GMA Music Week may be hectic and devoid of sanity, but during an interview buffet aptly dubbed a "media blitz," we
were given a short sit-down with Backstreet Boy-turned-Gospel-solo-artist Brian Littrell. The interview had been previously
scheduled, canceled due to conflict, and rescheduled on the spot without prior notice for a completely improvised chat (notice
how John really hits him with those deep questions right off the bat!)...
This interview took place on: 4/24/07.
Jesus freak Hideout (John DiBiase): So how's it going?
Brian Littrell: It's going good, man. It's a little bit of a whirlwind, but it's all good.
JFH (John): How do you like the Christian industry? It's gotta be pretty different...
Brian: I was expecting it to be a bunch different, a ton different, but it's really not. The one main difference is
the message. A lot of the music is the same other than the message. The people are the same other than what they're about. Obviously,
that's the jist of the Christian world. A lot of people are like "Oh, you've gotten to see tons of things," and you know, I really
don't. Radio is radio. I hate to say it, but interviews are interviews and TV is TV and record labels are record labels and making
records is making records. But again, the one major difference for me is the message. That's what I'm about; getting the message out
there and telling people really who I am and not who they think I am. You know, my stage life from my past doesn't depict who I am as
a person. I want to be known as a believer and a husband and as a father. That's really all I am.
JFH (John): Your solo record is really good. How's it doing? How's the whole experience being a
It's awesome, man. It's great to be able to talk about what I want to talk about and go where I want to go and do what I want to do.
It's been one of the most rewarding things. I don't tell this to a lot of people, but I've told this to a few. When you come to my
house, you won't find Backstreet Boy CD's hung up. You'll find my Dove Award, which is really cool. I don't need anybody recognizing
me on the wall in my home anyway, but you know, those are important things in my life and they tell a story of where I've been and
what I also continue to do. A lot of people think "Oh, you go solo and you leave the group" and I'm like "No, I go solo but I'm
still involved in the group and as long as we can make good quality music, I'll continue to go where God calls me to go."
If that's where He wants me to be, I'll be there.
JFH (Amy DiBiase): We were at the Dove Awards last year in the press room, so we saw you there.
Seeing you speak during the press conference was the first time I actually saw you. Our theme is Christian music, so I don't know the
Backstreet Boys very much. There's a huge population that I think you're playing to here. They only know you as a solo artist.
Brian: That's rewarding to me. I don't know if you know about the Glory Revealed tour that's going on with
Mac Powell [Third Day] and David Nasser and friends - I'm in that friends category *laughs*, but I'm not headlining.
I'm just in the "friends" category. It's a lot of fun. The company on that tour is great and I've run into a lot of people at the
churches that we've played at night in and night out that would maybe have heard of the Backstreet Boys and, you know, know one or
two songs, but not really know Brian Littrell from the Backstreet Boys. They would know me from the Welcome Home CD, which
is great because you know I get a chance on the tour to do "Welcome Home" and, let's see, "You Alone" that Mac and I wrote together
that's on the Glory Revealed project, as well as "Over My Head," which is the current single now. But when I break into
"Welcome Home" and show bits and pieces of the video, people are like "Now I know who that guy is!" And that's kinda cool. That tells
a whole other story about my life which I appreciate.
JFH (Amy): Actually, a year ago, I was just talking to a friend at Provident who introduced your music
to me personally.
Brian: Did you like it when you heard it?
JFH (Amy): Yes, very much so. I listen to it all the time. I have distinct memories of being in our
old apartment, before we got our house, being in the kitchen listening to the CD player and saying to myself "I don't believe this."
You know, trying to think - I don't want to say this but, you came from a "boy band." And now, to me, just the lyrics and the meaning
and the message is just amazing. I was very moved, very inspired. If I need to be encouraged, I'll listen to it. Now it's on my iPod.
