Saturday, July 16, 2016

Popular boy band 98 Degrees headlines 'My2k Tour'


For many millennials, the late 1990s and early 2000s represent a golden age of pop culture.


Want to go?

Who: 98 Degrees with Ryan Cabrera, Dream and O-Town (My2K tour)

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Bon Secours Wellness Arena, 650 N. Academy St., Greenville

Tickets: $78, $52.50 and $32.50

Info: 800-745-3000 or
It was an era that brought them mix CDs, MTV's “Total Request Live,” the digital pet Tamagotchi, the World Wide Web, their first cellphone, and, of course, lots of unforgettable music.
The then-popular vocal group, 98 Degrees, will give audiences a chance to relive that time when it headlines the “My2k Tour,” which makes a stop Wednesday at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville.
“I just think it was a great era,” said Jeff Timmons, a founding member of 98 Degrees. “It was before 9/11 and certainly before all the terrible, horrific things that are going on right now in the world.
“It was an innocent time and there like a pop explosion. I mean, we were out at the same time as Britney (Spears) and Christina (Aguilera), as well as Backstreet (Boys) and N'Sync; those guys were all selling millions and millions of records.
“Pop was really in the mainstream and everybody was thriving from it. … It just was a really great era, and I think that certainly this tour sparks that nostalgia, and that's our goal behind the whole thing.”
Joining the Grammy-nominated 98 Degrees on the “My2k Tour” are platinum-selling singer-songwriter Ryan Cabrera, popular girl group Dream and successful boy band O-Town.
Along with Timmons, 98 Degrees features Justin Jeffre as well as brothers Nick Lachey and Drew Lachey.
“We're going to come with a lot of energy and, of course, sing all the hits, and we'll throw a few surprises in there,” Timmons said. “People always come away from our shows pretty surprised — given the fact that we're balladeers — by the amount of energy and excitement that we hopefully infuse into the show.”
Unlike most so-called boy bands of the era, 98 Degrees formed independently before being signed to Motown Records, which released its debut album in 1997.
“We weren't prefabricated. We definitely paid our dues together,” Timmons said. “We would drop the hat for money, and we would sing for food.


Popular boy band 98 Degrees headlines 'My2k Tour'

Published: Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 6:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 10:59 a.m.
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“Fortunately, though, we didn't have to struggle too long before we ended up sneaking backstage at a Boyz II Men concert and getting discovered there and ultimately signed.”
A native of Canton, Ohio, Timmons formed 98 Degrees not long after he moved to Southern California.
“When we were singing for money at Fisherman's Wharf (in San Francisco) or Santa Monica Pier or wherever, our catalogue was Boyz II Men and Take 6 but also groups like the Four Tops, the Stylistics, the Four Seasons, the Platters, the Drifters and the Coasters,” Timmons said. “All of those were in our arsenal as far as our vocal repertoire, and we even did 'Let It Be Me' (made popular) by the Everly Brothers, a capella, so we were definitely influenced by a lot of artists.”
The group made its major breakthrough with its 1998 sophomore album, “98 Degrees and Rising,” which featured such hit singles as “Because of You,” “I Do” and “The Hardest Thing” as well as a duet with Stevie Wonder on “True to Your Heart.”
In 2000, 98 Degrees and R&B singer Joe were featured on Mariah Carey's chart-topping single, “Thank God I Found You,” which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.
“When someone says, 'it's like a dream come true,' it's not a cliché,” Timmons said. “… There's never a time when you take it for granted. I mean, we were always very appreciative, and we feel blessed and feel fortunate and lucky to still be doing it nearly 20 years later.”
During its heyday, 98 Degrees even got to perform for two U.S. presidents — Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — at the White House.
Of the first experience, Timmons said, “I flew my mom into D.C. (98 Degrees) actually performed 'Christmas in Washington,' and we did something a capella. And I think that's the most nervous I've ever been in my entire life.
“I'm sitting there — we were about to perform this very intricate a capella piece (before) Christina (Aguilera) and (after) Jewel, in front of the president of the United States and on national TV — and I was super nervous. I don't know how we got through it, but we did.”
Despite all of the fame and attention 98 Degrees has received over the years, Timmons said his greatest joy is simply being on stage and vocally harmonizing with his bandmates.
It's my favorite part,” he said. “There's something pretty amazing about being able to connect on a sonic level with other folks, and we've always had a natural knack together, vocally. That's why, on the majority of the records we've put out, we've had at least one a capella song on there.
“It's not that we wanted to show off our wares and our tools, it's just something that we felt was very special to us that we wanted to share with our fans.”