We first met him as the lead singer of 98 Degrees, one of several boy bands who topped the charts in the late '90s and attracted thousands of screaming fans to their shows. But now more than 15 years later, Nick Lachey is singing a different kind of tune. Married to his wife, Vanessa, and now a first-time dad to baby Camden, born last September, Lachey just released what he calls a very personal album called "Nick Lachey: A Father's Lullaby," which he dedicates to his son.
The 12-song CD includes songs like "You Are My Sunshine," "When You Wish Upon a Star" and "Baby Mine"
MSN Music spoke with the singer about the album, fatherhood and the upcoming 98 Degrees reunion tour with New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men this summer.
MSN Music: How did the idea of this lullaby album come about?
Well, the idea kind of really originated when you find out you're pregnant and all those emotions that go along with that start coming into play. For me music was a place where I was able to express myself and communicate those emotions, so I had a unique opportunity to do something cool and dedicate it to Camden, and have it be something we can kind of share as a moment in our lives together for a long, long time. I hadn't really heard of any guy doing a lullaby CD so I thought it was kind of unique and I decided to go for it.
Was there a particular process you took when selecting the songs on the album? Did you choose some songs that were special to you when you were a child?
Yeah. It was a combination of songs that I wrote that were from the heart and very meaningful for me and to me, and also songs that represented something for me in my life. Like "You Are my Sunshine" was a song my grandfather used to sing to me as a child. That was very special. "Godspeed" was a song the Dixie Chicks did that just really spoke to me, and I thought was a great record about having a little guy. I tried to pick songs that were meaningful; songs that mean something or spoke to me when I heard them.
Does baby Camden have a favorite song?
Well it's interesting: one song in particular; the melody I used to hum to him before he was even born. We had read some research that they said that babies can recognize and realize melodies they've heard in the womb. So the song "Sleepy Eyes" is one that I used to hum to him before he was born, so that's the one I sing to him every night before he goes to sleep. I like to think it's his favorite. He hasn't told me any differently, so we'll just assume that I'm right on that.
How has parenthood been for you and Vanessa? Is he keeping you up at night?
No. He's a great sleeper. He's been sleeping through the night now for about three months now, if not longer. He's a great kid. We love being parents. Every day is something new and exciting, and we just feel really blessed. We have a great kid. He's very well behaved. It's been nothing but fun. Nothing but great stuff.
You're also gearing up to go on tour with New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men for The Package Tour. Are you planning on bringing Vanessa and baby Camden with you?
Oh yeah. He's changing so much so fast, I can't imagine not being with him for two and a half months. They're definitely going to come out on the road -- maybe not the whole time, but for a chunk of it. It'll be cool to spend that time and share those memories with them. It's just a fun thing being on tour. It's a big chapter of my life with those guys so it'll be cool to be able to share that with Vanessa and Camden.
Your 98 Degrees fans have grown up since the last time you've toured together, and you all have obviously matured too. What are you looking forward to the most?
I think more than anything it's getting back in front of the fans. We've got some great fans who have stood by us and been with us for a long, long time. This is for them. This is something that they've been clamoring for and campaigned for, for a while. It's the right time for all of our lives and careers to make it happen on our end. It'll just be fun to get back out in front of the fans and give them a great show and see their energy and their love again.
98 Degrees was actually discovered as a group at a Boyz II Men concert, right?
That's right. We were huge fans and still are of Boyz II Men. We sang a capella at one of their concerts and got backstage and tried to sing for them, but they were really busy back then. We got discovered by someone there who hooked us up with Montell Jordan, and then from there we did our demo and got signed and all that good stuff. But it all started with the concert that night and singing backstage at their show.
And this is the first time you'll be touring with them?
It is. We've gotten to know them through the years. We were both on Motown Records for a while so we know them. I was on "The Sing-Off" with Shawn [Stockman] from Boyz II Men for the last couple years. We know each other, but this is definitely the first time we're performing on the same bill, on the same tour together.
Do you all have a personal connection with New Kids on the Block as well?
We do. Some of us do. Drew toured with Joey Mcintyre on the "Dancing With the Stars" tours. Way back in the day we toured with Jordan [Knight] in southeast Asia. So over the course of doing different things you get to know some of the guys personally. I actually ran into Donnie [Wahlberg] at a thing last year and we started talking about getting the group back together, and I think that the idea of touring together maybe originated from speaking to him at that party. All the groups of this particular tour have great guys. Really down to earth. A lot of fun. Both onstage and offstage it should be a lot of fun this summer.
Without giving too much away, can fans expect a big grand finale with all three groups onstage?
[Laughs] I wish I knew the answer to that. We haven't really gotten to the point where we're starting to put the whole show together. I think each group is starting to think about what they want to do, but as far as putting the big show together, we haven't gotten there yet. But it'd be a lot of fun to do that. I certainly hope we can.
What do you want parents to know about the lullaby album?
Lullabies are designed to calm down babies and put them to sleep. Aside from being a very personal record and one I'm very proud of, I think it's an effective record. It definitely calms Camden down. ... A lot of my fans from over the years are now starting families of their own and having their own kids. It's a great opportunity to continue to share my music with them but in a completely different way. So I'm very excited for everyone to hear it.
Does Camden get the album version or the live version of these songs each night?
He gets the live version!