That's what I wanted the CD to do. The cool thing about the Welcome Home CD is that it really is everything that I am as an
artist, not necessarily a solo artist. But you'll find "pop" stuff on there, you'll find some country stuff, and you'll also find
what I call "Traditional Southern Gospel," which is the choirs and stuff like that. That's what I grew up listening to. The song
"We Lift You Up," which is actually being released on another format of radio from what I heard. I hear people saying "We love that
song!" and I'm like "How do you know it?" It was on the Welcome Home CD and I wrote that song about nine years ago. I knew
that it was gonna have a place sooner or later on maybe another Christian artist or when it was God's timing to allow those doors to
be open and to have a chance to be able to work with Mark Kibble and Dave Thomas from Take 6, and they're singing on my record as
well in the "Jesus Loves You" track. It's just a lot of fun, it's kind of everything that made me who I am from the pop world to the
country to the traditional gospel to the inspirational; from Michael W. Smith to Sandy Patty to Take 6 to boy bands *laughs*.
JFH (Amy): On a personal note, I don't know if anyone has said anything to you about the
Virginia Tech incident. But, when it happened - I'm a nurse, and I was just geared to whatever was medically going on with those
people. I was really just pulled into the news the whole time. I was just so shocked, but at the same time I wanted to be informed.
And then I would go to the hospital and go to work and nobody would talk about it. I'm like "this is so weird…" Anyways, the point is,
there is this one song that I wanted to listen to so I would be encouraged. I don't know anyone personally from Virginia Tech, but I
listened to "Gone Without Goodbye" and it ministered to me because it was the same thing happening all over. I never thought I'd be
sitting here to tell you that.
I really didn't know how that song would pertain to future events. I didn't write that song so I can't take credit, but a friend of
mine, Billy Mann wrote that song. I'll never forget hearing that song for the first time. Billy was actually in Nashville, TN doing
the studio session the morning of 9/11 . I don't know if you know this, but the Backstreet Boys were on the Black & Blue tour
and we were in Boston that morning. My wife was actually scheduled to be on that American Airlines flight and we cancelled like a
day and a half before.
JFH (Amy): Yeah! I heard about this whole thing on a local radio station as I was driving to work
one night. They had a taped interview that they did with you that they later played and I heard you introducing the song and saying
all of that. I thought to myself "Oh my gosh, your wife could totally not be here right now."
*John and Brian get goosebumps* Yeah, I wouldn't have my little boy either. Life wouldn't be the same. But he (Billy Mann) wrote that song based upon doing a studio session. When he showed up to the studio to produce the session, none of the players came that morning. He was upset. He started calling everybody asking "Where're you at? Where's my guitarist? Where's my drummer? Where's my keyboard player?" He was upset because he was paying these guys to come and do a session. He started calling and giving everybody grief saying "I'm paying for this session, let's go." And he was kinda preaching to the other guys. Billy Mann is Jewish, but he was connected in a way to this song and the worldly events of "how could someone really be gone without those closing words of goodbye." Everyone wants a little bit of closure in their life. I'm sure some of the students are dealing with that and some of the family members are dealing with that right now thinking "life is just too short and why? Why did that have to happen?" And you know, here we are talking about Christian music and being somewhat of an inspiration hopefully so people can band together and come together. It's sad that it takes events like this to make small communities and colleges become one or to even listen to the same song. I know in tragic times there are bonds and there are those movements and they have to happen in order to bring people together. But that song, I do that on my tour and its just - wow - I kind of just preface it with "this one's a hard one to do." You know? And as a father now, and the second verse talking about the girl that's being abducted and gets taken out of the street - that's the world that we live in. I think we're living in Revelations if you ask me. I think we're getting there. Trumpets are gonna be sounding pretty soon. I wanna be called up to the Big Leagues. Go ahead. Get me out of here *laughs*. But you know, that's kinda what Welcome Home is about: the homecoming of faith. Whether you're there or you're working on it, you can get there.
JFH (John): Any last comments?
Thank you guys for coming. Thanks to the listeners, to whoever's listening. To anybody and everybody. I just want the listeners to
know my heart and to know where I came from. I've been a born again believer since the age of 8. I've known that this is really what
God has called me to do for a long long time, but He's also allowed some amazing things to happen in my life as well. To Him be the
Glory. This isn't about me. One of the great things about Christian music is that it's not really about the artist; it's about that
message that we keep talking about. I enjoy that. I don't enjoy the glory. It's only a gift. David Nasser from Glory Revealed
would tell you that we're just supposed to be arrows walking around pointing up, walking around with a big billboard on our head.
Instead of a Backstreet Boy album, a big arrow! *laughter*
Brian Littrell's debut solo album Welcome Home is available now!