Friday, November 30, 2018

Interview: Drew Lachey of 98 Degrees

By Pat Cuadros

Pop quartet 98 Degrees kicked off their 98 Degrees at Christmas 2018 tour on November 1, just in time for the holiday season. Band members Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre, and brothers Nick and Drew Lachey are poised to follow up on their successes of 2017. Drew Lachey joined me on the phone recently to discuss the Christmas album, Let It Snow, how 98 Degrees keeps evolving, and his performing arts camp.

How Has the new tour been going?

Everything is going great so far. We actually had our first show on November 1 . We are chugging right along. We're having a lot of fun. The fans are enjoying themselves, same as us. I can't ask for much more than that. We're off to a good start!
What age range are you seeing?
We see a pretty wide range. Some of the shows we do are at casinos, so we get an older crowd, the there theaters. 
What's your favorite Christmas song to perform and why?
I think there's a couple for different reasons. We do "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" as a way to end the show and send people off. I enjoy that because we've had a lot of fun, we sang all these songs, but ultimately we want everybody to have a great holiday season. It's a great arrangement of it. We also have fun ones that we perform in there which are lighter-hearted and get the audiences involved a little more. I enjoy those as well. I don't want to give away the whole show. (laughs) We do fun, tongue-in-cheek stuff, and we don't take ourselves too seriously.
That's a great teaser. It doesn't sound like you guys felt nervous taking on the holiday classics.
No, anytime you do a song that's widely known and recognized, you definitely want to make sure you do right by the most popular version of it. Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra are guys who sang the songs that we're singing. You want to do them well and do them right. We approach our Christmas albums with a classic feel to them, with a good and strong vocal range, orchestration and production. Our Christmas albums definitely stand on their own.
How did the original track "Season of Love" come together for you?
We were in the studio trying to brainstorm about it. We decided the direction we wanted to take was that everybody is so loving, generous, giving, and in such great spirits around the holidays. Why does it have to be November to December? Why can't we continue that year-round? We were working with our producers and we played with different sounds. They had an old Motown sample that we used as a kind of basis to write the song. It had a great groove to it. The whole vibe came from that, and we went on to the drums and everything.
How do you continue to challenge yourselves and stay strong as a band?
Every day getting out of bed is a challenge. We're getting older now, so - no, I'm kidding. (laughs) We still try and grow and improve. We push ourselves artistically. On our last Christmas album, we had the most challenging vocal arrangements we've ever had. We push ourselves in the show as far as who takes lead and dividing that up.
We put on a good, active, entertaining, and energetic show. We're not the kind of guys that get complacent and say, "It was good enough last time. It'll be good enough this time." We always push ourselves, change, evolve, and grow. I think any performer or artist is going to try to do that. They'll get bored doing the same show and material over and over again. You want to keep evolving.
What can you tell me about 2019?
We still love making music together. We're very excited about the possibilities and opportunities that lay in front of us, whether it's making more music or continuing to tour. We've been really focused on this tour and promoting Let It Snow.
I want to spend some time discussing your performing arts camp, Lachey Arts. What successes have you seen over the years with your students?
The successes vary by student. Not every kid is going to come through the program and decide, "I'm going to go to Broadway." They might say, "Hey, I was figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. Now I've decided I want to go into music education" or "I'm going to go to college."
We've got students that have full rides to Carnegie Mellon. We have a kid who was just on The Voice. We have different kids that are all enjoying success in different ways. It gets confusing because my wife and I will say, "Our kids," and people don't know if we're talking about our two actual biological kids or however many - the 250 kids that have gone through our program.
It's definitely a huge passion project for us to where we've started developing original shows and things like that based around our students. We have one called "label.less" that we created, directed, and choreographed. It focused on all the issues that affect the youth of today, whether it's racism, sexism, homophobia, depression, and takes [you on] this journey to address those.
How has teaching made you a better singer and performer?
In general, when you're constantly seeing kids perform and how they have an openness to explore characters and give honest, organic performances, you see the difference. You say to them, "Make it truer and make it real. Write the lyrics of the song and perform this as a monologue." All these techniques make you go back and revisit your approach to your own performances. I can say with 100 percent sincerity that teaching made me a stronger and more educated performer. I don't flow through it. There's intention behind my actions and the way I perform.
As we wrap up here, what message would you like to share with the fans?
First and foremost, I want to say thank you. They have absolutely made every single one of my dreams come true from an artistic point of view. For people who want to come to the shows, come on out. We'll have fun and a good time. There's great music. It's energetic and fun! It'll get you into the holiday spirit.
Thanks, Drew. Good luck with the tour.
Thank you.

