more gracious human being. He's a really great guy and has done a lot for me in putting this charity together for the last three years."
Lachey, who is known for his generous spirit and for being an all-around good guy, says he and his team work so hard for charity because "we just feel like we're all so blessed and it's a great opportunity to do something and have good things come from it and raise awareness about different charities."
He adds that he was happy that lots of the players helped raise money for earthquake victims in Haiti, as well as other kinds of charities: "It's in the forefront of everyone's minds, but all the other problems are still out there as well."
Even though he's a diehard Cincinatti Bengals fan, Lachey was rooting for the New Orleans Saints, who became Super Bowl champions for the first time ever on Sunday night. "I was definitely pulling for the Saints," says Lachey, who watched the game with family and friends at a private party in Miami. "It's one of my favorite cities and certainly I think that the victory meant so much to that city, and is a great source of pride for them."
As for his golf game, Lachey — who often plays in charity tournaments that Rice, Marcus Allen and others host -— says he's going to try to improve his handicap this year. (He thinks it's a mere 20, but says his handicap is "debatable"). "It's always my resolution to 'finally get good at golf this year,' and we'll see if it happens this year," he says.
At least he can always play in his own tournament, he says, laughing. "Since I'm the host of this tournament, they can't kick out the host," he jokes. "That's the only reason they let me play!"
Photos courtesy Kevin Mazur/Wire Image
They’re always on the move, and last night (February 9) Nick Lachey and Vanessa Minnillo were spotted arriving back into LAX International Airport.
The “What’s Left of Me” singer and his hottie girlfriend looked to be in good spirits, with Nick chatting away on his mobile phone as they made their way through the terminal.
Earlier in the day, Nick and Vanessa were chilling out- literally- in New York City’s Central Park for the Nivea “Share the Love” event.
The happy twosome posed with a handsome horse while both sporting warm winter wear to chase way the Manhattan chill.
Jeff Timmons began what was originally a low-key solo career after a phenomenal run with the “boy band” 98 Degrees. He was the founding member of the group, and they produced multi-platinum records (11 Million sold), 8 top ten singles, and a Grammy nomination. He then released his first solo album, Whisper That Way; the album that gave him Top 20 hits on both the Billboard and Radio & Records charts, while having the lead-off single with the same title as the most added single at radio every week leading up to its peak position. The album also produced 3 more chart-topping singles worldwide.
While writing and producing his much awaited second Album, Jeff is also set to launch a new, massive multi-media distribution company called iamMedia. iamMedia will utilize traditional ways of promotion and distribution, and various non-traditional methods to bring brand awareness not only to his album, but a myriad of other artists, genres of music and other mediums of entertainment. Jeff is set to release his new album to everyone completely free between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Anyone who registers at www.jefftimmons.com can receive the entire album!
CD: When I think “boy band” I think of ‘O-Town’, or manufactured groups created by MTV. You guys actually formed, struggled and broke out on your own. How did 98 Degrees start?
JT: I started the group in college at Kent State University in Ohio. My friends and I were trying to impress some girls at a party, so we started singing the song “My Girl” in four part harmony. We thought it sounded better than we expected. I felt that we might have had something special, so I quit school the next day to focus on it full-time. We left for California later that summer to pursue the dream. After about 6 months the other three members became homesick, quit and went back to Ohio. I struggled to find other members, but eventually was introduced to Nick through a high school friend of his in Los Angeles. I convinced Nick to come out and join the group in Cali. Drew and Justin eventually followed, and that group became 98 Degrees.
CD: How did you guys finally manage to break out? Is there a cool story behind it?
JT: We were singing everywhere we could for food and money. We eventually sang our way backstage at a Boyz II Men concert and got discovered there by our future manager.
CD: What’s great about ‘98 Degrees’ is that you, Nick & Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre actually co-wrote a lot of your own tracks. Was there any track in particular that you had a larger role in?
JT: We had a lot to do with the vocal production on most of our tunes. Many times we arranged our vocals ourselves. I co-wrote a song called “Yesterday’s Letter” with Drew. I’m pretty proud of that song.
CD: You hear the stories about how when you sign with a major label you sign your life away. Was this the case with Universal Records?
JT: I definitely think we could’ve had better deals. No question about that. At one point we had sold over 5 Million records with both Motown and Universal and hadn’t recouped. We still weren’t making money. We were like “How does that happen?’ I think when you’re young you just want to make it and live the dream, so you depend on your management, agents, and lawyers to have your best interests in mind. That doesn’t always happen. All in all, I wouldn’t trade anything because the knowledge I’ve gained from the experiences from a business standpoint is invaluable.
CD: Within 2 years of forming you experienced sudden fame and fortune, going from struggle to success, selling multi-platinum albums and performing for President Clinton at the White House. Was the experience what you expected it to be?
JT: It was a dream come true. We did everything imaginable. Things were crazier than I had ever envisioned it. We sang with legends like Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Little Richard, and Mariah Carey. We got to tour the world. It was a real blessing. Sometimes I think maybe we were so busy and grinding, that we maybe didn’t take a deep breath and enjoy it while it was happening as much as we should have.
CD: Are you still in contact with Nick, Drew, and Justin and are there any potential projects or reunions in the near future?
JT: I am still in contact with the guys, although not as much as I would like to be. I’m sure we will do something at some point, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.
CD: After the breakup all of you continued on as solo artists; did being a member of ‘98 Degrees’ help with those later projects?
