Come(back) and get it: Carter returns to CoMo
Aaron Carter to play The Blue Note Oct. 12
Aaron Carter is all grown up.
“(I’m) not 12 years old anymore,” he says emphatically over the phone on a Sunday afternoon. “I’m ready to move on, grow up and progress.”
It’s been more than a decade since Carter’s last album, “Another Earthquake,” was released. In the 12 years since, Carter has appeared in a handful of films, performed in 500 shows as Matt in an off-Broadway production of “The Fantasticks” and placed fifth on the ninth season of “Dancing with the Stars.”
He also recently filed for bankruptcy –– a move he says has helped him in the long run. Carter’s more than $3 million debt, incurred from unpaid taxes on money made at the height of his young fame, made potential collaborators hesitant to work with him. However, when he opted to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, he was able to cancel all his debts, clearing the damage done by those in charge of the then-teenaged Carter’s money.
He works tirelessly to avoid the “child star” phenomenon of young artists falling into downward spirals of self-destruction and infamy. Aside from a 2008 arrest for possession of marijuana, “that’s the only trouble you’ve seen me in,” he says. “I’m a good person.”
Transitioning into this new self has been hard, but he says he’s “willing to do it.” For Carter, it’s all about moving forward.
After years of hard work and determination, Carter seems to have bounced back and landed on his feet. He’s older and wiser and ready for a comeback. This 12-year hiatus has allowed Carter time to mature and evolve, both as an artist and as a person.
“I’m my own boss (now),” he says. “I’ve got my own business. You can count on me.”
Beneath Carter’s mellow, laid-back demeanor is a (albeit young, and unlikely) businessman, meticulously calculating his return to the realm of pop music. He says he’s assembled a team of “the best of the best” to produce his new music, including latest single “Ooh Wee,” a hip hop-tinged pop track produced by the Grammy-winning Aaron Pearce.
His new, “more urban-influenced” album, he says, shows off his maturity. “(It’s) not ‘(I Want) Candy’ all over again,” he says.
Carter says part of the reason for the long wait between albums was that he didn’t want to release music that’s “crap.”
“I waited around until the right opportunity (came along),” he says.
But, he quickly adds, “I love those songs.” While he’s eager to share his new music –– and, ultimately, his new, older self –– with fans, he doesn’t mind performing old favorites like “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It).” Songs like that “(don’t) get old.”
“I’m very proud of all my work,” he says. “I’m very happy with all of my work.”
Carter says his real fans will understand that he’s growing up and will continue to support him as he grows and evolves as an artist.
But as for the fans who refuse to think of him as anything more than 2000’s hottest teen idol, Carter advises, simply, “move on.”
He most certainly has.