Thursday, November 3, 2011

'N Sync

'N Sync formed in Orlando, Florida in 1995. After being the first runner-up for a spot in the Backstreet Boys, Chris Kirkpatrick approached music manager Lou Pearlman about forming another pop group. Pearlman suggested that Kirkpatrick find other young male singers, which prompted Kirkpatrick to call Justin Timberlake, whom he had befriended in the Orlando music scene. When Kirkpatrick told Timberlake of his efforts to form a pop group, Timberlake agreed to join and suggested they call his friend and former Mickey Mouse Club castmate JC Chasez. Kirkpatrick, Timberlake, and Chasez soon approached Joey Fatone, whom they had known through mutual friends.

The quartet began rehearsing together, but soon decided to even out their sound by finding a bass singer. Fatone approached classmate Jason Galasso to invite into the group, and the group decided to name themselves *NSYNC , after Timberlake's mother, Lynn Harless, commented on how "in sync" their voices were. The group's name was also a play on the letters of each member's first names - Justin, Chris, Joey, Jason and Jc. After several weeks of rehearsals, the group set up a showcase and began planning to officially sign with Pearlman's Trans Continental label. However, at the last minute, Galasso decided he was displeased with the direction of the group and dropped out,In need of a replacement, the group auditioned several people without fruition. Timberlake soon called his vocal coach, who suggested a 16-year-old singer bass singer from Mississippi named Lance Bass. Bass flew to Orlando to audition and was immediately accepted into the group. (The bandmembers later nicknamed Bass "Lansten", so as not to throw off the last-letter theme of the band's name).

From there, Pearlman set the five boys up in a house in Orlando, where they rehearsed constantly, learning dance routines and vocal parts, and working on promotion for their first public performance at Pleasure Island on October 22, 1995. After the showcase, the Marketing Consultant Michael Schweiger was recruited to shop the group to all of the major record labels in New York. None were interested; they felt the group was too similar to the Backstreet Boys to be successful. Pearlman hired Johnny Wright, manager of the Backstreet Boys, to manage the group. 'N Sync sent him a two-song demo, which impressed him. The group performed for him and a group of BMG executives. Although the record company had some concerns with the name and Bass's dancing abilities, they eventually agreed to sign the group to BMG Ariola Munich with Wright as their manager.

With a record deal finally secured, the boys began touring around Europe, simultaneously recording their first album, entitled *NSYNC which would be released on May 26, 1997. The album was preceded by the single "I Want You Back", which became a top 10 hit in Germany in late 1996. Subsequent releases "Tearin' Up My Heart" and "Here We Go" solidified the act's success in Europe.

This garnered the attention of Vincent DeGiorgio, an A&R rep for RCA Records. After seeing the group perform in Budapest he signed them to RCA in early 1998. The label had the group record some new tracks to adjust their album for the US market.

The group released their American first single, "I Want You Back" in January 1998. The song became a moderate success, peaking at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. They followed up with their self-titled album on March 24, 1998. Initially album sales were sluggish, debuting at #82 on the Billboard 200. Sales began to pick up when Disney Channel aired an original Concert on July 18, 1998. The concert sent the album rocketing up the charts: three weeks preceding the concert, the album sat at #85 on the albums chart. Three weeks after the concert, the album had reached #9. The group released their second single, "Tearin' Up My Heart", that same month. It shot to the top of radio airplay charts and got regular play on MTV (especially on a new show called Total Request Live). This further increasing the group's visibility and sales for the album, which eventually peaked at #2 in October of 1998. Constant touring, including an opening spot on Janet Jackson's Velvet Rope Tour, helped maintain the group's momentum. Eventually, the album went on to be certified for sales of over 11 million by the RIAA.

The group appeared in the TV series Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (TV series) on February 5, 1999 at the height of their popularity, performing "Tearin' Up My Heart" and "(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You" in an episode where Sabrina acquires a magical fake ID to attend their concert.

On November 10, 1998, the group released a holiday album, Home for Christmas. The album peaked at #7 and sold over 2 million copies. The group scored their first top 10 on the Hot 100 with their third single, (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You, which peaked #8 in February of 1999. Country group Alabama later re-recorded the song and released it as a single that featured vocals from 'N Sync. The fourth and final single from the album, I Drive Myself Crazy, was a modest chart hit but a mainstay on TRL.

