Mother’s Perspective: Advice Column by Denise Solis

Mother’s Perspective is an advice column by Backstreet Mom Author + Life Coach,  Denise Solis.

Q: Hey Denise,
You have my respect for your work and support. I would like to know why Alex has a red fingernail? What kind of meaning does it have?–mslngc

A: THERE WAS NO REAL SIGNIFICANCE TO HIS RED NAILS OR BLACK ONES FOR THAT MATTER. HE AND I HAD A PEDICURE AND MANICURE WHILE HE WAS VISITING AND HE JUST DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. NO SPECIAL REASON OTHER THAN JUST TO BE AJ.

Q: Hi Mrs. McLean,
I’m gonna be going to high school soon and I’m scared because I come from a “good” family. Nobody in my family do drugs or drink or had sex before marriage. I know I’m gonna be mixed with people that all that stuff is “normal” for and I don’t wanna even THINK of doing that stuff. So I’m really scared of going to high school. How can I stay safe and not run with the crowd? P.S. I really enjoy your columns. All the subjects are something people need to talk about. Take care.
–Fatimah, Queens, NY

A: WHENEVER YOU ARE FACED WITH SERIOUS DECISIONS LIKE EXPERIMENTING WITH DRUGS, DRINKING OR OTHER ISSUES I HAVE ONLY ONE PIECE OF ADVICE: BE TRUE TO YOURSELF AND THINK ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR ACTIONS, BEFORE YOU MAKE ANY DECISION. CONSIDER IF IT IS WORTH DAMAGING YOUR BODY, BRAIN AND SELF-ESTEEM JUST TO RUN WITH THE “COOL KIDS”. WOULD YOU RATHER BE A LEADER OR A FOLLOWER? HOPE THAT HELPS.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit more about being a life coach?–Michelle, Cloudcroft, NM

A: BEING A LIFE COACH IS A VERY REWARDING CAREER. YOU HELP PEOPLE HELP THEMSELVES BY BECOMING THEIR “SOUNDING BOARD”. YOU LISTEN TO THEM AND ASK THEM QUESTIONS SO THEY CAN DISCOVER NEW WAYS TO LOOK AT ISSUES AND FIND SOLUTIONS WITHIN THEMSELVES. I LOVE IT.

Q: Hello! I have been battling a drug and alcohol addiction for the past 5 years. So far I am doing better with the alcohol problem. Recently my mother and cousin staged a mini-intervention to talk to me about the pain killer issue that I have. I have listened so far to what they told me (mostly my cousin) and am doing okay I guess. The withdrawal that people talk about is hard. I watched AJ go through it and is doing well. I was sad to hear that when it happened, but I realized that it was the same situation I was in as well. Your son has helped me a lot. His strength and motivation and positive attitude shows me that I can beat this as well. My question is what should I do when I still feel the urge to take more pain killers than I should??? I still want them, you know? It’s hard for me to stop. I hope to hear from you soon! Thanks a lot! From what I know of you, you seem like an awesome person and mother.
–Lauren, Tucson, AZ

A: AS WITH ANY ADDICTION, ONCE YOU ARE CLEAN AND SOBER YOU NEED A GOOD SUPPORT SYSTEM IN PLACE. YOU NEED TO ATTEND MEETINGS LIKE AA OR NA REGULARLY AND WORK A PROGRAM. WITH THIS SUPPORT SYSTEM IN PLACE YOU HAVE THE MEANS TO GET HELP WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOU MAY RELAPSE AND USE AGAIN. YOU CALL A SPONSOR OR GO TO A MEETING. THAT IS REALLY THE ONLY WAY IT WILL WORK IN RECOVERY.

Q: How can I make sure that I don’t follow in the footsteps of my mother who has used drugs for as long as I can remember?–Michelle

A: MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICES. MAKE THE DECISION TO NOT USE DRUGS AND STICK TO IT. FIND FRIENDS WHO WILL SUPPORT YOU IN THIS DECISION AND DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN SITUATIONS THAT MIGHT BE TEMPTING FOR YOU TO USE DRUGS. THE ANSWER IS IN YOUR HEART, LISTEN TO IT.

Q: What is the coolest experience that you had when you wrote “Backstreet Mom”?
–Ivonne, Mexico

A: I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THE DAY THE BOOK ACTUALLY BECAME PUBLISHED AND I HELD IT IN MY HANDS. THAT WAS TRULY A DREAM COME TRUE FOR ME SINCE I HAD WISHED TO BE A WRITER SINCE MIDDLE SCHOOL.

Q: Hi Mrs. McLean!! This is awesome to be asking you a question!! My dad and mom are divorced and my dad has a girlfriend. Do you have any advice for kids who’s parents are divorced like how to cope and how to understand it? Thanks!!!!!
–Amanda, Elgin, IL

A: FIRST OF ALL, REALIZE THAT THEIR ACTIONS IN GETTING A DIVORCE ARE IN NO WAY YOUR FAULT. TRY TO BE FAIR WITH THEM AND LET THEM BE HAPPY WITH WHOMEVER THEY CHOOSE. AFTER ALL IS SAID AND DONE THEY ARE STILL YOUR PARENTS AND THAT NEVER CHANGES, NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIVE. KEEP LOVING THEM AS INDIVIDUALS AND THEY WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU BACK.

