ARTIST OF THE DAY
Billboard Artist of the Day: Aaron Carter
August 23, 2000.
Aaron Carter Throws A 'Party'
By Chuck Taylor
Just in case things don't work out in the music industry, 12-year-old Aaron Carter already has a secondary career lined up -- in marine biology.
"It's just really fun. I love doing it," says the Tampa, Fla., native.
Makes sense, given that the young singer has already touched down upon the shores of most every country in the world, selling more than a million albums around the globe. His first record went gold in a dozen countries and platinum in Japan, and he's scored four top 40 singles in the U.K., setting a record there as the youngest artist to ever do so.
With the Sept. 26 release of his sophomore effort, "Aaron's Party (Come Get It)," Carter now has his sights set on conquering his homeland. He's certainly on the right label: Jive, the industry's house of youth, with a roster that includes Backstreet Boys -- featuring Aaron's big brother Nick -- 'N Sync, and Britney Spears.
The label's pre-release marketing plan hit turbo drive last fall and hasn't slowed since, with a list of bookings longer than that of most established American acts.
From July 31 through Aug. 14, Carter toured the U.S. with Spears (and will join her for the European leg of her tour later this year); then, he travels to Southeast Asia and Japan -- and later on, to Scandinavia, the U.K., Holland, and Spain -- for promotion. He'll also participate in a 15-market Wal-Mart tour from Sept. 18-Oct. 6, where he'll perform in stores and sign autographs.
Television appearances include Nickelodeon's "Snick House Underground," a presenter spot on the Teen Choice Awards, a performance on Fox Family's "HiFi Room," and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
Carter already has more than 300 fan Web sites around the world, as well as his own (aaroncarter.com), and he maintains a bold presence at nick.com. Pre-release chats are scheduled there and on Yahoo!.
In addition, a music video collection wa s released Aug. 22, preceded by a book, "Aaron Carter: The Little Prince Of Pop," penned by his mom, Jane Carter.
"We really believe in Aaron here," says Kim Kaiman, director of marketing for Jive. "He's got a fan base that is absolutely rabid for him because there's no one else out there like him. They've been waiting two years for him to put out a record in the U.S. that is pleasing and contemporary. We think he's going into the stars with this record."
The first single from the album, the title track "Aaron's Party (Come Get It)," has just shipped to top 40 radio, and in its first week sold 8,000 copies to debut at No. 31 on Billboard's the Hot 100 Singles Sales chart. The bubbly uptempo track is already on the air at Radio Disney.
Carter describes the music on his 11-cut album as "like going to a party. It's cool and fun, and there's a lot of interaction."
Believe it or not, at 12, Carter is already something of a music veteran with "Party," his second record. He landed a gig as lead vocalist for a band called Dead End at age 7, remaining for two years before deciding he wanted to be more pop than the act's alternative direction.
He then honed his singing skills with vocal lessons until his big break in 1997, when he performed during a Backstreet Boys concert in Berlin. Edel Records offered him a worldwide deal on the spot, releasing his first album, "Aaron Carter," which spawned four hit singles overseas. The album was also released in the U.S., selling 100,000 copies. Carter also placed a song, "(Have Some) Fun With The Funk," on the "Pokémon" soundtrack last year.
Now, with a major launch planned in the U.S., Carter admits that he's a little nervous. "It feels different here than in all the other countries, but everything has been going awesome, so I can't really be afraid."
And in terms of his goals for the future, Carter prefers to keep it simple. "I just want to keep doing what I'm doing now," he says, "but I do hope I get to go to Australia and South Africa soon. At this point, I think those are the only countries I've never seen."