Aaron Carter accomplished more before he reached adulthood than many do in a lifetime. The engaging pop singer is the youngest male solo artist to have four Top 40 singles. Take that, Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber.
The hits started happening for Carter when he was just 10 years old. It helped that his older brother Nick Carter is part of the Backstreet Boys, who tabbed Aaron Carter as an opener when the boy band was blowing up. He also opened for Britney Spears at her commercial peak.
“You couldn’t have asked for more exposure back then,” Carter says. “I was very fortunate. I worked hard but I had great exposure.”
Back in the day, Carter, 25, was bumping and grinding on stage with Beyonce during the Teen Choice Awards before he was a teenager.
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“Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” was released in 2001 and sold 1.5 million copies, and Carter was a full-blown star.
“It was great,” Carter said. “I had an amazing time but I wanted more.”
More arrived in 2011 when Carter scored a lead role in the off-Broadway play “The Fantasticks.” He had landed a supporting part in the 2001 Broadway run of “Seussical.”
“But ‘The Fantasticks’ really pushed me,” Carter said. “It was much different but in a good way. I learned a lot about singing, diction and so much more for that demanding part. It was cool. I sounded like someone else, like a Frank Sinatra. It helped me mature.”
Carter, who will perform Friday at the Cotillion, is evolving, but he is an example of a person who perhaps grew up too quickly. He entered rehab but has bounced back.
“I’ve been living a different lifestyle,” Carter said. “I don’t party. I’ve partied enough. I don’t go out. I focus on other things that are much more important. I focus on being an entertainer. I love performing. That’s what I’m about. I want to take that next step.”
Carter is armed with knowledge and experience. Since his days as a kid pop star, he has learned how to mix, master, engineer and write songs, particularly emotive ballads.
“I don’t want to just make dance music,” Carter said. “I would like to make something more meaningful. I’m ready to take that step. I don’t want to be who I was when I was a kid. Who does? I’m just thrilled that I can move in another direction and take some chances.”