Q: Hi Denise,
When I got the e-mail from StarShine that you were giving out advice, I thought I’d give it a try. I mean you know a lot from what I’ve read. Here’s my question: Me and my boyfriend have been dating for about two weeks now and I’m unsure of exactly what’s going on. When we’re alone or just with a few people he’s nice and sweet and just the guy I started dating, but when we get to school and are around his friends, he changes. He’s stand-offish. He still walks me to classes and stuff and kind of acts like my boyfriend, but I wonder what’s up with him? Help!
–Kelly, Burnsville, NC

A: SINCE YOU SAY YOU ARE STILL IN SCHOOL I HAVE TO ASSUME YOU ARE A TEENAGER. THEREFORE, THE REASON FOR HIS CHANGING ATTITUDE IS PROBABLY THAT HE DOES NOT WANT TO APPEAR WEAK IN FRONT OF HIS PEERS. HE MAY THINK THAT SHOWING AFFECTION IN PUBLIC IS A SIGN OF WEAKNESS. HAVING A RELATIONSHIP AT A YOUNG AGE IS A CHALLENGE. THE BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE YOU IS TO COMMUNICATE HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT WHAT HE IS DOING AND SEE IF IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE. HE MAY NOT REALIZE HOW HE IS ACTING SO HE MAY CHANGE THAT FOR YOU. IF NOT, THEN YOU HAVE TO ASK YOURSELF IF THAT IS TRULY WHAT YOU NEED AND WANT OUT OF THIS RELATIONSHIP. IF NOT, THEN MOVE ON AND FIND SOMEONE WHO GIVES YOU WHAT YOU NEED.

Q: Dear Denise,
First I just want to say I admire you and all that you do. I have a huge amount of respect for you. I wanted to ask your advice on something. I don’t have the best relationship with my mom. Ever since I was ten years old, she has abused me and treated me awful. I am 19 years old now and it still hurts me and she still disrespects me and treats me bad. My grandmother and other people that I talk to say I should just let it go and move on. I am trying to move on and not let it get to me, but it seems like she’s always calling to yell at me and tell me how worthless my life is and how big of a failure I am. I don’t know what to do, I wish I could just solve this once and for all. But I really don’t know what my mom’s problem is. She’s been treating me this way for over ten years now. I have tried talking to her, but she just won’t listen to me. What is the best thing I can do?? Thanks for your time!! Much love!!! –Rachel, Bartow, FL

A: NOT KNOWING MORE ABOUT WHERE YOUR MOM IS COMING FROM MAKES IT DIFFICULT FOR ME TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, BUT I WILL TRY MY BEST. I WOULD SAY THAT SINCE YOU ARE BECOMING A WOMAN OF YOUR OWN MAYBE IT IS TIME TO JUST PART WAYS FROM YOUR MOTHER FOR A WHILE. WHEN SHE CALLS YOU SIMPLY EXPLAIN TO HER THAT UNLESS SHE HAS SOMETHING CONSTRUCTIVE TO SAY WITHOUT YELLING YOU DO NOT WISH TO HEAR IT. TRY TO BE AS CALM AS YOU CAN WHEN YOU TALK TO HER AND SEE IF THAT HELPS. TRY TO MAKE HER UNDERSTAND THAT UNTIL YOU BOTH CAN SIT DOWN RATIONALLY AND TALK THERE IS REALLY NOTHING MORE TO SAY. THIS IS A BIG DECISION FOR YOU BUT YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. SUGGEST YOUR MOTHER GET PROFESSIONAL HELP IF THAT IS WHAT YOU THINK SHE NEEDS.

Q: Dear Denise,
I was almost raped by this guy. I know I’m lucky that I got away and that I didn’t get raped, but I still can’t get over it. I have tried time and time again to move on, but it is holding me back in life. I always think it is going to happen again. So what can I do to move on from this event? Thanks for taking the time to read it. –Debbie, Victorville, CA

A: I THINK YOU MIGHT CONSIDER GOING TO A GROUP SESSION FOR RAPE VICTIMS IN YOUR AREA TO SEE HOW THEY COPE WITH THESE KIND OF FEELINGS. I AM NOT A THERAPIST, SO REALLY CANNOT OFFER ADVICE ABOUT THIS ONE, SORRY.

Q: Hi Denise,
My question to you is how do you deal with life when things seem like they couldn’t get any worse? People may look at my life and think I have it easy but they don’t know what I go through everyday emotionally. I just thought with you and AJ having a life that is out there for all to see and having your own share of personal struggles you might have some good advice. I don’t really have anyone to talk to in my life so any advice would be a big help. Thank you for your time. –Karen, Fall River, MA

A: WHEN YOU ARE DOWN AND OUT THE ONLY PLACE LEFT TO GO IS UP. THAT MAY SOUND SILLY TO YOU RIGHT NOW BUT I AM SURE THERE IS SOME KIND OF GROUP THERAPY OR SOMEONE PROFESSIONAL YOU CAN TALK TO ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL IN YOUR AREA. WITHOUT KNOWING MORE SPECIFICS ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS IT IS HARD TO HELP YOU VERY MUCH BUT I WOULD SUGGEST IF YOU ARE DEPRESSED THEN YOU SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP.

Q: Hi Denise!!! How are you?? How I can buy the book “Backstreet Mom”? –Jacqueline, Mexico

A: HELLO, THANKS FOR WRITING TO ME. THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN GET MY BOOK NOW IS THROUGH AMAZON.COM OR MY WEBSITE WHICH HAS A LINK TO THE PUBLISHER. HOPE THAT HELPS.

One Tree Hill’s Bethany Joy Galeotti

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Thank you for doing this interview, Joy. Since the 4th season of “One Tree Hill” is starting soon, what can fans expect this time around?
Bethany Joy Galeotti: This year on OTH I think the fans should expect lots of drama, some new twists and turns in the relationships in town and, of course, baby news!

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): At the end of last season, there were a couple of cliffhangers. Do we get any answers in the first new episodes or do we have to wait it out a little?
Bethany Joy Galeotti: As far as the cliffhangers from last season, you’ll probably have to wait it out a few episodes to see everything unfold–but stay tuned!!

