Chris Varias, Special to Cincinnati Enquirer
When the temperature falls, Nick Lachey gets to work.
That’s not to say the Cincinnati-rooted singer remains idle the rest of the time. Lachey was seen earlier this year on television competing in the most recent season of “Dancing with the Stars.” And in July, he and his vocal group, 98 Degrees, were in the studio cutting new material.
The result is “Let It Snow,” the band’s first Christmas album since 1999’s “This Christmas.”
As the band set out on its first-ever holiday concert tour, which stops here for two performances in one day, Lachey talked all things Christmas.
Question: Do you spend time in Cincinnati for the holidays, or now that you have your own family, are you trying to create those memories for your kids in L.A.?
Answer: We used to spend a big chunk of December back in Cincy for the holidays. We’ve since sold the house there, and our son’s going to turn one on the 24th, so we’re going to celebrate in L.A. this year. Going forward, who knows? Probably lean more toward California, because that’s where home base is at this point. Obviously, we always try to get back as often as we can to see the family and stuff.
Q: What are your childhood memories of Cincinnati during the holidays?
A: My dad would take my brother and me, and we’d ride the Metro Downtown, which we thought was the coolest thing ever when we were kids. Back in those days, you’d go to CG&E and you’d see the train set up in the lobby there. You’d go to Shillito’s, and you’d go through Santa’s workshop with all the elves. McAlpin’s had their own thing. It was something we definitely looked forward to every Christmastime.
Q: Your first Christmas record went platinum. Is that success the reason you wanted to do another?
A: Well, we were fortunate that all of the records we did were pretty successful. Back in those days, it was more about the timelessness of it. People still come up to us and say, “That was one of my favorite records. We still play it every year.” If you do a good holiday album, it has the chance to live on in people’s traditions and their holiday routines year after year. That was the reason we felt it was a great opportunity for us to revisit it, a volume two so to speak. And for us, it was one of the albums that we collectively like the best, because it has a really classy, timeless kind of feel
Q: With “Dancing with the Stars” behind you, how are you looking back on the experience?
A: I think dancing, in general, comes a lot easier to some people than others. For me, it was something that never came especially easily. It was work. It was definitely a lot of work. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But at the same time, I’m really glad I did it. No regrets about it. For me, it was a personal challenge to step out of my comfort zone for a little bit and do something that I knew I wasn’t comfortable with and challenge myself that way. It was a unique experience, and it’s one of those you can check off the list now. I don’t think I’ll ever do anything quite like that again.
Q: Do you have any other TV projects in the works?
A: I just got done hosting the Disney ABC Christmas special (which airs on Christmas Day). Julianne Hough and I co-hosted that together. That was a lot of fun. 98 Degrees is performing on the show. We had a chance to perform (their new Christmas song) “Season of Love” there.
Q: You’re becoming Mr. Christmas in the entertainment business. That’s a good gig, the go-to Christmas guy.
A: C’mon, man. I’m Saint Nick. This is my time of year.