98° Vocalist Justin Jeffre On 2018’s Christmas Tour & What Else Is Coming Up For The Quartet


In five short years — from 1997 to 2002 — 98° sold a staggering 10 million records, scored a chart-topping single (“Thank God I Found You” with Mariah Carey and Joe), and collaborated with their collective idol (Stevie Wonder on “True To Your Heart”). Furthermore, 98° had a bunch of other hits — plenty of which hitting the Billboard Top 5 — including “Because of You,” “I Do,” “The Hardest Thing,” “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche),” “My Everything” and “The Way You Want Me To.”
Last year, the quartet released a full-length Christmas album, Let It Snow, via Universal Music. Let It Snow was the group’s first holiday album since 1999’s multi-platinum selling This Christmas. In support of Let It Snow, in 2017 the band — comprised of Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre and brothers Nick and Drew Lachey — embarked on a highly-successful 31-city tour across the United States.
Presently, 98° is in the midst of a holiday tour, which wraps up on December 21st in Appleton, Wisconsin. I spoke with Justin Jeffre and highlights of that chat are below for The Hype Magazine. Tour dates and other information on the quartet can be found online at
98 Degrees first went on hiatus in 2002 and everyone did their individual projects and then a couple of years later I believe everyone regrouped. When did you realize “Hey there is a new generation of people that are interested in us?”
Justin Jeffre: One of the reasons that we were interested in getting back together was because it’s something that we love to do and we have a very strong bond. But we didn’t really know with the fan reaction would be. Would anybody care? Would anybody show up? Fortunately for us we did a little temperature check in 2012 with the Mixtape Festival and then after that we got to come back on the package tour with Boyz II Men, and New Kids On The Block, which is one of the biggest groups in history. So it was a great way to come back. We had a great time and then after that we did the My 2Ktour and then last year’s Christmas tour. AndI say we’re we’re just having more fun than ever and the fans are still showing up…
So ultimately with touring you guys seem to still be on the road like three to five months or something like that. Is touring easier for you than it was say 15 years ago?
Justin Jeffre: Well honestly for me, it feels like it is a little tougher for the other guys because they have kids. And so now we have to sort of build into the schedule, like, five shows on and then take two days off so that everybody can shoot back home and get that family time. Because when kids are young and growing up, time flies by so fast… You don’t want to miss it… So while we love doing this and we’re grateful to be able to do it, we also try to keep things in perspective and keep the priorities where they should be.
What does 2019 looks like for 98°? Or does the group just plan things one tour at a time?
Justin Jeffre: Yes, it’s honestly kind of one tour at a time. We’re beginning to have those conversations. Up until now towards [tour] kickoff, we were just focused on making this the best show that we could, and sort of tweaking it here and there. I think we’re kind of in the groove now, so we are having conversations about what’s next… Everybody’s doing their own lives outside of the group now, whereas back in the day it was 24/7, sort of like being married to the guys you work with. Now we’ve managed to find a more balanced way to do things and make sure we’re giving enough time and attention to do all the things that we really care about.
So in closing, any last words for the kids?
Justin Jeffre: Well I would just hope people come out. It’s going to be a fun show. Of course you know we’re going to do the classic 98° songs, songs from our Christmas album and then we also have some new surprises and there are some things we’ve never done before. So it will be fresh for our fans that came out last year… It’s so much fun and we look forward to seeing everybody soon.

