Q&A with singer Aaron Carter: The After Party stops in Syracuse

After seven years off the road, Mr. Aaron's Party himself is officially back in business.

Aaron Carter is back, without adult supervision.

The 25-year-old singer known for hits like "Aaron's Party" and "How I Beat Shaq" will embark on his After Party Tour later this week after a nearly seven-year hiatus, and he's stopping at Syracuse's Westcott Theater on Sunday Feb. 24. It's possible he was shirtless the entire time, but Carter spoke to The NewsHouse recently about getting back on the road, dealing with female fans and his pet fish.

"I'm not going out of my way to be appealing to anybody; I'm just gonna be me. "
—Aaron Carter

The NewsHouse: What's it like to be going back on tour after all this time?

Aaron Carter: It's great. I'm really happy about it. It's come at a good time in my life and I'm ready to tour again.

NH: What can fans expect from the tour? Will there be lots of dancing? Maybe some pyrotechnics?

AC: See, well, the venues are smaller, they're not like big amphitheaters or anything, so we're kind of limited in what we can with the show, so there can't be really pyrotechnics or stuff like that because there are a lot of things that are involved in these buildings with fire marshals. So the stage show is just gonna be mostly focused on my dancers and me and just me performing all the songs. That's basically, that's what it's all about, the fans being able to see me perform the songs. It's not like they're seeing their friend perform these songs; they're seeing me do it.

NH: Do you ever get sick of playing old songs like "Aaron's Party" or "That's How I Beat Shaq"? Or are you looking forward to playing them?

AC: Oh no, I love all of the songs that I've ever done. They're amazing songs, and you know, hundreds of thousands of people still talk about those songs all the time, so they must have had an impact on people's lives and I'm very excited to be able to play those songs. If you see on Twitter where I interact with most of my fans and you can see I put the setlists up on my Instagram. So there's some new stuff, but also all the other songs that personally were my favorite.

NH: What are you looking forward to most about getting back on the road?

AC: I guess just seeing my fans and being able to see them in a different way and being able to go out on tour and have fun and being able to live my life the way I wanna live it and not have my parents there to stop me from having fun. I can go out and have a good time, and that's the whole thing about the After Party Tour. The After Party Tour is basically the sequel to Aaron's Party without the parents.

NH: Do you still get nervous about performing live?

AC: Yeah, absolutely. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I absolutely get nervous. But that's to be expected. If I don't get nervous then there's something wrong, then it's probably inside of my soul the way it should be anymore, you know what I mean? I shouldn't be doing it if I'm not getting nervous. That's kind of like how I feel about it. But then I'm gonna get comfortable too, you know, that's the thing with touring when you're doing stuff over and over and over again, you get comfortable, but it'll vary based on crowd participation.

NH: Last touring question: What's the No. 1 item that you can't survive a tour without?

AC: Microphone. A microphone, yeah. Wait, let me think of something that's a little bit cooler. My manager, hah! I couldn't survive without my manager.

NH: What's going on with your newest album? I read back in August that you said you were writing and recording, but when can we expect it?

AC: Well, hopefully toward like the third quarter of this year, I hope by the fall, end of summer, right when everyone's getting out of school type of deal. I'm gonna work the best I can at it. My schedule's starting to have no time off yet this year, but I'm going to try and save some time for the recording process of the album. The direction's pretty simple, I mean it's hip-hop/pop music. It's just a grown-up version of what everybody knows me as.

NH: What are three words you'd use to describe the direction of your new music?

AC: Oh, hip-hop, it would be fun and it would be party. Fun and dance. Fun, dance and hip-hop.

NH: So you've done musicals before, but you just got off a long stint of 450 shows doing The Fantasticks. What was it like doing a show with such worldwide recognition? Was there a lot of pressure?

AC: Yeah, it's definitely different. A different beat, a different world. But that's what I love about performing. But what I love about performing is that are different aspects of it that you just gotta be willing to get involved in them with your life. And now I have such a broad spectrum of performing overall, I know that I can go out and give my fans a great show.

NH: And which have you come to enjoy more: singing or acting?

AC: Oh, singing. Singing, no two ways about it.

NH: Have you noticed a shift in your fan base in the last couple of years? A lot of your female fans who are now in their early 20s and were around your age when you first started out. Do you still see a lot of those same fans or younger fans now?

