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Nick Lachey
Times seem to be bleak for boy bands, while solo careers are flourishing. Boyzone made Ronan Keating famous while Take That did the same for Robbie Williams and N Sync for Justin Timberlake. Now Nick Lachey is the latest to become the most famous member of a former boy band. The 98 Degrees founding member ~ best known for being Jessica Simpson’s ex-husband ~ is back with the release of his second solo album What’s Left Of Me. His very public marriage and divorce can have only helped sales of the album, and while new rumours regarding his love life surface regularly, his music seems to indicate that Nick is still pining for his ex-wife.

98 Degrees
Nick’s musical career owes its roots to his early days growing up in Ohio. Along with his younger brother Drew, Nick studied at the prestigious School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati where he trained his singing abilities. On graduating from high school, he enrolled at another prestigious institution ~ Miami University in Oxford, Ohio ~ to study sports medicine. It was at Miami that Nick met Jeff Timmons and the two, along with Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre, formed 98 Degrees.

The quartet left Ohio and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a recording contract. Not long after the move, 98 Degrees was signed to Motown Records ~ home to Boyz II Men and Queen Latifah ~ and recorded the hit song True To Your Heart with music legend Stevie Wonder for the soundtrack of the animated film Mulan. They released their first album 98° And Rising in 1998 and found a #1 hit with the single Thank God I Found You (a collaboration with Mariah Carey and Joe), which earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. After releasing five albums, the group decided to take a hiatus in 2002 to pursue other interests. Drew Lachey found fame on the hit TV show Dancing With The Stars, Jeff Timmins released a solo album Whisper This Way, Justin Jeffre unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Cincinnati, and Nick Lachey found himself in a whole new league of fame.

The Newlywed
In October 2002, Nick married his girlfriend of four years, pop singer Jessica Simpson. Both were struggling with their careers ~ Jessica’s solo albums received lukewarm responses, while Nick was best known as “that guy from 98 Degrees” ~ when they hit upon an idea that would catapult them into stardom. With the help of Jessica’s father and manager, the couple signed with MTV to create a reality show documenting their married lives. Cameras began following the couple from their wedding day (including the ceremony), and America tuned in every week to see just what would happen next. From the onset, Jessica was the darling, albeit the epitome of the dumb blonde. Newlyweds: Nick And Jessica put the spotlight on their careers and their marriage for nineteen months, and the couple marketed themselves to the best of their abilities. The offers started reaping in for Jessica ~ the role of Daisy Duke in the Hollywood remake of The Dukes Of Hazzard, its hit single These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, Pizza Hut commercials (capitalising on an episode from the show where she thought buffalos had wings) and a re-release of her album In This Skin with her biggest hit With You. Nick released his debut solo album SoulO to unfavourable response. Despite featuring a behind the scenes look at the video shoot for its lead single Shut Up on the show, the album failed to do well with fans and critics. Perhaps the most famous song from the album is the ballad This I Swear, which was also the theme song for the show.

And just as their careers began to go off in different directions, rumours began to plague their marriage. An Ohio State University student named Danielle Calo told a magazine that Nick allegedly took her to a hotel room while he was in Columbus where he seduced her. Nick denied the allegations, and Calo reportedly later claimed that she had made the story up. Meanwhile, news spread that Jessica was allegedly cheating on Nick with her Dukes Of Hazzard co-star Johnny Knoxville. While gossip magazines reported that the marriage was on its last legs, the couple continued to claim their undying love for one another until November 2005 when they formally announced their separation. In December, Jessica filed for divorce and soon after, Nick began work on What’s Left Of Me.

What’s Left Of Me
Whether it was due to the success of Newlyweds or the highly publicised separation from Jessica, What’s Left Of Me has been Nick’s most successful musical endeavour so far. The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, while the title track reached the top ten of the Billboard Top 100 Singles chart. The album has been entirely inspired by his life since the separation, making for some depressing and heartfelt lyrics. “What’s Left Of Me is very introspective,” says Nick. “I’m a believer that when you truly love someone you give a piece of yourself to them and it’s a piece you never get back. Literally, it’s taking what’s left of you and moving on to the rest of your life.”

You can read the rest of our feature on Nick Lachey in the July 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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