Monday, July 11, 2016

Love of singing hasn't changed for 98 Degrees


98 Degrees will kick off its national tour on Friday, July 8, at Hartman Arena in Park City.

It’s evident that time is marching on. There is already nostalgia for the 1990s. The Summerland tour, headlined by ’90s alt-rockers Everclear, is an annual event. Then there’s the “I Love the ’90s” jaunt, which features Vanilla Ice and Salt-N-Pepa.
Those acts are from the early part of the decade. And then there are groups, such as 98 Degrees, that formed during the end of the Clinton era. It’s been 20 years since 98 Degrees came together. The act, which splintered in 2003, re-formed in 2012 and will perform Friday, July 8, at Hartman Arena.
“It was so good to get back,” vocalist Jeff Timmons said of the reunion. “We’re more mature than we were. We appreciate everything much more now.”
The soulful R&B act, with four Ohio-based singers who put it all together in Los Angeles, became stars with their second album, 1998’s “98 Degrees and Rising,” which went platinum four times. The mellow and romantic “Because of You” was a monster hit for 98 Degrees.
“It’s one of those well-written songs that stands up to the test of time,” Timmons said.
The band, made up of four good-looking guys singing well-crafted songs in the vein of Boyz 2 Men and Take That, had a formula that worked. Young girls lost it at shows back in the day when the quartet — Timmons, brothers Nick and Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre — hit the stage.
“We love singing together,” Timmons said. “We loved singing back in the early days and we love it now. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed since we formed this group. We honestly love singing. That’s great, but what’s amazing is that we still have an audience. The fans didn’t forget us.”
The 98 Degrees faithful still support the act. It can be easy to forget that the band was successful during its relatively short first act. 98 Degrees sold more than 10 million albums and has eight top-40 hits to its credit.
“It’s not easy to have hits,” Timmons said. “We appreciate it. We still sing those songs.”
98 Degrees reunited for a one-off show in Hershey, Pa., four years ago. “Who knew how that was going to turn out?” Timmons said. “But you have to take some chances.”
That outing led to an album (“2.0”) and a slot on “The Package” tour in 2013. Now the band is out on the My2K tour and singing such familiar tunes as “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche),” “Because of You” and “Heat It Up.”
“I think it’s a good time to sing the type of songs we sing,” Timmons said. “The timing is good.”
Timmons is correct. When 98 Degrees broke up, love songs were not exactly in. However, all is cyclical in the music industry. Over recent years, love songs have come back. Just look at Adele, who has sold over 40 million copies of her albums “21” and “25.” Both are filled with love songs.
“If anybody is about love songs, it’s us,” Timmons said. “The thing is that anybody can relate to love songs. Love is what keeps everyone going.”

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