WEST HOLLYWOOD, California — She can score whatever interview she wants. She can send a book to the top of the best-seller list. She can even inspire the Backstreet Boys to reunite.
Thanks to Oprah Winfrey, the Backstreet Boys have decided the timing is right to finally hit the recording studio for the follow-up to 2000's Black & Blue.
"We're all excited," Kevin Richardson said soon after the group taped an upcoming episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last month. "All of us hadn't been together in the same room in like six months, so it was wild. It was good to be back together again."
Richardson, Nick Carter, Brian Littrell, A.J. McLean and Howie Dorough, who got together in March and decided to delay recording (see "Backstreet's Not Back — New Boys Album On Hold"), will now regroup in January.
"We've got some stuff written, but we're gonna go in with an open mind and just explore and experiment and see what happens," Richardson said. "We've been talking about going with live horn sections and stuff like that, just funkin' it up, but not really in a hip-hop sort of way. More of using horns and live strings and a little bit of a '70s edge or something."
The guys have some ideas for producers, but Richardson wants to keep them under wraps for now. "We just wanna make music that we're proud of and have fun," he added. "It's simple."
Except for Richardson, who has been starring in productions of "Chicago" around the world, each of the Backstreet Boys has been recording solo material in recent months (see "One Of These (Backstreet) Boys Is Doing His Own Thing ... With Tommy Lee?"), although Jive Records has not said whether any of the albums will be released before the group effort.
"It's been two years since we came off tour and it's been good to give each other breathing room," Richardson said.
For the "Oprah" episode, which airs Wednesday, the host invited McLean to discuss how he's dealt with his past alcohol abuse (see "Backstreet Boys Postpone Tour As A.J. McLean Seeks Treatment"), and then surprised him by inviting the remaining Backstreet Boys onstage.