Nick Lachey is 39 and holding – holding his newborn son Camden and changing the little guy’s diapers.
The singer and TV host took a break from his duties as a first-time father on Tuesday. He was in town promoting an online campaign for Tide at Paul Brown Stadium, and he talked about life as a dad, the Bengals, the reformation of his band 98 Degrees and the possibility of raising a family in Cincinnati with his wife, Vanessa Minnillo.
Question: Does the prospect of turning 40 change your outlook on life?
Answer: I try not to look ahead to 40, but sadly it’s now within the year. I don’t feel like I’m that old, as if 40 is that old anymore. It doesn’t affect me.
Q: You became a father for the first time in September. How has that changed your life?
A: A hundred percent. I think it’s impossible for something like that not to change your mentality and your perspective. It really does put everything in its proper place. You realize what’s important and realize what’s less important, so it’s been great to be a dad.
Q: What’s something that’s now more important and something that’s now less important?
A: Your family becomes that much more important. That life that you’re now responsible for is the most important thing. And all of those things that you selfishly did before, the going out, whatever it is, you can’t do anymore. Those are sacrifices you’re happy to make, because it’s all about this little guy. You go from a selfish mentality to a much more selfless mentality, and that just comes with being a parent.
Q: Do you have everyday parenting duties, or is it impossible to maintain a routine when you’re in show business?
A: Anyone who works, it’s challenging to find a balance between doing your parenting and doing your work. Vanessa and I share the responsibility. Obviously she’s more in the food department at this point than I am, and I’m in the post-food changing department. We share the responsibility as much as we can and try to give each other breaks when we can.
Q:Where are you guys living?
A: We’re between Cincinnati and L.A., for now. He was born in L.A.
Q: How often are you in Cincinnati as a family?
A: She obviously couldn’t fly being pregnant and since his birth we haven’t really flown but we’re planning on spending a lot of time here. Our end game is to move here and to raise him here. As he gets older I’m sure we’ll spend more and more time here in Cincinnati.
Q: Is that an easy sell to your wife, to raise your son in Cincinnati?
A: Yeah, I don’t think either one of us envision raising our kids in L.A. It’s not the upbringing we had and I think we see something different for them than raising them there. So this being my home, where my family is, it’s kind of the logical place. I grew up here and loved growing up here. It was a great place to be a kid and to raise a family, so yeah, I think we’re both excited about coming back here and raising our family here.
Q: So you’re not one-and-done?
A: No, no, no. We’ll definitely have more. I don’t know how many more, but we’ll have more.
Q: Does Vanessa favor motherhood, a life in show business, or does she want to find a way to balance both?
A: Obviously she loves what she does. She’s a great host. But motherhood is something that really does suit her, and something that she’s been excited about for a long time. She’s a natural at it. Where that goes, and how that balance works for her moving forward, I think time will tell. I don’t see her necessarily wanting to give up her career entirely, but at the same time I think that between the two, motherhood is much more important to her than her show-business career.
Q: What is Tide’s Show Us Your Colors campaign?
A: It’s a great campaign we have going on right now. We’re encouraging people to upload pictures of them in their team’s colors – for me obviously it’s the Bengals – to upload a picture that represents when your colors were most meaningful. For me the picture I put up was of Camden in his Bengals onesie the first time I sat down to watch a Bengals game with him. Football can be a family thing. There are a lot of family memories and traditions that happen surrounding the NFL, so we’re encouraging people to celebrate that. Take a picture of something that represents that for you and your family and post it on Tide’s Facebook page. And you’re actually automatically entered for a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl by doing that.
Q:Do you think it’s fair to make your son a Bengals fan?
A: That’s a good question (laughs). I’m gonna let him make his own decisions. He can pick his own team, but he’ll know his dad is a Bengals fan. If he wants to become something else that’s on him. He’s allowed to make his own decisions, but I’m gonna steer him in that direction.
Q: As a Cubs fan from Chicago, I sort of understand why people in Cincinnati continue to root for the Bengals. But when does rational thought come into play, and why should people root when this team has bad management and will never be a consistent winner until there are significant changes?