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): For those who watch the show, they know your character; Haley James is a singer and even toured with Tyler Hilton on the show. What are some of the differences, if any, between your music and Haley’s?
Bethany Joy Galeotti: It seems that Haley’s music is a little more “pop” than my personal music…I think I have a more blues/folk sound.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): I was sorry to hear that you won’t be releasing your album on Epic Records. Have you presented yourself to any other labels yet?
Bethany Joy Galeotti: Unfortunately I can’t sign with a new label until my termination contract with Sony is all signed. Just legal stuff, you know…but, don’t worry, I’ll be getting my music to you guys soon enough. 😉

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): What’s your favorite song of yours so far and why?
Bethany Joy Galeotti: It’s hard to pick a favorite song from my record, because there’s always something I would change on every song, depending on what’s happening in my life when I go back and listen to the master recordings–but I do have an affinity for “Desperate Gown”.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): You have said that music is your first love. If acting ever came in the way of your music, how would you handle that?
Bethany Joy Galeotti: I think acting and music go hand in hand–I don’t get to sing in every scene I do, but the same emotions that cause me to burst into song are still there. I can’t see music really “getting in the way” of my acting career because I think they really do work together.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Does being in the public eye and being on a show like “One Tree Hill” put pressure on you to be a role model? Do you ever feel like you have to hide pieces of yourself?
Bethany Joy Galeotti: As far as being a role model goes, there IS a certain amount of responsibility that comes with being in the public eye, and especially when you have a demographic, like we do, of so many young girls. I have a passion for people and relationships, and sometimes that gets me into trouble because it often keeps me from playing the Hollywood “game” which is such a huge part of working in this industry…but I really feel that to reach people and move their hearts, they have to find something relatable about me and I have to maintain a sense of reality. Yet, as much as I care about relationships, there’s definitely a line that I draw between my fans and my family. There are people in my life who are so dear to me, who know everything about me–my strengths and weaknesses, my joys and fears–and those people are who I call my “family”. My fans do not really get more than occasional glimpses of that stuff because I’m not in a personal relationship with them. So…it’s not so much that I feel I have to “hide things” as much as it is that I can’t let everybody in the world all the way in.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): What can we expect from you in the future with music, acting and other avenues you wish to pursue?
Bethany Joy Galeotti: In the future, I really hope to keep working and find projects that will really move people and encourage them. I also have “someday” plans to open a bakery and a florist in my hometown. Additionally, I’m composing a musical for stage.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): If you could dedicate any song in the world to your fans, which song would you choose and why?
Bethany Joy Galeotti: I think I’d dedicate “If You’re Missing (Come On Home)” to my fans…this is the song I get the most mail about. It really is just a dialogue between me and God. It’s what I think His heart is for everyone.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Thanks again for speaking with us, Joy. We know the StarShine readers will keep a look out for your music and will be watching “One Tree Hill” every Wednesday night!
Bethany Joy Galeotti: Thanks for the support, you guys! HAVE A WONDERFUL AUTUMN!!!

Interview with Chris Trousdale & Anna Sundstrand at Howie D’s Lupus Charity Event

Sandy Lo, Chris Trousdale & Anna Sundstrand in the cigar room at the 40/40 Club.
Sandy Lo, Chris Trousdale & Anna Sundstrand in the cigar room at the 40/40 Club.

Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough came out to support his family’s Dorough Lupus Foundation in New York City.  The event began at Tony Di Napoli’s family-style Italian restaurant in Midtown and ended at Jay Z’s 40/40 Club.  Food, drinks and cigars were shared over great conversation and dancing for a good cause.  I was grateful to have been a part of it and help promote the event, as well as bring along my friends, Dream Street’s Chris Trousdale & Play’s Anna Sundstrand.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): You’re here tonight supporting the Dorough Lupus Foundation.
Chris Trousdale: Yes, I am.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Can you tell us a little bit why you decided to come tonight?
Chris Trousdale: Well, I decided to come mainly because my brother Ronnie’s wife has lupus. It’s something I’ve known of and been around for many years now. I have two nephews and their mother has it and it’s just something I’ve always known about and dealt with. To finally find someone like Howie doing this and in such a great way, it makes me so happy to be here. I’m very proud to be here, especially more than anything to see Howie’s fans and my fans and all these supporters of this foundation be here and not be here because of anything else but the fact that they‘re here for this. That’s something hard to find. I shared a limo with many fans and Howie and Anna. They were all so sweet and everyone is here for the cause. I’m very happy to be a part of this, so thank you for allowing me to be here, Sandy.
[Anna sits down next to Chris and joins the interview.]

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): No problem. I was happy to invite you both. I was just talking to Chris, if you’d like to join in, about why you guys decided to come tonight.
Chris Trousdale: [To Anna] Why did you wanna come tonight?
Anna Sundstrand: To absolutely one hundred percent support the charity. You told me it was great, and I trust you. I love anything that has anything to do with charity, so that’s why I wanted to come. The disease is something I never heard of before and I think it’s something everyone should get involved in. No one really knows what it is.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): It’s also a very hard disease to diagnose, so some people don’t even know they have it.
Anna Sundstrand: Yes.
Chris Trousdale: Exactly. The thing is, even though we have the coolest technology nowadays, some of these diseases are so, so alien to us and it’s really sad to hear about them and to know that you can’t cure them and that baffles me.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Yeah. So now I want to talk a little bit about what you guys have got going on. You have the tour coming up. When does that kick off?
Chris Trousdale: That’s going to kick off the end of November. Anna and I are going to tour together because we are both solo now. We were both in groups and being in a group, as everyone knows, it’s really hard to separate yourself from a group. We’re going to venture off into that thing together and release our albums the following year. Mine hopefully in February and Anna’s soon to come after and we can’t wait to go on tour.
Anna Sundstrand: Absolutely!

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Very cool. Now I was talking to some of your fans earlier and they were telling me that they like seeing you at events like this more rather than Radio Disney things. How do you feel about that?
Anna Sundstrand: We actually have– [Chris starts hysterically laughing]

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): What are you laughing at!?
Chris Trousdale: [Still laughing] I’m sorry. What happened?
Anna Sundstrand: We actually have this charity tour coming up. Me and Chris support charities all the time. [To Chris] You tell them about the charity thing.
Chris Trousdale: What it is…during the holidays, many of these kids who are bedridden in the hospitals have no way of having any entertainment or any sense of “Oh my God, someone cares about us that’s not family”. As entertainers, the only time people get to see us is at concerts, so what we’re going to do is give these kids at the hospitals a private concert, and give them gifts from our fans. It’s people giving to other people. Like the fans will come to our shows with gifts and we’ll take those gifts to the hospitals.
Anna Sundstrand: And both me and Chris have done it before. I’ve been to hospitals giving out gifts and just seeing those faces of those kids and the parents are like “Thank you so much for doing this. It made my kid’s day.” It’s unbelievable how happy they are. Both me and Chris love it. During Christmas is the perfect time to do it. I can’t wait to do it!
Chris Trousdale: It’s a blast!

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Very cool! Well, good luck with everything. We can’t wait to see you on the road.
Chris Trousdale: Thank you StarShine Magazine, you rock! And Sandy, I love you to death!

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Aww, I love you, too!
Anna Sundstrand: Totally, thank you, Sandy! Love you!
Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Love you, too! Thank you.

Interview with “House of Carters” Star, Bobbie Jean Carter

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): First, congratulations on your show.
Bobbie Jean Carter: Thank you!

Sandy: You guys finished the first season, correct?
BJ: Mmm-hmm, that’s correct.

Sandy: After filming, what do you feel the biggest accomplishment is that you achieved as a family?
BJ: As a family we definitely achieved reuniting each other. What we’ve done is we’ve become closer together. We actually hang out more and we have a better understanding of each other.

Sandy: Now with so many reality shows, you know that some of it is staged or exaggerated. How much of that is true for “House of Carters”?
BJ: None of it is true as far as being a staged. Being in our house created a lot of tension for all of us. So our feelings and our emotions got exaggerated within ourselves. There were times where we overreacted on certain things, but none of it was staged. I wish I could say that some of it was! I do, I really do! [laughs]

Sandy: While you’re watching the show do you now look at yourself and are like, ‘oh God, I’m so stupid’ or ‘I shouldn’t have said that’ or ‘what’s wrong with me’?
BJ: Um, sort of, I guess, but I don’t watch the show. I haven’t watched the show one time. That’s really one thing I can control. I don’t have to watch it, I lived it. I don’t need to go back and re-live it. It’s in the past for me. But sometimes I am like, ‘oh my God, what did I do?’ Like I have a boyfriend right now and we’re having problems and a lot of it is because of the show.

Sandy: Aww, I’m sorry to hear that.
BJ: But there were problems before that, but now we got more so…that’s life.

Sandy: When you’re famous or you have a famous family, things like that happen all the time.
BJ: Yeah. Everything in my life has always been a challenge. It’s like basically I feel like life is just testing me to see how far it can push me. I mean I’m proud of who I am and what I’ve become. I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I like to be challenge.

Sandy: Well, good for you. So what can we can expect from you career-wise. I know you’re the only one who doesn’t actually want to be in show business.
BJ: I don’t, but now I feel like I’m being pushed into it a little bit. I’ve actually become a lot more comfortable with cameras, where I used to be really, really shy around the cameras. Being stuck with them in your face twenty-four hours a day pretty much kind of forces you to lighten up a bit. So I mean I’m pretty much open for anything that comes my way. But as far as what I really want to do is…I’m working on a book right now–the story of my life. It might actually be a series of books. I don’t know if I can fit it all into one. That’s a life long dream. It was something I always wanted to do and now I feel like I have the opportunity to express myself. The person I am…I am a very emotional person, I know that, but I’m a very honest person. I’m true to myself. I’ve always been and that’s something I take pride in. You know, sometimes I act a little impulsive. I act on my emotions a lot, but I’m a woman, you know, we do that.

Sandy: [laughs] Yes, we do.
BJ: And I have yet to have a man really challenge me with that. [laughs] But I’m working on my book and still doing my cooking. I’m really just trying to find the time to pursue that more. It’s really a hard career to get into, especially now with everything going on. I mean that’s something that will always be there waiting when I want to do it. I take a lot of pride in cooking for my family. I enjoy seeing them eat. It’s actually the time when there’s the most peace. [laughs]

Sandy: Are they brutally honest with you about your cooking?
BJ: Oh yeah, there have been a few times where I’ve messed up. I’m normal, I can burn the bacon like everybody else, and I have on camera. I’ve burnt myself on camera, too. I went down to light a cigarette off the stove and burnt my chin, so you should expecting to be seeing a big scar in one of the newer episodes coming up. I’m the biggest klutz in the world. I’m the biggest klutz and the biggest dork that you probably ever met. I have no style and no grace.

Sandy: [laughs] Oh come on, there’s so many people out there who are klutzy, you’re not the only one.
BJ: [laughs] You know…it’s fun. I have a lot of battle wounds.

Sandy: Where do you hope “House of Carters” will take you personally and professionally?
BJ: Well, first and foremost, personally it’s already brought us to a whole other level. Me especially with my family. I went through a period of time where I felt shut off from my family and I didn’t realize at the time that that’s how they felt, too. That we all felt the same and all we needed to do was get together and feel free to express ourselves and that we don’t have to hide the way we feel. I try to teach everyone in my family that if you just talk about things and you get them out, whether they’re good or bad, at least you get them out and then you move onto the next thing. You don’t sit there and dwell on things, you have to talk about them otherwise the problems will never go away. All of us have just really learned to communicate with each other and it’s SO amazing! It really is.

Sandy: Aww. Now do you guys plan if the show goes well, which so far it seems like it is, do you plan to do another season?
BJ: Um, I guess so! There was some talk about it and I’m pretty much the go with the flow kind of girl. I mean I had a blast doing it. It was really fun. It was definitely an experience. I mean how many people can say that for a period of two months, they had their life completely documented?

Sandy: It’s pretty cool. It’s like your own little scrapbook.
BJ: I’d definitely do it again.

