LOS ANGELES — O-Town broke up in November not only because some members wanted to go solo, but because they needed to — at least if they wanted to make money.
"Unfortunately, as O-Town, we had to sign a lot of contracts that weren't in our best interest as artists, coming together the way we did on a TV show," Ashley Parker Angel revealed recently. "There just came a time where we knew it was that time to step off and pursue those individual goals, and that's where we're at right now, but we remain the best of friends ... and it was the best launching pad any of us could have ever wished for."
Ashley is one of the singers going solo, along with Erik-Michael Estrada, and he said he's looking forward to breaking through the boundaries he felt constrained by in O-Town.
"I play guitar and I grew up playing the piano as well," he explained. "I didn't get to do that a lot before in O-Town — it was a lot more singing and dancing — so I'm really excited to primarily be onstage with a guitar and a piano and being able to have a hand in the writing of every song on the album."
Angel is writing his album now and plans to record it in the spring for release later in the year. "A lot of things happened in the last few years that I'm really excited to write about," he said. "It's given me tons of inspiration."
Clif Magness, who has worked with Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken, as well as on O-Town's O2 (see "O2 Gives O-Town Members Room To Breathe, Write"), is producing Angel's album.
"He works a lot more on the alternative rock end of the music industry, and I'm really excited to get together and just vibe with him," Ashley said. "I wrote a few songs with him before on the last album, but it's a complete departure really ... so we'll see as it starts to evolve and it starts to take on its own shape."
In the meantime, Angel has kept busy watching his favorite MTV show.
"I've got to be a fan of 'Making the Band 2,' I had to watch it, of course. I mean, that's where I came from. And P. Diddy stepped in and he changed it up, which was very interesting to watch. That's one of the reality TV shows I did watch. Other than that, I can't quite watch those shows anymore."