In September 1999 the group collaborated with Gloria Estefan on a song for the soundtrack for her movie, Music of the Heart. The track, "Music of My Heart", reached #2 on the strength of its single sales, and served as a stopgap between album releases.

In 1998, 'N Sync experienced a highly publicized legal battle with Lou Pearlman, due to what the group believed were illicit business practices on his part. 'N Sync sued Pearlman and his record company, Trans Continental, for defrauding the group of more than 50% of their earnings, rather than his original promise of only receiving one-sixth of the profits. The group threatened to leave and sign with Jive Records, which prompted Pearlman and RCA to countersue *NSYNC for $150 million US, citing breach of contract. The injunction was thrown out of court and, after winning back their earnings, *NSYNC signed with Jive.

With their legal woes behind them, 'N Sync refocused and worked on tracks for their second album. In January 2000, the group released "Bye Bye Bye", an upbeat dance track, which shot into the top 5 of the Hot 100 and would spend 5 weeks atop the Hot 100 Airplay chart. The song is often considered the group's signature song.They also sang a song in the Latin Grammy in 2001 singing their spanish song Yo te voy a amar.The accompanying album, No Strings Attached, was released on March 21, 2000. It sold a still-record 2.4 million copies in its first week of release, shattering the previous record for first week sales (The Backstreet Boys' Millennium album sold 1.1 million copies in its first week). An estimated 1.1 million of those sales were attributed to the first day of release, another record. By the end of 2000, it had sold over 9.9 million copies, a record for most albums ever sold in a single year. No Strings Attached is currently the eighth best selling album of the SoundScan era, with sales of over 11,099,000. The album also broke the Amazon sales records.Their second single, "It's Gonna Be Me", became the group's first #1 single. The third and final single, "This I Promise You." also reached the top 5. It also became the groups first #1 on the AC chart. All 3 singles from the album reached the top 5The group also embarked on a World No Strings Attached Tour that year. Tickets for the first leg sold an amazing 1 million in the first day on sale, and all venues except one stadium sold out the first day. The stage was a third bigger than their previous tour, and featured a moving platform to allow the group to get closer to the crowd. The adventures of preparing for the tour were featured on an MTV special "Making the Tour". The tour was then featured on a HBO special, that aired the same week the group's song "It's Gonna Be Me" hit #1 on the charts. The group then went on the second leg of the tour in the fall and performed one last show in 2001 for the "Rock in Rio" concert. The group also performed The Bee Gees Medley in 2001.
The group also released Live! From Madison Square Garden, a home video release of the group's HBO Special.

The group's third album, Celebrity, released on July 24, 2001, holds the record for the second-highest first full week of sales. The album produced three singles: Pop (#19 US), Gone (#11 US) and Girlfriend(#5 US). The album featured much more creative involvement from the group, especially Chasez and Timberlake, who wrote and produced several of the tracks. The album was also notably more heavily influenced by hip-hop than the groups' previous releases. As such, rapper Nelly contributed a verse to a remix of the single Girlfriend. The album was generally well-received, but album sales were substantially less than previous releases.To help support the Celebrity album, the group embarked on a four-month stadium tour entitled the Pop Odyssey Tour. The outing began in May, two months before the CD's release. It was the largest tour in the history of the music business, it took over 90 trucks to haul all the pieces. The stage took three days to put together, so the group had three sets of steel stages, so crews could put that together while the group was performing at another venue. Together, they could have two full stages set up. The stage featured a catwalk which led to a second, satellite stage, in the middle of the stadium. The stage also featured many other trapdoors, stair cases coming out of the video screens, harnesses to allow the guys to fly over the audience and many other features. It was also the group's first tour to feature dancers. Over two million fans attended the concerts, and the tour grossed over 90 million US dollars. A video of the concert was later released on home video, "Pop Odyssey Live".

After the group's 2002 Celebrity tour, they went on hiatus. The group still went to award shows and events together, and regrouped at the 2003 Grammy Awards to sing the Bee Gees Melody in tribute to the Bee Gees. It was the group's last televised performance. The last public performance for 'N Sync was at the group's 2004 Annual Challenge for the Children, where the group performed the Star Spangled Banner. It was a fitting final performance considering the Star Spangled Banner was the first song the group ever sang together.

In 2005, the five regrouped one last time for the last *NSYNC Challenge For The Children, but the group did not perform. In the fall of 2005, *NSYNC released a greatest hits album. It included one song, I'll Never Stop, that had previously not been released in America.

