Tuesday, March 30, 1999

Dear 'NSync . . .

JC Chasez of the wildly popular singing group responds to young Tristate fans' questions

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The five guys of 'NSync are easily the hottest commodities on the spring concert circuit. Teens record every 'NSync TV appearance and swap videos. Their CDs fly out of stores. Their Saturdayconcert at Firstar Center sold out in nanoseconds. So when we asked young Enquirer readers to help us interview the singing group, the response was so hysterical they made Roberto Benigni look like Al Gore.

        We culled through more than 100 questions that poured in on e-mail, discarding several dozen that ran along the lines of “Will you marry me?” or “Will you go out with me?”

        So before Joseph “Joey” Fatone, Christopher “Chris” Kirkpatrick, Joshua “JC” Chasez, Justin Timberlake and James “Lance” Bass come to town, here are some of the questions you've wanted to ask 'NSync and the answers given by JC, calling from a soundcheck in Columbus.

        Jean-Marie O'Neal, 18, of North Avondale, asks, “What is the one thing that they don't have but they want?”

        JC: “A little more free time. I used to, like, to go to movies all the time. It was ridiculous. Now I'm lucky if I catch one now and then.”

        Ms. O'Neal also asks, “Are any of you dating Britney Spears?”

        JC: “No, ahh, no. Jailbait.” (Which also answers the “Will you go out with me?” question posed by all those 14-year-olds.)

        Katie Krebs and Meagan Dial, both 14 and from Greenhills, want to know, “How does it feel to have your pictures in almost every girl's bedroom?”

        JC: “That's a pretty awkward feeling. It's kind of not real, and it's not something we think about that much. We just go on with our day to day.”

        Sarah Miller, 15, of West Chester, wondered, “Does the fame ever get too overwhelming?”

        JC: “It's just not something we think about. I know it sounds crazy to say that, but it's not. We look at our schedule and we say, "We've got a job to do today. We've got a show to do, and we've got to make sure it's a good show.' Because that's what we do. The only thing that I guess is overwhelming sometimes is when you try to go out or something and then it turns into a scene or whatever.”

        Robyn Boeckman, 13, of Wilder, asks, “If you were to date a fan, how would you know if they were dating you for the real you or just because you were a member of 'NSync?

        JC: “That's the tough one, actually. That's when it takes time to get to know somebody, and I think that's why our dating life is so complicated right now, 'cause you don't know. And that's why we're so cautious and that's why 90 percent of the time we don't have girlfriends. We do date, but very cautiously. People constantly have ulterior motives.”

        Jessica Presnell, 17, of Riverside, asks if the guys remember a free Q102 concert 'NSync gave at Seton High School last November.

        JC: “I absolutely remember that. They put us in the band room and we started banging on all the instruments and they were like “Don't touch that!' It was a great show. The kids were really enthusiastic when we got out there. We didn't know what to expect. It was a Catholic school. We didn't know if they were gonna have to sit down and everything. But they didn't. They got up and they screamed and they had a good time.”

        Many questions concerned the group's career.

        Christine Daly asks “What would you be doing if you hadn't formed 'NSync?”

        JC: “I'd probably be giggin' somewhere, still doin' music. I just don't know where. Wherever it would have taken me.”

        Aimee Scott, 12, wanted to know, “What bands or music were you inspired or influenced by?”

        JC: “I listen to so much stuff. I've hung out with a lot of different cats and everybody rubs off on me a little bit. I take a little bit from everybody. I've been influenced by jazz, R&B, Sting, Seal, Stevie (Wonder), Brian McKnight — a bunch of folks.”

        Aspiring singer Chris Brooks, 20, of Middletown, one of the few male 'NSync fans to respond, asks, “What steps got them there? Did they each have an agent? Were they just going to audition after audition? How did they start the demo process?”

        JC: “We were actually a group for about nine months before anybody approached us. Me and Justin used all our contacts from the Mickey Mouse Club to put a demo package together, and that's how we got it goin'.”

        Betsey Arnold, 15, of Fairfield, wants to know, “What made you decide for sure that this is what you wanted to do? What made you want to devote all of your time to it?”

        JC: “It was dumb luck. My mom found an ad in the paper (in his hometown of Washington), and I went on my first audition (for The New Mickey Mouse Club at age 13). So everything kind of evolved from that. Before that, I was too busy with Tonka trucks and climbing trees.”

        Lauren Hoover, 12, of Colerain, was curious, “What is your advice for teens who want to be future singers?”

        JC: “Don't let anybody put you down. If you really want to do it, stay positive with yourself and just practice — work on it. Regardless of what other people's opinions are, one of these days, if you really really want it bad enough and if you try hard enough, it'll come through for you.”

        Alli Pohl asks, “What do you have to say to all the people who think you're just a copy of the Backstreet Boys?”

        JC: “They would literally have to come and see for themselves. You can't clone people. We have our own thing and they have their own thing. But obviously we've reached out to some people and people have seen the difference.”

        Cynthia Noel Martin of Milford High School, wondered “Do you feel you're competing against groups like Backstreet Boys and 98`?”

        JC: “We don't see it as a competition; people set it up to be that way. We just carry on business as usual. We carry on our day-to-day. We don't concern ourselves with what (the other groups) are doing, we just concentrate on our road. I think if you look behind you, sooner or later it'll catch up with you. If you look ahead, you're always moving forward.”

        Emily Menning, 15, of Montgomery, was curious how 'NSync keeps “your morals and your priorities straight when so many other groups have fallen into those traps and self-destructed?”

        JC: “I just carry on as I always would. From Day One, I'm just the same old me and hopefully that'll stick with me. It has so far. It comes from surrounding yourself with good people. It helps that's I've been with the people I'm with for a long time. I've known Joey for, like, 8 or 9 years, and Justin for, like, 5 or 6. I've had the same morals for a long time. They're still there. You can't really change a person. You can change a person's exterior but not their interior.”

        Jennifer Scaggs, 15, of Ft. Thomas, asks, “Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?”

        JC: “My family, definitely. Just the way they've dealt with the whole situation themselves. I think they've managed t do a good job of keeping me grounded. My folks have had to deal with me living off and on at home since I was 13, and I think that they've done a real good job of balancing a household.”

        • Who: 'NSync; opening will be Tatyana Ali and Divine.

        • When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

        • Where: Firstar Center.

        • Tickets: About 1,800 or obstructed, behind- and side-stage seats ($25) went on sale late last week at Firstar Center box office and Ticketmaster: 562-4949. Other seats sold out since December.


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