Justin Jeffre of 98° on Cincinnati, the Bengals, the Big Red Machine and sports

Darren Paltrowitz

98 Degrees / Photo: Elias Tahan

In five short years — from 1997 to 2002 — 98° sold a staggering 10 million records, scored a chart-topping single (“Thank God I Found You" with Mariah Carey and Joe), and collaborated with their collective idol (Stevie Wonder on “True To Your Heart"). Furthermore, 98° had a bunch of other hits, including “Because of You,” “I Do,” “The Hardest Thing,” "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche),” “My Everything” and “The Way You Want Me To.”
Last year, the quartet released a full-length Christmas album, Let It Snow, via Universal Music. Let It Snow was the quartet's first holiday album since 1999's multi-platinum selling This Christmas. In support of Let It Snow, in 2017 the band -- comprised of Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre and brothers Nick and Drew Lachey -- embarked on a highly successful 31-city tour across the United States, in addition to their performances on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Disney’s Magic Holiday Celebration, Good Morning America, Today Show, and Kelly & Ryan.
Presently, 98° is in the midst of a holiday tour, which wraps up on December 21st in Appleton, Wisconsin. I spoke with Justin Jeffre and highlights of that chat are below for Sportskeeda. Tour dates and other information on the quartet can be found online.
I believe you ran for mayor of Cincinnati. Is that correct?
Justin Jeffre: That's correct, yeah I did... I've stayed involved in the community in Cincinnati. I still live there. My heart was always there. Over the past six years, I've been working for the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition. So I'm very much involved in sort of the local political scene in trying to advocate for public policies that I believe in.
As somebody who's been around the world many times over, what is it that keeps you local to Cincinnati and the Greater Cincinnati area?
Justin Jeffre: You know, I think it's the people. I mean, I grew up there so I've got a lot of family there. I've got a lot of friends there and I just think it's a cool city. It's got a lot of history and a lot of great culture.
We have a great art scene and a great food scene here, and sports, they've got that and cool architecture... I think it's a city that's on the upswing... You can see great bands... It's big in the sense that there's anything you'd want to do, but it's small in the sense that it feels like kind of a small town in the sense that people are friendly.
I love New York, but you know people kind of just walk by each other as if they don't see each other, whereas Cincinnati it's a little bit friendlier.
When did you notice that things started to really turn around for Cincinnati?
Justin Jeffre: Cincinnati is a metropolis. It's changed a lot in the past 10 years, certainly. I think everybody realized that there had been a major shift about five years ago, it's still continuing, you know.
I think probably it was actually soon after I ran for mayor. Part of what I would say when I was running for office was "We're Cincinnati, we're our own worst critics and we have to sell Cincinnati back to Cincinnati." I think that that has certainly happened in the past decade, and that's a good thing. I think people that live there are proud to say they live in Cincinnati.
Have you been a Cincinnati Bengals fan your whole life?
Justin Jeffre: I have been a Bengals fan my whole life. I'm not a huge sports guy. I mean, the rest of the [98 Degrees] guys are sports fanatics. I mean, like on the bus, it's either ESPN or whatever game is on.
I remember, as a kid, the "Big Red Machine" with Johnny Bench and Pete Rose... My earliest memories of sports were these amazing teams, and I remember when the Bengals first went to the Super Bowl against the [San Francisco] 49ers. Then when I was in high school they went back to another Super Bowl. We have national history that we're proud of. We're hoping you know we get back there one day with this team.
Topics you might be interested in:

Still Lovin 98 Facebook group

Please Feel free to join us here as well..

StillLovin98Degrees & More
Public group · 415 members
Join Group
Vintage videos & New ones as well 98 Degrees. Nick Lachey. Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre & Jeff Timmons and a few other artists as well

98 Degrees’ Jeff Timmons still wheelin’ and dealin’ in Las Vegas


Jeff Timmons arrives at the “Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of” premiere at the Arclight Cinemas - Cinerama Dome on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, in Los Angeles. ...

Jeff Timmons is the member of 98 Degrees who lives in Las Vegas. Thus, he understands how to play with house money — on the tables and onstage.
“That’s honestly a great way to put it,” Timmons says, referring to the boy band that came to fame in the late-1990s and still draws throngs today. “We’re in this thing that was extremely successful 20-plus years ago. Now it’s like, ‘Let’s just keep going with it.’ The only thing now is to have a ton of fun.”
The reunited lineup of Timmons, Justin Jeffre, and brothers Nick and Drew Lachey are playing a holiday-themed show at 8 p.m. Saturday at Green Valley Ranch Grand Events Center. The performance follows the release of their first full Christmas album in nearly 20 years, “Let it Snow,” from 2017. The group also toured a year ago, and might launch a new tour next summer. It just seems the 98 Degrees heat wave never subsides.
“This is so different than what we go through individually,” says Timmons, who has attempted to bring the adult production “Men of the Strip” to residency in Las Vegas. “It’s a lot different than creating something from the ground up — taking the intimidating path like putting up a new male revue to entertain a crowd in Las Vegas.”
While “Men of the Strip” went dormant in Vegas in 2017 after a short-circuited attempt to move into the Tropicana, Timmons remains a popular figure in the city’s entertainment community. Timmons is continually on the cusp of a new production — and expect another in 2019, centered on a new boy-band concept, to perform a showcase in March at Orleans Showroom.
Meantime, he’s cruising with his friends of two decades, still sporting the 98 Degrees tattoo on his right biceps (he had that done when the group signed its first record deal with Motown in 1997).
I asked Timmons if he’d ever felt genuine fear over his safety during the band’s heyday. “It was a crazy time, and we went from not being able to catch a cold to having the fans almost flipping our van over.”
“One girl posed as an NBA reporter and made it into our dressing room with a cameraman,” Timmons said. “She was going to interview us, but then someone noticed that the camera’s ‘record’ light wasn’t on and there was no tape in the camera. The credential was fake. We called security and she had this quasi-meltdown, right there in the dressing room.”
Timmons adds, “The thing about 98 Degrees is, we went through all of that together. It’s more than being business partners, or members of the same group. There is a respect for each other personally, having these experiences. It’s just the course of our lives.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. Contact him at Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Abby Eden geeks out big time ahead of interview with boy band 98 Degrees

BY ,

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Ahead of her interview with boy band 98 Degrees, FOX4's Abby Eden could not control her excitement, and it had Mark Alford giggling.
You have to see the hilarious moment in the video player above.
If you want to see her full interview with the band, watch the video below.

98 Degrees heats up the holidays again


 Grace McQuade''
Chargers Make Unexpected Kicking Change
While the weather outside gets chillier, the pop and R&B vocal group 98 Degrees is keeping things warm with their nationwide 98 Degrees at Christmas 2018 tour that includes a stop at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m.
The band’s concert last year celebrating the launch of their Let It Snow holiday album was a jolly, jam-filled occasion so they are returning to Westbury once again to play favorite Christmas songs and their greatest hits, a collection of music featured on a recently released double-CD available at Target.
Comprised of Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre and brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, 98 Degrees is known for their soulful, pitch-perfect harmonies that will make their performances of songs like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Silent Night” special ones to experience live in concert.
“We’re there to try and get people into the holiday spirit and enjoy a night out,” Drew Lachey said during a recent chat about this year’s show. “There’s enough seriousness going on in the world. We want to lighten people’s mood a little bit and allow them to have a good time.”
Described by Lachey as a musical journey, the 98 Degrees holiday and hits tour kicked off on Nov. 1, with a series of sold-out shows.
“It’s awesome to look out and see a full house with people singing along and having a great time,” he said. “Obviously the closer you get to the holiday season, the more people get into the mood.”
The Long Island concert will take place just over a week before Christmas and feature a festive mix of holiday songs, including an original from 98 Degrees entitled “Season of Love,” classic carols like “The First Noel,” and nods to a few music legends.
“’River’ by Joni Mitchell is a great, beautiful song.  People don’t think of is as a Christmas song… but it’s more about the melody and the emotion that it brings out,” Lachey said. “We also have some fun songs (like) the Beach Boys’ ‘Little St. Nick.’”
A part of the show is devoted to R&B and Motown, music that inspired Lachey to want to perform.
“It was a lot of what I was influenced by growing up — the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Jackson Five… So I really enjoy performing that section of the show.”
Lachey said they will also share a few stories and Christmas memories during the concert. For him, that includes moments growing up with his older brother and bandmate Nick in their Ohio hometown.
“Our family was very active in the church so we would always go to midnight services at Christmas Eve and be in choirs there,” he said. “We were definitely always into the Christmas season when it came around being a family of young performers.”
The Lachey brothers began singing at early ages. Drew was in the 5th grade and Nick was in the 7th grade when they first attended a performing arts school, yet Drew didn’t start his career in music.
“Right out of high school I joined the Army, working as a medic, and I got my national registry as an EMT,” he said. “When I got out of the Army, I moved to New York because that’s where my girlfriend — now my wife — was living at the time, and I started driving for Metropolitan Ambulances.”
While working as an EMT in NYC back in 1995, Lachey received the call of a lifetime.
“I was literally out on a shift and my beeper went off,” he remembers when Nick called him to say they had an opening for him in a newly formed group. “Six months later we got signed to Motown.”
Although he is the band member with the medical background, Lachey didn’t come up with the name 98 Degrees.
“Yes, it’s body temperature,” he said with a laugh, “but it’s more in relation to the tone of the music that we wanted to create… the love songs and all. I can’t take credit for it.”
The number 98 also marks year the group hit it big.
After releasing their first single, “Invisible Man,” in 1997, which Lachey said went as high as No. 11 on song charts, Disney approached the quartet to record the song “True to Your Heart” for the soundtrack of the animated film “Mulan” (1998).
“Stevie Wonder agreed to be part of the song and for us that was kind of a turning moment,” he said about the band’s first big break that involved a guest appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” with Wonder. “The Mulan soundtrack took us to another level, at least in our eyes.”
That same year, the group released the platinum-selling album 98 Degrees and Rising (1998) that includes the hit songs “Because of You,” “I Do (Cherish You)” and “The Hardest Thing,” followed by their first Christmas album, This Christmas (1999), and then Revelation (2000), which has the top tracks “Give Me Just One Night” and “My Everything.”
In 2002, they released a compilation album, The Collection, with the new hit single, “Why (Are We Still Friends).”
And then, at the height of their popularity, 98 Degrees went on a nearly 10 year hiatus.
“I think at that point everybody had been 100 percent committed to the success of this group with pretty much blinders on for the previous six years,” Lachey said. “I think (we) needed some time to go on and do our own things.”
Nick got a solo recording deal and starred on several television programs. Timmons did his own recording, writing and producing. And Jeffre pursued politics.
Drew kept busy, too, becoming the winner of the second season of “Dancing with the Stars” after performing spot-on tangoes and Paso Dobles, as well as a memorable freestyle routine to the song “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” with his professional dance partner Cheryl Burke.
“To go on there and wear a Cuban heel, a Latin shoe, sequins and the low-cut, tight shirts, it was everything that was out of my comfort zone, but by doing it, it allowed me to grow and expand who I am as a performer and as a person,” Lachey said. “So ‘Dancing with the Stars’ was very, very important in my book… I can’t give enough credit for it helping to push me as a performer.”
The push worked because Lachey returned to New York — this time, to perform on Broadway.
“Broadway is my love,” he said. “My first Broadway show was ‘Rent’… It was such a nurturing environment to be a part of that piece of art and be able to contribute to it and learn from it.”
In 2008, Lachey performed in Mike Nichols’ “Monty Python’s Spamalot.”
“I take so many lessons I learned with that cast,” he said. “I take them with me every time I go on stage and I teach them to my students.”
Lachey’s students are the many children who are inspired and educated in musical theater and performing arts at the non-profit he founded with his wife, Lachey Arts, “a big passion of mine” he said.
When the opportunity came up in 2012 for 98 Degrees to do The Package tour with New Kids on the Block and Boys II Men, “by far the biggest vocal influence on us as a group,” Lachey said, the foursome decided to get back into rhythm for what he says was a “dream tour for us.”
Since then, 98 Degrees released their 2.0 album in 2013, and continue to perform and write songs together. Lachey says that fans can definitely expect new music from them at some point.
“We have grown, we have figured out a little bit more who we were as individuals and as performers,” he says. “Is it a little bit harder to get the knees working the way you want after a redeye flight? Yeah, there’s a little bit of that, but for the most part I think we’re better and stronger than we ever were.”
As for their current holiday album and tour, Lachey says their wish is to record and perform timeless music that people of all ages can enjoy every Christmas for years to come.
“Who doesn’t want to put out something that when our kids are having their kids they can put this on and it will still resonate,” he said, adding that “we hope to see everyone out at our show.”

98 Degrees Is Coming to the House of Blues To Sing Christmas Carols


Remember them? That's Jeff Timmons on the far left.

People still recognize Jeff Timmons at the grocery store all these years later.
“A lot of people come up to me and say, 'Hey, where do I know you from?'” Timmons tells us over the phone. “I’ve got like a 98 Degree tattoo on my arm, so it’s pretty obvious.”
You might recognize Timmons from 98 Degrees, the famous boy band that broke through in the late '90s as rivals to the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. After selling millions of records and touring for five straight years, the band took a break in 2001.
“All of us started having families and kids, and relationships are different," he says. "A year ended up being 11 years, and finally we decided we missed performing together; we missed being on the road together. That time had passed, we all had been doing our different things on our own, so let’s see if it works. Let’s see if they like us.
“Fortunately for us it turned out great. We were well received,” Timmons says.
After going back on tour, the band hasn’t stopped.
“We enjoy each other’s company; we enjoy performing together," he says. "The fans are more exuberant and excited than ever, which is not something we would expect. We enjoy those moments. What we couldn’t do before is to sit back and take a deep breath like, 'Wow, this is cool.'”
The band is touring with their hits from decades ago, as well as some Christmas classics. They'll tour 36 cities on their 98 Degrees at Christmas tour.
“We had a pretty successful Christmas album in the late '90s. We’re proud of that album,” Timmons says. “Christmas music lends itself to more intricate compositions and basically harmony stacks and arrangements, things you can’t really do with traditional pop music. And that’s how we got started — we were a four-part musical group that sang a capella everywhere.”
“Christmas music lends itself to more intricate compositions and basically harmony stacks and arrangements, things you can’t really do with traditional pop music." – Jeff Timmons
Timmons says while he is a fan of pop songs, they're typically pretty simple. The complexity of Christmas music compared with pop music excites him.
"It’s basically a loop and very track-driven stuff, you got a melody over it, maybe you got a couple harmonies. Well holiday music — it’s old school," he says. "It’s composed. It’s classical. There’s very interesting arrangements that allow us to sing all at the same time on a song."
Fans of 98 Degrees are older now, probably with their own kids. Those kids are now becoming fans of the band,  Timmons says.
“That’s what you hope happens when you come back,” Timmons says. “It’s like, OK, we’re going to have new fans, people who think we’re corny. You’re always going to have people who say that, no matter what you do, but for us, we see a lot of familiar faces who have been there with us when we were doing small shows in corn fields in Connecticut and bookstores, to stadiums like Dodger Stadium or the Indianapolis [Motor] Speedway.”
It's been 21 years since 98 Degrees put out their first single, "Invisible Man," and all these years later, Timmons says they're still thankful to be doing it for a living.
“You sit back and you’re like, Wow, we’re still doing this,” Timmons says. “We’re still singing for a living. We still see people smile and line up for us. It’s something we don’t take for granted. It’s something that humbles us daily, and it’s something we just thoroughly enjoy.”
98 Degrees stops at the House of Blues on Dec. 1.

Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees Talks All Things Christmas: Music, Touring, and Holiday Memories


Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the holidays tend to be an exciting time full of gifts, baked goods, music, and fun. While many of your favorite artists are taking the season off after touring during the summer, 98 Degrees has taken it upon themselves to tour during the happiest time of the year to perform tracks from their two Christmas albums and, of course, their greatest hits.

8 Degrees is one of the world’s favorite boy bands who charted alongside of their pop contemporaries Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, Spice Girls, and more. They sold over 10 million records and have garnered eight top 40 singles for tracks including “Because of You”, “I Do”, and “The Hardest Thing”. Over the last couple of years, they toured with the likes of New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, O-Town, and more. This time around, they are doing an intimate solo headlining tour which should not be missed.
One fourth of the 98 Degrees, Jeff Timmons, talked to us about what to expect on their Christmas tour, his favorite holiday memories, what songs their fans love to hear them sing, and the two bands he hopes join forces with 98 Degrees someday soon.


Many groups never find the time to record one Christmas album, but 98 Degrees now has two. What made you all want to record a second Christmas album?
We wanted to get back into the studio, but now that we’re all married and have lots of different things happening in our careers, we don’t have the time to do promotional tours and work singles like that anymore. Also, we’re a vocal chamber group and harmony-based music is not that popular anymore. Christmas music lends itself towards harmony and makes it more fascinating. We had a blast doing the first Christmas album and we noticed that a lot of people weren’t touring during the Christmas season so we decided to change it up. It made sense to us and, fortunately, it was well-received and we can’t complain!
For fans who didn’t attend the Christmas tour last year, what can they expect from this year’s show?

We’re doing classic Christmas music in [smaller] theatres; it’s not your traditional tour, but it’s intimate and you get to know us. Our fans know we like to have fun and have a good time. We don’t really take ourselves too seriously. It’s a family-friendly show that’s a lot of fun.
You’ve been on countless tours, visited many countries, and spent months away from home, which means 98 Degrees has spent many holidays together. Do you have a favorite holiday memory with 98 Degrees, Christmas or otherwise?
Back in the day, when we were really popular, we were on tour for five years straight. We had a total of seven days off in a two year period. It was a constant grind and we were spending every [holiday] together. But, for us, I think the funniest holiday we can remember is when we were in Paris and we thought we’d have some extravagant Christmas dinner. We [ended up] at this cheeseburger joint and then fell asleep watching a movie.
The older we get, the simple things mean everything to you. You relish when you get to be home with your kids. You become a little wiser and you don’t care about things that you used to care about in the past.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition?
We let the kids open one present as a teaser the night before. We don’t get too crazy. We just spoil our kids. We weren’t rich but our parents found a way to spoil the hell out of us. The same holds true with our family.
On this tour, you will be performing songs from your two Christmas albums and some of your greatest hits. Over the years, what song gets the biggest reaction from the audience?
I think a lot of them have similar radio play and similar chart success so you would think that they would get the same reaction. “I Do” has stood the test of time, and it’s a wedding song. Lately, we’ve been getting a crazy reaction to “True to Your Heart”. [The fans] jump out of their seats and we’re like “that song?” We were honored to do it for Disney and work with Stevie Wonder, but that one always surprises us. “Because of You” is the first [single performed] after we sing a few Christmas songs, so people go nuts for that song, too. It’s also the first music video we had on MTV.
Over the last couple of years, you’ve toured alongside of Boyz II Men, New Kids on the Block, Dream, and other great acts. If you had to pick, is there a favorite group or solo act that you loved touring with?
Touring with Boyz II Men was a dream come true for me. I was such a huge fan and I started 98 Degrees based on Boyz II Men. And I was a New Kids [on the Block] fan so that was a dream tour for me. But I would love to get Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, and 98 Degrees on a tour.
Are you working on releasing any new music in the upcoming year? What’s next for 98 Degrees?
We’re definitely throwing it around. People keep asking us for it so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. We’re also thinking of doing another big summer tour.
Give them just one night of your lives, ladies, 

98 Degrees heating up the holidays at Virginia Theatre

Paul Wood

98 Degrees at Virginia.jpg

CHAMPAIGN — OK, you've got to give 98 Degrees credit for being on time — even about a month early, for a Christmas concert.
The boy band is now sort of middle-aged and had a long hiatus away from each other, but has a full night planned for Wednesday at the Virginia Theatre.
Co-founder Jeff Timmons said he grew up in a family that loved Christmas, and that spirit has never left him.
And the other three members agree the music is a good match for them.
"We've always had good Christmas fun," Timmons said. "It gives us the four-part harmony we need. A lot of it is classical choral music."
And it gives every member a full workout.
"Everyone has a part in all the songs, not a bit of hook like in a pop song," he said.
From the two Christmas albums by 98 Degrees, Timmons' favorite is "O Holy Night," but it's not in this year's show.
"We're always trying to up the energy, and that doesn't always fit," he said. "Especially our version, we don't want audiences to start snoozing."
Timmons' original goal was to be a pro football player, "But I'm too vertically challenged and too slender.
"Go Tigers!" is a documentary about the Tigers of Massillon, Ohio, the football-obsessed town where he grew up.
A psych major at Kent State, he moved to Los Angeles, where he was the star of a commercial for the U.S. Navy.
But his main interest was music.
Timmons, Justin Jeffre and brothers Drew and Nick Lachey formed the band and were originally signed to the Motown label in the mid-1990s.
In 1997, they released their first single, "Invisible Man," which peaked at No. 12.
Over the next five years, 98 Degrees sold 10 million records, including a collaboration with idol Stevie Wonder.
2000's "Revelation" sold 2 million copies and had three hits, "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)," "My Everything" and "The Way You Want Me To."
On Sept. 10, 2001, Timmons remembered, the band played as part as of the "Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration."
As with all of us, the next day shocked the band, Timmons said, and after a string of hits and too many concerts "in a cutthroat business," 98 Degrees took about a decade off.
"It just seemed like the time," he said.
Timmons stayed friends with his band and his contemporaries, he said.
He even starred in "Dead 7," a zombie horror western film written by Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys.
Quite a contrast from Christmas. The band's newest (2017) is "Let It Snow," a 14-song collection that includes the new song "Season of Love."
Timmons is proud of it.
"It's been a while since Mariah Carey did 'All I Want for Christmas Is You' and was the last pop Christmas song able to stand the test of time," Timmons said. "Ours did well on the holiday charts."
The album also includes "What Christmas Means To Me," "Please Come Home For Christmas" and Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run."