Backstreet Boys incredible saga began in Orlando, Florida. It was there that high school students AJ McLean, Howie Dorough and junior high student Nick Carter began to run into each other at local acting auditions. The three young men became friends and formed a singing group, inspired in part by Boyz II Men and Color Me Badd. The trio then decided to expand, by two. They met Kevin Richardson through a mutual friend. After scouring Orlando for a fifth member, Kevin thought of his cousin Brian Littrell, who was in Kentucky. A phone call was made, Brian relocated and The Backstreet Boys were ready to write the first chapter of their story.
At first the group did some of their favorite cover tunes, a practice that continues even today. Laughs Brian, "We still do Shai's "If I Ever Fall In Love," but eventually they began to find their own distinctive sound. Stressing their strong harmonies and a blend of pop and R&B, the fivesome began to try to secure a record deal. "We'd go to local labels and sing acappella in their foyers," recalls Howie. "We'd sing anywhere, for anybody."
The hard work began to pay off and within six months of forming, BSB had become one of Florida's hottest live acts. They played everything from a high school gymnasium, Grad Night at Sea World, to an opening slot for Brandy. With all that stage experience and an indie single "Tell Me That I'm Dreaming" under their belts, BSB started writing the next chapter. Their manager Donna Wright was friends with David McPherson of Jive Records. After pleading with him to hear the band, she called him during one of BSB's dates, held up her cell phone and let him hear the pandemonium the group generated. "We got signed right after that," smiles Brian.
In 1995, BSB began to lay down tracks and released "We've Got It Going On." The song took off in England and throughout the continent, where BSB's brand of R&B-Pop was just gaining a foothold. "Over there they had a bunch of what's called "boy groups,' so we had a ready made market," explains Brian, "but since we were Americans, we were a fresh new sound for Europe. We had more of an edge, and unlike a lot of those other boy groups, we were more than just a bunch of pretty guys. We could sing." In a short period of time, "I'll Never Break Your Heart" began to climb the charts. Its success laid the foundation for what was to come.
In 1995, BSB won a Smash Hits Award in London for Best New Tour Act and performed the gold single "I'll Never Break Your Heart"on Top Of The Pops.
1996 kicked off with BSB being voted #1 International Group by TV viewers in Germany. Their next single, "I'll Never Break YourHeart" went gold in Germany and hit #1 in Austria. By February, the up tempo jam had entered into video and radio rotation in Montreal. BSB's sold out shows, with hordes of screaming fans, soon became legendary throughout Europe and Canada. If BSB could accomplish all that with only two singles, just imagine the reaction when BSB's self titled debut album was released in April of 1996. That summer BSB embarked on a sold out 57 date headlining European tour. By the time fall came BSB fever had swept Asia, the Pacific Rim and Australia. The year continued with BSB wrapping up a second European tour and earning the coveted 1996 MTV Europe Viewers Choice Award. Then it was off to Canada, where their CD has gone 6x platinum and hit the number one spot on the charts. With the extreme success of their new CD--Millennium--the Boys are sure to remain a hit for years and years to come.