AC: It's cool because when I look at stuff on Twitter, people will send me pictures and there'll be a group of these girls outside of one of my shows or somewhere like that, and it's funny because the ages will range from there being a 15-year-old girl, when I was like 12, from like a 15-year-old girl, to like a 10-year-old girl, to like an 8-year-old girl to like a 5-year-old girl to like a 3-year-old girl. And I would see that, the pictures, and then also all the time I see the people who tweet me, like younger fans—12-year-olds, 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds—that are like talking to me on Twitter and telling me I was the first thing they ever heard in their lives, and even girls that are in their 20s tell me that I was the first album they ever got in their life, it's not really reality for me. I don't know.

It's like a dream a little bit. It's different, you know? It's just something that I can't really fathom, and I don't think I ever will be able to. Nor do I really want to. My fan base is so broad. I mean, when I did Dancing with the Stars I picked up 20 million different kinds of fans, like the moms, the grandmothers. And then I'm like, "What should I do with my music? Should I try and be appealing to everybody?" I'm not really gonna try and do that, I'm not gonna try and be appealing per se, to any particular fan base or a broader fan base for that matter.

I really just want to be myself, and that's what people are gonna get with my new music and especially this new tour. This is the After Party Tour, yes it's the After Party Tour and the sequel to Aaron's Party, but it's my creation from my brain. It's me. It didn't come from a team coming up with this stuff. It came from me. That's what I think is gonna be awesome about this tour. For me, no matter what happens, I know that this came from Aaron's Party and from me. The fans will be getting something real, not some fake production.

NH: Now with this newly diverse fan base, have you had any strange fan experiences recently?

AC: Umm, yeah, I mean, there's always some kind of strange fan thing. Sometimes these girls can't entirely control themselves, but all I can do is say, "Thank you for your support," and not be a judgmental person.

NH: You have a pretty strong presence and following on Twitter and Instagram. Has this changed your relationship with your fans and the way you interact with them?

AC: Not really, I mean my relationship has always been close with my fans. I love them, and I appreciate their support. I try to be there for as many of them as possible, but it's hard doing that.

NH: There seem to be a lot of parallels between you and Justin Bieber. I think it's pretty safe to say that he's the current incarnation of what you were for a lot of preteen girls about 10 years ago. How do you feel about those parallels?

AC: Well, I mean, the thing is, Justin Bieber is Justin Bieber and I am who I am. We are our own individual people. The thing is, I'm still here. I still exist as an artist and as a person and I'm still in the industry. When I hear people say that, I take a little bit of offense to that. How can he be the Aaron Carter of this generation? I'm still Aaron Carter. It's flattering, I guess. Just let him be his own identity and me be mine.

NH: I saw that you retweeted him recently about dating fans. Would you really date a fan?

AC:I have. My ex-girlfriend was a fan and the girlfriend before that who I dated for a year and who I got engaged to was also a fan, so yeah. If I talk it, I'm gonna walk it. But I'm single right now.

NH: Are you looking for a girlfriend, or focused on the music?

AC: The most important thing for me in my life right now is my career. But I am looking, I'm always looking, I don't have blinders on. I love women, I love them. I'm 25 years old, I'm always gonna be looking, right now at least. So if someone snatches me up, but no one's managed to do that yet. I'm not the easiest guy to be with.

NH: You seem to be in a really good place in your life right now, so what's your hope for the next couple of years?

AC: My hopes are that it just continues to stay like this, and that I keep doing shows all around the world. I got a lot of different countries to catch up to. I mean, I've sold a lot of records in almost every different country. I just wanna be able to do this tour in America and start gearing up for the other places in the world.

NH: And then long-term, where do you hope your career will be in the next 10 or 20 years?

AC: I just hope that it will continue on the same path that it's been. There are a lot of ups and downs in this industry, but you gotta just be willing to take the ride. I've learned that. It goes up and you take a break and it goes down. It goes up and down, and if you're willing to take the ride, beautiful things will happen.

NH: Do you think there will be any obstacles coming back out into the industry after so many years?

AC: No I really don't think I'll run into any obstacles. I mean, what really could I run into? That's the real question. What obstacle can I really run into? I have a huge fan base already, and basically they need music. And so once I give it to them, what can you say? That's what matters. What can you say? I have the fan base. I'm guessing radio's gonna play the songs if they like the music. But that's not really my concern. I'm not going out of my way to be appealing to anybody; I'm just gonna be me.

NH: And last question from one of my coworkers, do you have a cat?

AC: A cat? No no no, I don't like cats. I don't know why. I don't have any animals right now. I have a fish. I have a beta fish that just sort of chills, no animals right now.

Think you're ready for the After Party? Brace yourself. You might not be:

Tickets for Carter's concert with Justin Levinson, Jay Loftus, Nikki Flores and Petrel on Sunday Feb. 24 are still available at The Westcott Theater's website. General admission is $15, while the VIP meet and greet tickets are $50.

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