Sandy: Is there anything you want your audience to know if they haven’t watched “House of Carters” yet or some of the things they’re going to see. Do you want them to know something about you before they watch it?
BJ: You know, I just really want everyone to know I’m so sick of this word, “dysfunctional”. I just think that everyone needs to sit back and realize that no one is perfect and that we’re human beings. There’s nothing wrong with being a little bit dysfunctional. I think that normal is dysfunctional in my opinion. [laughs] I really do. If there is a normal family out there, there’s something wrong.

A Night Out with Backstreet Boy Howie D. To Support Lupus

Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough came out to support his family’s Dorough Lupus Foundation in New York City.  The event began at Tony Di Napoli’s family-style Italian restaurant in Midtown and ended at Jay Z’s 40/40 Club.  Food, drinks and cigars were shared over great conversation and dancing for a good cause.  I was grateful to have been a part of it and help promote the event, as well as bring along my friends, Dream Street’s Chris Trousdale & Play’s Anna Sundstrand.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): I’m here today with Howie Dorough from the Backstreet Boys. How are you?
Howie Dorough: Very good, thank you very much.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): The event was a great turn-out.
Howie Dorough: Yeah, it was very, very great. I’m always happy to be here in New York. Great turn-out. I think we raised a lot of money. I’m very excited.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Did you get to relax at all? I know it’s been a crazy night.
Howie Dorough: Ah, you know what? For me, this is a chance for me to hang out with the fans and to talk with them and take pictures. I don’t even consider it work. It’s a chance to give back to them, especially for what they’ve given to me and the foundation.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Now the foundation has been an ongoing project of yours. Compared to when you first started, what can you say is the biggest growth you’ve had, was there a defining moment where you realized you really were making a difference?
Howie Dorough: There have been several different moments where we were able to give to UCLA’s research center and also give to the Arthritis Foundation of America and each year try to give out money. We’ve gotten a lot of great media exposure on television nationally and internationally, and being able to help families out there in need of assistance, and even create a paleo clinic in Chatham, Canada just for families who want to spend their last moments for their loved ones without having to be surrounded by a lot of people and stuff like that. I think everyday we’re accomplishing more and more. [Howie sneezes.]

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Bless you!
Howie Dorough: Excuse me. Gracias.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Okay now, let’s talk a little bit about the Backstreet Boys. I know you guys are recording now. You said you’re about halfway done with the album now?
Howie Dorough: Yes, we are. We’re still in the studio, still working at it. We’re taking our time. We’re making sure we’re putting something out that we really respect and are proud of. It’s not just one of those things you can create overnight. We’re trying to create a good body of work.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): I’m sure it’s been difficult, too. I mean Brian’s on tour; Nick’s doing “House of Carters”…
Howie Dorough: Yeah, we all have a lot of side projects going on, but at the same time we’re all very supportive of each other with our side projects. Each of us have individual aspirations and none of us wants to hold anybody back, so we’re trying to make it all just work together.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Has it been hard without Kevin?
Howie Dorough: Mmm, I mean it doesn’t feel the same. He’s been like a brother for us for the last fourteen years. I see him still–he doesn’t live that far from me, but I still see him every once in a while here and there and it is a little awkward. I can’t help to say that we miss him. It was a choice he made. He asked us and out of respect to him and wanting him to be able to have a family and everything, we gave him that time to have for him to start his own family and his life. So we’re all good with each other.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Good, I’m glad to hear that. Now Never Gone was such a growth for you guys and I think the industry responded to it well, are you still going in that kind of direction with the new album?
Howie Dorough: So far we kind have gone in that direction, but at the same time we’re still experimenting, so what’s going to be on the final record I can’t say because we’re midway through the stream and we’re trying to find some up-tempo stuff, which is always the hardest. But we’re still working at it. You know we’ve been blessed we come from a different bunch of genres of music with the R&B, with the pop/rock influence. Now it’s about trying to figure out what’s exactly the body of work we want to present to everybody out there.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): What kind of producers have you been working with so far?
Howie Dorough: We worked again with Dan Michael who did “Incomplete” and this guy named Rob Wells out of Canada. They came with great songs, which I think we have a good body of work; it’s just now what we’re going to do to put around it.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Very cool. Now I know from the last time I interviewed you, you were telling me about your solo album. Is that still in the works?
Howie Dorough: Still in the works, yes. Now that we’ve got a little bit of time to do stuff individually, I’m actually starting to gear it back up right now. Hopefully when the timing is right, you know merging the two worlds, to release it, I’ll release it.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Cool. Now I saw you on “House of Carters”. Do you make any more cameos on there?
Howie Dorough: Well, I don’t know what’s going to come out on the final [episodes], but Nick was at my birthday party that I had in LA, but whether it’s on the cutting room floor or not, who knows. [Laughs] It’s all good.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): How do you feel about Nick’s decision to do the show?
Howie Dorough: He came to us and said to us he wanted to do something with his family and try to bring them back together and all under one roof. I think we all told him you’re going to let the whole cat out of the bag. I mean reality TV…they take the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, you know? Except he was cool with it. He was okay with expressing that to his fans out there. So I respected his choice on it. Would I have done? I don’t know, but it’s his choice.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Okay. Now for my last question, if you could dedicate any song in the world to your fans, which song would you choose and why?
Howie Dorough: [Thinks] I’d say “All I Have To Give”.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): How come? I mean it’s kind of self-explanatory, but…
Howie Dorough: It’s my favorite song–

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): It’s always been your favorite song, hasn’t it? [Laughs] Howie Dorough: Yup. I think you know my love is all I have to give. The lyrics fit so well for our fans. They’ve given us a lot. It’s about giving our love to them and that’s why I do what I do. They support me whether it’s Backstreet, individually, or foundation stuff, so I would dedicate that song to them.

Jonas Brothers: The New Hanson?

The Jonas Brothers is the newest boy band; however, when we say “band” we mean it! Not only do these guys sing and write their own music, but they play their own instruments as well. With hit singles “Mandy” and “Year 3000” behind them, the Jonas Brothers are bringing in hoards of fans to their shows! Their debut album It’s About Time recently hit stores and StarShine was able to chat with the boys backstage at their concert in Staten Island, NY.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): How are you guys?
Jonas Brothers: Awesome!

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Let’s go around the room and introduce yourselves and say your ages.

Nicholas Jonas: What’s up guys? I’m Nick. I’m thirteen.
Joseph Jonas: Hey everybody! I’m Joe. I’m seventeen.
Kevin Jonas: I’m Kevin and I’m eighteen.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): You guys are here in Staten Island, doing a show tonight. Are you excited?
Nicholas Jonas: Very excited.
Joseph Jonas: We’re excited to see all our fans. Our album came out yesterday.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): I was just going to say that.
Kevin Jonas: We’re ready to see the fan reaction after the album came out.
Joseph Jonas: See how many people bought it.
Nicholas Jonas: See how many people know the words.
Kevin Jonas: If they sing along, then it’s definitely an indication they got the record.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): The reason we decided to interview you guys is because we received a lot of requests for you on our website. We had a lot of people talking about you, so I looked into it.
Joseph Jonas: Awesome!
Nicholas Jonas: That’s great!

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): For someone who is going to get your album, how would you describe your music?
Nicholas Jonas: It’s definitely a pop-punk, pop-rock feel. A lot of old school punk influences as well as new pop-punk. So we combined the two sounds and made what the Jonas Brothers are.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): What’s your favorite song off the album?
Joseph Jonas: For me, it’s definitely “What I Go To School For”. It was the last song we did for the record and it just turned out so cool.
Nicholas Jonas: I have to agree, that’s one of my favorites. Also, “Time For Me To Fly”, which was one of the first songs we wrote together as a band.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Do you have anything to add Kevin?
Kevin Jonas: That’s pretty much exactly how I feel.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Very cool. Out of everyone you’ve gotten to tour with or work with in the industry, who was the coolest person you met?
Kevin Jonas: Oh man. Jesse McCartney has been amazing to us. On the tour and off, he’s just a great person to be around. He’s a great friend. Every time we see him, he gives us huge hugs. Of course the Backstreet Boys and Aly & AJ were great. Cheetah Girls too.
Nicholas Jonas: All the acts we toured with have been amazing.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Now tell me about “Mandy”. I know that you guys recorded three episodes of it. What made you decide to do that?
Joseph Jonas: We have three episodes of our video “Mandy”. Part of the reason was that we had so many ideas; we couldn’t fit it all in one . The president of Columbia Records came up with a great idea and we collaborated with him about having three episodes, but continued. We loved the idea.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Now I know that you, Nicholas originally was the one who wanted to be in music.
Nicholas Jonas: I always wanted to do music and always had been. I mean I started singing when I could talk. My mom started sending me out on auditions when I was seven. I started booking things. I did four Broadway shows and while I was doing that, I recorded a Christmas song. Someone heard it at Columbia Records and wanted to sign me. I wrote a song with my brothers for MY record and it became a group project instead, so we went that route. After two years, we finally came out with a record.
Kevin Jonas: Finally! It actually happened.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Very cool. Now I took a little poll and asked what kind of questions the fans wanted to ask you guys. Of course most of them had to do with girlfriends… So do you have a girlfriend?
Nicholas Jonas: Well, me…I…I’m trying to think if I do… [Laughs] Kevin Jonas: We definitely date.
Joseph Jonas: We like girls a lot. [Laughs] Kevin Jonas: We’re interested in stuff like that, but at the time we’re so busy.
Nicholas Jonas: It’s very hard to maintain a relationship because it’s always long distance.
Joseph Jonas: It doesn’t matter if you live across the street because it’s still long distance because we’re never home. When you find that special person, it does work though.
Kevin Jonas: It’s all about that person be willing to work with you.
Nicholas Jonas: But right now we’re all single.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): So would you ever date a fan?
Kevin Jonas: Yeah! Of course. We’re just normal people.
Joseph Jonas: Definitely!
Nicholas Jonas: My thing is I’ll date a fan if they’re not like “woo-woo” and they’re just cool and just a fan of our music.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Finally for the last question… If you could dedicate any song in the world to your fans, which song would you choose?
Nicholas Jonas: “I Just Called To Say I Love You” by Stevie Wonder. [Nicholas sings the song] Joseph Jonas: That’s definitely for all of us.

Sandy (StarShine Magazine): Thank you guys for the interview. Good luck with the album.
Jonas Brothers: Thank you so much!

For more information: www.jonasbrothers.com or www.myspace.com/jonasbrothers

JoJo Takes The High Road

“Too Little Too Late” maybe the title of JoJo’s new single, but it’s definitely so much to look forward to on her new album. The follow up album The High Road is set to release October 17th, but StarShine was able to get the inside scoop in advance. “It’s still in the R&B/Pop vein,” JoJo says of the album, “but we go a little bit more on the rock side for some songs. We’re playing with a lot of different kinds of music.” Some of those different styles involve sounds from the islands and a sample from the ’80s classic “Africa” by Toto.

JoJo released her debut album in 2004 at the tender age of thirteen and though she was mature then, now at fifteen, she’s even more so with a number one Billboard hit behind her along with major roles in two motion pictures. Now that JoJo is once again focusing on her music career, she pulled out all the stops on this upcoming album. The High Road has contributions from phenomenal producers like Scott Storch, Swizz Beatz and the legendary Diane Warren, who’s also a good friend. “When we’re not working, my mom and I still hang out with her when we’re in LA,” says JoJo.

Warren worked on two songs for the album, one called “A Note to God”, which wasn’t originally planned for JoJo. “She was playing [the song] for me on her piano at her studio.” JoJo explains. “My mom started crying because she thought it was beautiful and I know when my mom cries it’s actually a good thing.” She laughs. “So I was like you know let’s go to the studio tonight. I love this record. We knocked it out in about thirty minutes.” The rest was history. “It’s an inspirational song. It’s kind of haunting in the melody and I think it’s a song that will really touch people.” JoJo’s version of “A Note to God” obviously touched Warren since the raw version she recorded that night is the exact one that appears on the album. “I think that there was an intensity in that version that couldn’t have been duplicated again.” JoJo says.

With a powerhouse album like The High Road picking the first single must have been difficult. However, JoJo says it was no contest when choosing “Too Little Too Late”, which was written by Billy Steinberg (Madonna, Whitney Houston). “As soon as I heard that song, even with the demo singer on it, I knew that I wanted it for my album.” She says. “Once I put my vocals on it and we put our own little spin on it, I really wanted it to be my first single from the moment it was all done. I love the acoustic guitar. I love the words. I love the melody. It’s just a really great song.” JoJo gushes. It seems she made the right choice; the song is all over radio, Music Choice, and MTV.

Recently JoJo performed “Too Little Too Late” live for the first time at the Miss Teen USA pageant. It was also the first time she was singing with her new band, which is made up of young musicians from the New England area. JoJo is looking forward to hitting the holiday radio show circuit with the band and touring with them after the new year.

At 15-years-old, JoJo is a superstar in her own right with her dreams in place. Where else is there to go? According to JoJo–everywhere! “I want that number one record. I want to win a Grammy. I want to win an Oscar. I don’t want to set a limit to what I can do.” She explains and also stated she wants to run her own record company someday. “I’d like to oversee the careers of new artists once I’m grown and once I have more understanding of this business because there’s always more to learn. So I want to do it all.” Not only does she want to do it all, but she wants to see it all as well. “I want to see the world. I want to go to Africa. I want to go to all of Asia. I want to see everything.”

JoJo truly seems inspired by the world and obviously aims to inspire others. She chose to dedicate the title track of the upcoming album “The High Road” to her fans. “I think a lot of people need an inspirational message right now.” JoJo feels. “There’s so much to be confused about and there’s so many people that try to bring you down. I just feel like there’s a lot of negativity. ‘The High Road’ is really an uplifting song and a song that’s meant to inspire.” The High Road definitely hopes to be an album for fans and the music industry alike and leaves a lot to look forward to. To keep up with the overachieving JoJo, check out jojoonline.com

Gretchen Wilson: Inside the Redneck Woman

Country music is stereotyped around the world in sometimes a negative way. “Redneck” is one of those terms people unfamiliar with the country community label not only the music as but the people as well. One woman in country music was and will always be proud to be called a “Redneck Woman”. Gretchen Wilson jumped onto the music scene in 2004 with her hit single announcing she was that stereotype — only redneck to her is a positive thing.

StarShine Magazine had the pleasure of speaking with Gretchen Wilson by phone while she was in Las Vegas before her show at Mandalay Bay that night. Gretchen has been touring since January and is going strong. She credits her good friend Kenny Chesney for showing her how touring is done. “I really learned a lot from him on how to make it fun and make it profitable and to be a successful touring artist.” Gretchen explained. “I think I was blessed by having Chesney show me the ropes like that because we’re really kicking butt out here. It’s everything I dreamed it could be and more.”

Unlike other genres of the music industry, there aren’t many feuds, gang wars or rivalry in country music. “I think country music is just a smaller group of people.” Gretchen says. “We all care about each other. We’re all friends. When country music has an award show, there’s nobody walking around with an attitude. We’re all fans of each other and I think that makes a huge difference.”

As Gretchen spoke to StarShine about her tour, she gushed over going to New York City. “It’s like a chance of a lifetime.” Gretchen said. “I kind of feel like New York is starving over there.” Gretchen even expressed wanting to gather some other music artists to get some country radio stations in the big apple since there is a scarcity of them.

Continuing to speak about the tour, Gretchen’s craziest crowds are St. Louis, which is close to her hometown and Greenville, South Carolina because of the loud, die-hard fans there. Though Gretchen has the opportunity to travel around the country, she doesn’t get to see much of it. She gave StarShine a run-through of a day in the life of a touring artist. “I wake up at about noon every day. I’m sitting here doing phoners right now. I will for a couple of hours. Sound check. Then I’m going to eat something. Take a shower. Then my day pretty much starts. I’m working from that point on.” Gretchen explains. “I rarely get time to go outside the venue.” Gretchen also said she rarely eats in restaurants either. “I’m at the Mandalay Bay tonight and I will guarantee you I will not walk inside that casino.” She says.

With a forty-five person crew, seven semi-trucks and seven buses on tour with her, it’s hard to believe Gretchen Wilson started out playing bars back in her hometown of Pocahontas, Illinois. Does she ever miss it? The answer: a very stern NO. However, Gretchen does miss bartending from time to time. “I don’t miss it very often, I’ll promise you that.” She says. “But every once in a while, I kind of miss being back home at Big O’s and being behind the bar and seeing all my buddies everyday.” Gretchen’s actually planning a surprise trip back home soon.

Also in the near future for Gretchen is releasing the video for her next single “California Girls” off her smash sophomore album, All Jacked Up as well as recording her third album in July. Gretchen is going down a completely different road of success at the end of this year however, by releasing a book titled “GRETCHEN WILSON: I’ll Tell You What a Redneck Woman Is”.

Now we’re back where we started–rednecks. The one question Gretchen is constantly asked is what being a redneck means to her. “It’s impossible to answer that question in a couple of minutes. It takes a lifetime to really understand that.” Gretchen says. That question is the main reason she wrote this book, which gives examples of rednecks and shares various stories from Gretchen’s life as well as women who she studied and who made her the person she is today. “It’s definitely a girly book.” She says, but a self-help book as well. “I’m reading these chapters back and I’m going through all kinds of emotions.”

Though you’ll have to buy the book to fully understand Gretchen Wilson’s perception of being a redneck, StarShine got her to open up a bit about the negative connotation of the term. She says redneck is not about prejudism as it may have related to that in the past. “Come on, we don’t live in that world anymore.” Gretchen says. You can sense how much the negativity bothers her. “Being a redneck to me has nothing to do with prejudism. It has to do with a way of life. Being proud of what you have and who you are regardless of what the fad is.” Gretchen explains and delves even more. “If you work your whole life at minimum wage and by the time you’re fifty years old pay off a mobile home and are happy with that, then the hell with what everybody else thinks. I don’t think anyone should ever feel down about themselves and their lives.” She explains. “To me being a redneck means truly being happy with yourself.”

After hearing these words from Gretchen herself, not only did StarShine have new appreciation for what a redneck woman is, but we hope to be one ourselves and wish that for our readers as well with Gretchen Wilson as their inspiration and role model.

In ending our interview with Gretchen, we asked her to dedicate a song to her fans. She chose “Just The Way You Are” by Billy Joel. “He explained in a heartfelt way that you shouldn’t change. I wouldn’t be able to love you anymore than I do right now.” Gretchen explained. “The fans keep me going. They keep you honest. They keep you on your toes. They do a lot more than they think they do. Every night when I step out on stage, they tell me a lot. They tell me how to move, how to walk, how to talk, what songs they want to hear.” Gretchen says with such appreciation. “I trust them to let me know I’m on track.” For more information on Gretchen Wilson including tour dates, photos and to listen to snippets from All Jacked Up, go to gretchenwilson.com

Album Spotlight: “What’s Left of Me” – Nick Lachey

Through pain, fear and a broken heart emerges twelve beautiful songs that we will see as what’s left of Nick Lachey. However, there’s obviously much more to this talented man than viewers of “Newlyweds” saw as Jessica’s husband. Though Lachey’s career started about a decade ago, it was overshadowed by his marriage and now divorce. His first album apart from 98 Degrees didn’t peek out from that shadow much, though SoulO deserved to be standing brightly on its own. Now with What’s Left of Me, Nick Lachey seems to have found exactly the right moment to stand on his own as a male solo artist. The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 album charts and Lachey’s title track has been swarming airwaves and TV stations around the country.

Lachey truly masters the art of songwriting on What’s Left of Me. His words cut into your heart, but his strength gives you courage to move on from your broken heart along with him. “What’s Left of Me”, “I Can’t Hate You Anymore” and “On Your Own” brings insight to Lachey’s experiences, while “Beautiful” makes millions of women, young and old wish he was singing it to them. “Shades of Blue” and “Outside Looking In” will get stuck in your head, but “Resolution” will put you in a mellow, inspired mood.

“I Do It For You” expresses a certain bitterness with the chorus saying, “I want you to burn/I want you to steal/I want you to bleed/And see how it feels/I want you to beg/I want you to crawl/Give more than you take/And smile through it all“. Other amazing tracks are “Run To Me”, “Ghosts” and “You’re Not Alone”.

Nick Lachey is a pure artist bringing an art back to songwriting. Lachey’s music can draw out so many emotions. Each track tells a piece of a story. Sometimes you cry and other times you smile, but overall you feel empowered by it all. What’s Left of Me is an album for everyone: the true romantic, the cynic, the lost and the found.

Pick up What’s Left of Me in stores and on iTunes now. Check out nicklachey.com for more information.

Album Spotlight: Brian Littrell – Welcome Home

Welcome Home is the debut solo project from Backstreet Boy, Brian Littrell. Unlike his band mate, Nick Carter, who merged onto the rock/pop scene in 2002, Littrell’s roots stem as far back as to when he was five-years-old. Growing up Christian and diagnosed with a heart condition, Littrell counted his blessings and ministered his beliefs through music, mostly singing in choir. Prior to joining the Backstreet Boys, Littrell had planned on attending a Bible college to study youth or music ministry. God obviously had a different plan for him. “God has allowed me through the Backstreet Boys to minister in a positive way, encouraging people to stand up for what they believe.” Littrell explains.

Now Brian Littrell is getting the chance to minister even more with Welcome Home. “These songs represent who I am and what I believe. It’s no secret: What you see is what you get, and I couldn’t be more proud to have the opportunity to share this music, both with the church and with longtime Backstreet fans alike,” Littrell says. The 11 tracks are centered around God and how grateful Littrell is for the life he was given. Don’t expect the typical sounds of the gospel on this album, however. Littrell offers a modern spin on Christian music with pop infectious hooks and beautiful melodies.

Songs like “My Answer Is You”, “I’m Alive” and the first single “Welcome Home” will have you singing along and bopping your head to the beat. “Wish” and “Over My Head” discuss the wonder and mystery of God, while “You Keep Givin’ Me” and “We Lift You Up” expresses the love one can have for Him. “Gone Without Goodbye”, a song about loss and “Grace of My Life”, which is about Littrell’s thanks to the Lord for his wife will both have you in tears. “Angels and Heroes” is one of Littrell’s favorites on the album. The song is an inspiration stating, “We don’t need wings to be angels. We don’t need reasons to be right. Your love makes us all better. That’s who we really are. Angels and heroes at heart.” Ending the album in both true vocalist and gospel fashion, Littrell sings “Jesus Love You” a cappella, with his three-year-old son, Baylee introducing the track and ending it.

Welcome Home is such an uplifting album that renews your faith and gives you something to look forward to. Brian Littrell sounds like an angel and plays the part of one as well with this album. It’s no wonder Littrell already won a Dove award for Inspirational Song of the Year with his rendition of “In Christ Alone”. StarShine urges you to pick up a copy of Welcome Home, if not for the messages expressed on the album, then for the rich music of it. To sample songs and find out more about Brian Littrell, go to: brianlittrell.com

Sandy Lo Media
Left Menu Icon