JT: Absolutely. We had the opportunity to learned from not only incredible artists, but top-end producers as well. I would sit in the studio and watch these geniuses craft songs from nothing. I loved watching how they worked, and implement many of their techniques in the music I create today. On the other side of things, I learned the radio, retail and marketing, and promotion sides of the business. I saw what worked, and what didn’t. Great experiences. Great lessons.
CD: In 2006 you participated in Vh1’s reality show ‘Man Band’ where you were grouped with 3 other former boy band members from NSYNC, LFO, and Color Me Badd, to form a new band called ‘Sureshot’. What became of ‘Sureshot’?
JT: Not much. We all sort of did the show for our own selfish reasons. We all have our own projects, and I don’t think any of us ever intended on being a group. The songs we did together were pretty kick-ass, though.
CD: You have a new album, “Emotional High” slated to release in Dec/Jan 2010; tell us a little about this album and the single entitled “Emotional High”?
JT: Yes. When 98 Degrees was first signed to Motown we lived in NY. I had a girlfriend that I was head-over-heels in love with. We broke up just before the group hit, and I never saw her again. 10 years later, I got to see her again in NY. We both have our own lives now, kids, careers, etc, but the feelings will always be there. The experience inspired the song. We are good friends now, but after reuniting we were always talking on the phone to each other. She said “My God, You’re like a drug!” I told her I was going to write a song about that, and did. She’s a good friend to have, and while there may never be anything more, I still have strong feelings for her.
CD: Being a solo artist and having full creative control, what have you done differently in producing and promoting this album versus what you learned in the past?
JT: Well, I know more about the business for one. More importantly, I’m comfortable creating all of the music from the ground up if I have to. I engineer, write, produce, and sing everything myself. I know what I want to sound like now as a solo artist. When I first went solo, I was trying to be 98 Degrees by myself. Now, my buddies and I get in the studio and just jam. Up-tempo, ballads, club joints, whatever. We just do whatever we feel… and that’s what music is about.
CD: Your entire album will be available to fans as a free download, all they have to do is register on your website; why free?
JT: I think it is the way of the future. Artists will have to use their music as a commercial for themselves, and figure out how to monetize it through sponsorships, touring, merchandise, whatever. I haven’t had a song out with 98 Degrees in 8 or 9 years. People are not familiar with me as a solo artist. I can’t expect folks to shell out 10 or 15 dollars for a CD. My goal is to get 1 million people signed up at my website for the free album. I’m about halfway there. I hope to re-energize the existing fanbase and excite people and gain new fans along the way.
CD: For others with the same passion for music and dreams of being signed by a major label, what’s the best way to get noticed?
JT: Be confident and believe in yourself. There will be a million people that will tell you you can't do it, but it only takes one yes to make your dream come true. Sing or play for anyone and everyone you can. Always have your music ready. Most importantly, stay humble and thank God or the universe in advance for your success. Always work hard and treat everyone you meet with tremendous respect no matter who they are.
CD: And now for my one useless question, the “98 Degrees Board Game”, do you have one?
JT: My mother has one in the box with the wrapper still on it. When my daughter was two, she played mine and threw all of the pieces all over the place. It was a silly game anyway. Kind of like the music business.
Off-stage and outside the studio, Jeff is an advocate for a variety of charities and foundations, especially those benefiting children. He works closely with organizations like the St. Jude Children's Hospital and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics Aids Foundation. Jeff, thank you for taking time to talk to us.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
NEW song You Got Me featuring Prince Markie Dee of The Fat Boys courtesy Uncle Louie Music Group. Get it NOW here http://bit.ly/9k1LyX for FREE!!!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
February 9th, 2010 7:00 pm / Author: Valerie Nome
It’s a good thing because the former 98 Degrees singer doesn’t feel up to the role.
“I probably wouldn’t be the best Simon Cowell replacement,” the What’s Left of Me crooner, 36, tells me during the Share the Love with Nivea event held today in NYC’s Central Park. “I’m not a good objective judge. I like to try and uplift people, and sometimes that show feels the need to not do that.”
Just two days after soaking up the sun in Miami for the Super Bowl, Nick and girlfriend Vanessa Minnillo get their winter on by riding in a horse-and-buggy.
The bubbly former MTV VJ, 29, baby talks with the white horse who has been ready for the noon event since 9 a.m.
“Hi buddy,” she says. “Can I pet his nose?”
It is sweet to see Nick nearly 13 years after I chatted with him for MTV during a Jammin’ 92 radio event in Cleveland.
“Oh gosh, that was the very early days,” he says. “Wow.”
At the time, the 98 Degrees single Invisible Man had just been released, but the boy band didn’t hit the big time until the following year. I tell him he’s done well for himself. “Thank you,” he says. “Well, I’m still here, so that’s saying something.”
He’s pleased to be promoting Nivea’s Share The Love program.
“It’s a virtual hug and kiss chain,” Nick says. “We’re encouraging everyone to go online to niveausa.com and upload your own video of you hugging and kissing, and add that to the chain. For every video uploaded, there’s a $1 donation that Nivea’s going to make with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, which is an organization I’ve been affiliated with for a long time and care very much about. It’s been a great partnership, and now we’re here and it’s Valentine’s Day, so we’re encouraging people to continue to share the love and get behind this.”
Here are my pix with Nick (retro 98 Degrees before-they-were-famous alert!) and Vanessa: