After a successful run of Christmas shows this year, 98 Degrees may just stay in the holiday lane moving forward.
The quartet played 31 dates in support of its latest album, Let It Snow, aand the group's Drew Lachey tells Billboard, "maybe we'll make the holiday show an annual thing. The response has been fantastic and we love it, so, maybe a 98 Degrees Christmas show every year. Maybe it can become a holiday tradition for people." The album, meanwhile, was a way for Lachey and company to celebrate the 20th anniversary of 98 Degrees' first album.
"We were thinking 'How are we going to celebrate this year?' and the idea came up of doing a Christmas record," Lachey says. He calls the 1999 Christmas project one the group is very proud of, which lent itself to another 20 years later. "We figured we'd revisit the idea of a holiday record and figure out what we could do to make songs that people have heard a million times new and unique and signature to us, and we came with a project that, again, we're very proud of."
Let It Snow does feature the new song "Season Of Love," which tiptoes closer to topical than 98 Degrees typically gets. "We were sitting down to write a song," Lachey recalls, "and with the state of the world and country and everything being so divided, we came up with the idea of taking this generous, joyful time of year, where everybody is thinking about their neighbor, donating, being charitable, volunteering and all these great things -- why don’t we take this moment and this feeling in this month and stretch it all year 'round and embrace not just the Christmas season, but a whole season of love?"
He continues, "Nobody is happy right now with the direction things are going. I think if more people would try to make a conscious effort to have an open mind, an open heart and think more about other people, the world would be a better place. No song is going to change the world, but it might be able to remind people they can affect positive change in the world. If we can do that, it's something."
98 Degrees wrapped its holiday tour on Dec. 23, and the group members are contemplating what's next. "I think new music's a possibility," Lachey says of a non-holiday follow-up to 2013's 2.0, but it's clear that the group has no plans to go back on the kind of hiatus it took from 2003-2012.
"I think with age comes perspective and, honestly, we're having more fun and appreciating each other more now than we ever did in our twenties," says Lachey, who runs a performing arts non-profit organization at home in Cincinnati and works closely with the local film commission. The Dancing with the Stars champ is also hoping to return to Broadway after roles in Spamalot and Rent. "We've all got individual projects and aspirations we're trying to accomplish and achieve, but we've been able to find the balance where we're album to do our own thing and then come back and do [98 Degrees]. It makes us stronger and better performers when we do come back together."
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