A: Excellent, excellent question. I think that the fan base has reached the point of not just settling for the status quo – the year-in, year-out, mediocrity-will-do mentality. I think that you’ve seen the fan base let their voice be heard a little bit. And I encourage them to continue to do that. There’s no reason why the Bengals can’t be and shouldn’t be a perennial contender. So I think the fans deserve that. They should expect it. They should demand it. And the only way they can really speak is with their money and with their pocketbooks. And I think they’ve done that. I think that hopefully the management here has heard that and changes are coming.
Q: How did the 98 Degrees show in Pennsylvania go in August?
A: It was awesome. We kind of viewed that show as a chance after 11 years to get back together and see how it felt. We had a blast. There were a few achy body parts that weren’t there 11 years ago, but it was a lot of fun. We really enjoyed being together and performing again.
Q: Why did you want to get the band back together, as opposed to doing solo stuff?
A: I was fortunate enough to have a successful solo tour and solo record, and it was great, but there’s something special about being on stage with your brothers. You develop this camaraderie and this unity. And it’s a little lonely for solo artists sometimes. Really, it comes down to fun. We thought it would be fun. We waited a long time to do it. We thought the time was right to get back together and have some fun with it.
Q:Drew (Lachey, Nick’s brother and bandmate) told the Enquirer in August that the band would get together in a L.A. studio in October, while he was on “Dancing with the Stars” to record an album. Did that happen?
A: It’s actually happening in a couple weeks, but yeah, Drew was on “Dancing with the Stars.” We kind of had to take a backseat to that for a while. We are getting in the studio in the beginning of December and starting to work on a new record. Exciting stuff.
Q: Where are you in the process right now? Are you recording demos?
A: It’s the sort of song-selection process. Once we kind of nail down five, six, seven songs we’ll go in and start knocking them out.
Q: Any idea when something might be released?
A: Next year. We’re planning on touring next year. We’re planning on releasing new music next year, probably late spring I would think.
Q: I heard you guys were rehearsing at your old high school (School for Creative and Performing Arts) earlier this year. Is that true?
A: We were. Well, our old high school, which is now in a new building. The new old high school. Kind of a full-circle moment, you know, come back and work out the dance moves there. We put the stage show together, all the choreography, all the moves, and all the intro-outro stuff.
Q: Any plans to do more rehearsing in Cincinnati?
A: It wouldn’t surprise me. Three of the four of us live here for the most part, so it always makes sense to work here when we can.
Q: What are the touring plans for next year?
A: We’re looking at doing a tour next summer, probably starting late May.
Q: Now that you’re on the brink of 40, do you think people can start calling 98 Degrees an R&B vocal group, or will you always be called a boy band?
A: I would hope we’re not a boy band any longer. I think we’re a vocal group. Man band just doesn’t feel right either. Vocal group sounds much better.
Q: I heard that you’re working on a solo album of lullabies. Can you talk about that?
A:Yeah, I’m just finishing up a lullaby record, obviously inspired by Camden being born, so I’m very excited to have that come out. It will be out in February next year. It’s an interesting project because it’s done through Fisher Price, so it’s actually gonna be in the baby department of stores, so it’s not a traditional record deal, so to speak. It’s a neat opportunity to get into the actual places where moms are shopping.
Q: I want to ask you about Justin (Jeffre of 98 Degrees). He’s a fascinating dude. He recently became editor of the local newspaper Streetvibes, and his politics are to the left of what people consider the left. Have you guys as a band ever asked him to temper his political activism because you were afraid it could hurt your bottom line?
A: No. We all support each other. We don’t necessarily share the same views obviously. But we all support each other in whatever we believe in. I don’t think that’s ever been an issue.
Q: So when you backed him in his run for mayor of Cincinnati (2005), it wasn’t necessarily you supporting his platform, it was you supporting him as a friend.
A: One hundred percent. I support him like a brother. I went to school with him. I’ve known him my whole life. He’s obviously very close to me. He’ll always have my support as a person.
By Chris Varias