The paper spoke with the Backstreet Boys singer under the condition that there would be no questions about recent sexual assault allegations made against him.
When the Chronicle spoke to Nick Carter, he was scheduled to play the Harbison Theatre Oct. 9.
The singer was coming to the venue, a 400-capacity space on the Irmo campus of Midlands Technical College that consistently punches above its weight, as part of his Who I Am tour, his first solo run since 2017.
The paper spoke with the Backstreet Boys singer under the condition that there would be no questions about recent sexual assault allegations made against him. A suit filed in August alleges that he repeatedly sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl when he was about 23. That suit follows an April suit by actor and singer Melissa Schuman following up on her accusations that she was sexually assaulted by Carter when she was 18, and a 2022 suit brought by another victim who accused Carter of forcing sex on her when she was 17.
Carter has steadfastly denied the allegations.
“Obviously, there’s a legal process going on right now, so I can’t get into too much detail, but I will say that I’m really pleased with the way things are going,” he said in a provided statement. “I’m a strong believer in our legal system, and I’m confident that justice will be done. When all of this is over, I look forward to being able to talk more about it.”
After talking with Carter, the Chronicle reached out to the Harbison Theatre to see if it wished to comment about booking him in light of the allegations. Three days later — on Monday, Oct. 2 — the college announced that Carter’s performance was canceled.
“Midlands Technical College is unable to speak on the pending litigation involving Nick Carter,” the school said in a statement. “While the due process plays out, Harbison Theatre has canceled the show scheduled for Monday, October 9, 2023. The Theatre will honor refunds to all ticket holders.”
A spokesperson for the college pointed out that it’s not alone, sending links to three other scheduled Carter dates in October that have been canceled — including one on the campus of Arizona State University.
In the interview with Carter, the Chronicle was also barred from asking about his brother Aaron Carter, who died last year, drowning in a bathtub after taking an inhalent and an anxiety medication after persistent struggles with addiction. The brothers had a strained relationship, including allegations of abuse that Nick has denied. Nick did talk to the Chronicle about “Hurts to Love You,” a single he released as a tribute to Aaron earlier this year.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The Chronicle: This is your first solo tour since 2017. Why is now the time?
Nick Carter: As an artist, as an entertainer, as a musician, it's just natural to want to perform. You kind of start to get the itch when you're sitting back home a little bit. You get creative. I write a lot of solo music and have things that I'd love to say through that music. When you’re in a group, it's a committee of people who all have to be on the same page. So you just have a little bit more creative control and freedom on your own.
And for me, you know, I love performing, getting on stage and live-performing and being with the band, picking up a guitar, playing some drums, singing songs.
This whole tour that I'm going to do right now, I'm singing a lot more cover songs than I've ever done on my own. And I'm doing that because the theme is pretty much taking you back to a really good time performing music. It was Jan. 28, 1980 when I was born, and all the music that made me who I am, that influenced me, that inspired me, all that stuff that was on MTV at the time when I was between 1 and 10 and into the ’90s, all that stuff. Those things I'll perform in the show — covers, hits — I like to say I grew up with that music. And then a lot of the people who were around my same age did as well.
On this tour, you’re playing some more intimate rooms — particularly here in Irmo. What appeals to you about playing a smaller house?
We just got off tour with the Boys, and it was a four-year tour. We were playing 20,000-seat arenas. If you were sitting at the back of one of the Backstreet Boys concerts, you know, you get good music and good entertainment. It's this big old show. But you're not really that close.
I love smaller venues. As an artist, as a performer, you love those things. You love the idea of being able to see all the faces and it just being a very intimate setting, and then with a live band, that's the true meaning of performing and music and being a musician.
You posted about your recent single “Hurts to Love You”: “We all have someone in our lives that no matter what they do and how bad it hurts you still love them.” Why did you feel like it was important to put out a song exploring that kind of grief?
I've heard so many stories of people who have come up to me, you know, if I'm out and just public by myself, and then be like, “That song and the story resonated with me.” They thank me for that, because a lot of people don't want to talk about mental health. They don’t want to talk about it being a real thing — you know, addictions and mental health, and all those things that kind of compound together to create tragedy.
I'll have someone come up and say, “I had a brother or a sister who has passed away. And I've gone through the exact same thing that you've gone through.” I think it's a bigger story. I think it's something that, again, no one wants to talk about, necessarily. And so when I did it, when I wrote the song, and I sang the song, it came from a place of grief, a place of pain, a place of hurt, a place of no other way other than to write a song and make music to be able to get that out.
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