The group licensed their likenesses on large number of merchandise, including board games, microphones, lip balm, marionettes, books, key chains, bedding, clothing, video games, and various other articles. The group also had a deal alongside Britney Spears with McDonald's, which included commercials featuring the group and Spears, along with a CD and a video that featured behind-the-scenes footage from the making of NSYNC's music video. The vocal group also had a deal with Chili's Grill & Bar in which the members appeared in commercials for the restaurant, while Chili's helped sponsor the group's tour.

The group has multiple RIAA awards. These include three Diamond Awards, four platinum home video releases, and multiple platinum awards for the group's records.

The group went on an extended hiatus in 2002, as Timberlake released his solo album Justified on November 4, 2002; Chasez then proceeded to release Schizophrenic, on February 24, 2004. Timberlake released his second album, FutureSex/LoveSounds on September 12, 2006. Chasez has a follow-up album in the works. Chasez also helped co-write songs for a few other artists, notably the song "Treat Me Right" for former rival boy band, the Backstreet Boys, on their 2007 album "Unbreakable".Chris Kirkpatrick closed his clothing business, FuManSkeeto, and has become involved with several indie/punk rock bands on a business level, including Hawaii-based National Product. He has also recorded as a solo artist as well as with his other band, Nigels 11. He has also done voice work for the Nickelodeon show The Fairly Oddparents as teen heart-throb Chip Skylark. Kirkpatrick's latest project is involvement in a reality television show named "Mission: Man Band" aired on VH1. The show features a cast of former boy band members which includes Rich Cronin of LFO, Jeff Timmons of 98 Degrees and Bryan Abrams of Color Me Badd. The premise of the show: to form a boyband with various members of successful pop acts from the past. The four named their group Sureshot and are currently shopping around for a record deal, and a possible second season of the show.Lance Bass became a NASA-certified cosmonaut after months of training in Russia in 2002, but has yet to realize his goal of heading into outer space due to lack of funding from financial backers. He opened a film production company, Bacon and Eggs, which produced several films including 2007's Lovewrecked. He also starred in his own movie, On the Line, with fellow bandmember Joey Fatone. In 2006, after months of media speculation, Bass confirmed that he is gay in a front page cover story for People magazine. Following the revelation, Bass's love life has become fodder for many American blogs and tabloids. In 2007, he took over the role of Corny Collins in the Broadway musical Hairspray. His autobiography, Out of Sync, was released on October 23, 2007.Joey Fatone has appeared in films such as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Cooler, an experimental musical version of Red Riding Hood, and Homie Spumoni. On Broadway, Fatone starred in Rent and Little Shop Of Horrors. In September 2004, Fatone married his long-time girlfriend, Kelly Baldwin, at a chateau on Long Island. The couple has a daughter together named Briahna. He was the 2007 runner-up on Dancing with the Stars. He then starred as a retired baseball player, Joey Vitolo, on the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana, and is currently hosting NBC's The Singing Bee as well TV Guide Hetworks' Red Carpet for awards shows such as the 2008 Screen Actors Guild awards and the 2008 Academy Awards.

According to Jive Records, 'N Sync signed a contract guaranteeing a minimum of five albums. As of 2008, they have delivered three (No Strings Attached, Celebrity and a greatest hits album). The band is still contractually obligated to deliver two more records, though there is no specific deadline on when they must be delivered.Plans for the group to work on their fifth album have been discussed, but never realized. One of the first signs that the group's future was in jeopardy was in 2006, the first year in which the group did not reunite for Challenge for the Children, its annual charity event.In 2006, Timberlake was interviewed on an episode of MTV's All Eyes On series and said that he was responsible for 'N Sync's extended break. He also mentioned that even if the band were to re-unite now, he was unsure of what they would be able to accomplish, as the music they were once famous for has since decreased in popularity.Although there are currently no plans set for a reunion in the near future, members of the group have continued to work together on occasion. On August 31, 2006, Timberlake reunited with former bandmate Chasez on his SexyBack tour at the Roseland Ballroom. Chasez performed "Until Yesterday", a single off of his upcoming album.Several members of the group have been vocal about their hopes that the band will come together for another album. In an interview with WIHT on September 7, 2007, Kirkpatrick said, "We're all friends. [The band] didn't officially ever "break-up", you know, and there will always be room for [a reunion]. As much as a lot of people are going to hate that, it will be great! To the people that hate it, we'll be like, 'Hahaha! There ya go! Back again! We told you it was coming back!'"

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