Osmonds, Jacksons, Hansons and ... Carters? "Nick's been talking about a band," said Leslie Carter, the up-and-coming starlet of a royal pop family that includes Backstreet Boy Nick and 13-year-old "Aaron's Party (Come Get It)" singer Aaron. "He's got a lot of ideas about a rock band; he's like, 'You could play guitar in it and sing.' " That would be fine with Leslie, who names Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock and Metallica among her favorite acts (Madonna, Whitney Houston, Faith Hill, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears are farther down the list). "I don't listen to my brother's music," Leslie said of the enormously popular Backstreet Boys on Tuesday from Los Angeles. "You may think that I should, but that's not the kind of music I like. Nick doesn't even listen to his own music, only when he's performing." Leslie does like pop music, but with an edge. That's why, at age 14, she's already playing guitar, learning to write her own material and singing about relationships.
Like Wow, her debut album due on DreamWorks on April 10, includes "They Don't Know About Us" her version of late British pop singer Kirsty MacColl's "They Don't Know" on which she plays guitar.
"The next album I want to have a lot more rock in it. By then I'll be able to play the guitar really good. I'll be, like, breaking guitars all over the stage," Leslie said, giggling.
Like Wow, whose title track is a single, was partially written and produced by Billy Chapin (Backstreet Boys, LFO) and includes songs written by Diane Warren, who's penned hits for artists ranging from Celine Dion to Aerosmith. "Mostly, my songs are about 'I need to hear it from a guy,' 'They don't know about us' and 'Wow, you're so amazing,' " Leslie said. "It's all about guys. They're fun songs. You want to sit there and listen to what else I have to say." Her debut may focus on boys, but does Leslie Carter, sister to one of the world's biggest heartthrobs, have any in her life? "They would be if I wasn't so busy," she said.
Leslie was born in Tampa, Florida, and now lives outside Los Angeles. She started singing at age 5 and began guitar lessons last year. She shot her first video, a special-effects-enhanced clip for "Like Wow," last month.
"I had a great time," Leslie said of the shoot for the video, which has aired on Nickelodeon. "A lot of people have been telling me my video is too bright and colorful and cute for MTV, and I'm just like, 'Umm, OK.' " Leslie has already toured part of Europe with Aaron and hit the U.S. on Nickelodeon's All That Music & More Festival last summer. She will return to the road with Aaron on a 19-city U.S. tour beginning February 9 in Tampa.
"I love riding on tour buses for like 10 hours at a time. It's really fun," Carter said. "When I was on the Nickelodeon tour, this guy came up to me and asked for an autograph. He had an eyebrow piercing and was like, 'You would look so fine with an eyebrow piercing.' I'm like, 'Oh, that's nice.' " Unlike the Osmonds or other musical families, the Carters have achieved success individually, and may or may not try for it together. The advantage, Leslie said, is that the experienced siblings can have plenty of advice for the newcomer.
"Nick says, 'Sometimes I feel like I'm so tired, I don't want to do this, but it's all worth it in the end. You just have to do it and it will be all good,' " Leslie said.
And what about Aaron? "He just says, 'Umm, bye.' " Aaron and Leslie Carter tour dates:
- 2/9 - Tampa, FL @ Florida State Fair
- 2/10 - Pompano Beach, FL @ Pompano Beach Amphitheatre
- 2/11 - Orlando, FL @ House Of Blues
- 2/13 - New Orleans, LA @ House Of Blues
- 2/14 - Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
- 2/16 - Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
- 2/17 - Virginia Beach, VA @ NorVa
- 2/18 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
- 2/19 - Morristown, NJ @ Community Theatre
- 2/20 - Boston, MA @ Avalon
- 2/22 - Manchester, NH @ McAllister Auditorium
- 2/23 - Scranton, PA @ FM Kirby Center
- 2/24 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Metropol
- 2/25 - Detroit, MI @ State Theatre
- 2/27 - Minneapolis, MN @ State Theatre
- 2/28 - Chicago, IL @ Rosemont Theatre
- 1/1 - Milwaukee, WI @ Riverside Theatre
- 1/3 - Cincinnati, OH @ King's Island
- 1/4 - Cleveland, OH @ Lakewood Civic Auditorium