98 Degrees' Jeff Timmons 'Whispers' Sweet Nothings To Fans

Singer to perform at Borders in Cleveland on Thursday.

UNIVERSAL CITY, California — While Justin Timberlake, Nick Carter and Nick Lachey looked to their respective record labels to support their solo careers, Jeff Timmons is breaking away from his boy band without corporate assistance.

The 98 Degrees singer just released his debut album, Whisper That Way, through his Web site, and the project will hit store shelves in September, but not through Universal Records.

"It's great being with a major label 'cause they can put a lot behind your project and do a lot of promotion and stuff, but they also have some sort of control over the creativity of your project at times," Timmons said at the recent Teen Choice Awards (see "Ashton Kutcher Punks The Competition At Teen Choice Awards"). "Even if you write everything and produce everything yourself, they can still get in there and change some stuff, and I just wanted to have my own thing where I tell my own story about what's been going on with me for the last couple of years."

Whisper That Way is a collection of 10 immensely personal songs, mostly about falling in love. One exception, the LP closer "Baby J," expresses the joy of becoming a father for the first time. "I always dreamed of this/ A baby boy to kiss/ And share my name," he sings on the tune.

"It's along the lines of old 98 Degrees, the first two albums, only it has a little more of an R&B feel to it and it's skewed a little older, a little more [adult contemporary]," Timmons said. "You'll get the familiar harmonies and stuff like that, the ballads, but there's a little bit more growth, hopefully."

The album's first single, which he was happy to select himself, is also called "Whisper That Way."

"It's just about a guy and a girl, two people in love," he explained. "It's not about what the person's saying, but how they're saying it to you. Literally the feel of what they are describing and the music. ... Basically the lyrics are like, 'Tell me about the first time we danced, tell me about the first time we met,' and I'm not really listening to what she's telling me about. It's how she's whispering it to me."