I posted the following statement to my social network accounts on February 19, 2019.
Before I turn the page and announce my next gig later this week, I felt it was important to address three things:
First, my new job is not in radio. While that is by choice, that is not indicative of my thoughts on radio. I still believe in it as a medium. Radio is portable, free, available to millions and can facilitate a unique connection with an audience that is real and intimate.
For now, I’m saying goodbye to radio on a full-time basis. I could see a scenario in the near-future where I return part-time, but at the moment my focus is solely on my next project.
Second, I am saddened over last week’s news of WPLJ’s sale. I’m heartbroken for my former colleagues and I’m unable to imagine a media landscape that doesn’t include those iconic call letters.
Finally, people like to say that when you go through a transformative period in your life, you quickly learn who your true friends are. I disagree; throughout these past few months, almost nothing surprised me. There’s something to be said about constantly surrounding yourself with good people – throughout both easy and challenging times.
However, I say “almost nothing” because I was taken aback at the response from the audience regarding my departure. I have no words to fully express my gratitude but I’d be remiss if I didn’t again say: thank you.
On Tuesday evening I was honored to be invited back to CNN Headline News’ “Prime News”, with newly minted host Vinnie Politan. The panel of four I joined conversed about a plethora of topics – from Justin Bieber to a man in Salem, MA that faked his death to escape a traffic violation (can’t make this stuff up).
Funny behind-the-scenes story: I was only briefed on ONE (the Salem story) of the four topics that were discussed. So, on live national TV, I had to be quick on my feet. Very, very quick.
He’s flying from coast to coast – filming a new movie, “Inkubus” in the east, appearing on “Dancing with the Stars” out west. He just welcomed a second child in to his life. This summer he is preparing for a two week run of “The Producers” in Pittsburgh – on top of countless other appearances and hosting commitments.
Yet somewhere in between all of this, Joey Fatone is finding the time to go back to his roots and launch a solo music career. “Radio” is his first single, and the evening before it hit iTunes, the former ‘N Sync member somehow spared 10 minutes to check in to “The Ralphie Radio Show.”
“It’s been a crazy month of May for me,” Fatone said, arguably a rather large understatement. “It’s been unreal, and I count my blessings every day.”
‘N Sync released its debut, self-titled album 12 years ago. From 1998 to 2003, the group sold 56 million albums worldwide – a number that sounds and reads unfathomable in this day and age. After the boy band disbanded – Justin Timberlake and J.C. Chasez pursued separate music careers. Lance Bass unsuccessfully attempted to launch in to space, before revealing he was gay in 2006. Chris Kirkpatrick hosted a morning radio show and appeared in a couple reality TV programs.
And if you were looking for Fatone, you didn’t need to look any further than the closest screen or stage – because the baritone singer decided he’d pursue everything that didn’t involve recording an album and touring.
“I did ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’, and then I went off and did Broadway for a while,” noted Fatone, who appeared in “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Rent.” “And then I was spending time with my wife and my kid, and then I just finally had another kid recently.”
Fatone cites the birth of his second daughter as the reason he backed out of the spotlight – focusing on his family after “Dancing with the Stars” and his various hosting credits, which include the TV Guide Network. Now he’s back on the road – wrapping up his current film, a horror flick in which he stars alongside Robert Englund – the original Freddy Krueger, before the end of the month. Despite the constant activity in his life, Fatone believes the timing is right to return to music. —
Part 1: New movie, Return to “Dancing with the Stars”
Part 2: Solo album plans, possible Justin collab, “The Producers” in Pittsburgh
— “To have all the guys from ‘N Sync come out with an album at the same time, and just where I was, for me to do more Broadway and obviously not come out with an album, I think for me I’m glad it was kinda that way,” revealed Fatone. “You know, you don’t want people to get bombarded and go, ‘Oh look, Justin’s coming out with an album, oh here’s J.C. coming out with an album, here’s Joey coming out with an album, who’s coming out with an album next?’”
So he waited, and eventually recorded a handful of songs over the past couple years – fine-tuning his work until he was satisfied.
“I’m not the biggest writer, Justin and J.C. were really, really great writers… I’d always come up with concepts but never was a writer for that,” he recalled. “I always wanted to, and over the years developed writing and coming up with more ideas and working with a friend of mine, Rob Giles, who wrote ‘Radio’, it just kind of came together.”
Somehow Fatone fit in writing and recording sessions between his litany of other gigs. He’s only worked with Giles in studio thus far, but plans on reaching out this summer to other potential collaborators, including Timberlake. Fatone agreed with my assessment that Justin is more interested in partnering with other artists at the moment than recording his own material, so now may be the time to snag him for a feature.
“I think right now, because he doesn’t want the pressure on himself to have to go on tour and all that stuff,” said Fatone, who mentioned that he already spoke with Timberlake regarding the possibility. “So I think for him, producing and writing with other people is a great outlet for him, and he can stay at home.”
Certainly much has changed, besides the decline in sales, since ‘N Sync ruled the charts. But Fatone has taken note and adapted. He did not commit to any type of music video for “Radio” until he sees the reaction from fans – which these days, is instant thanks to comments and stat reports from iTunes, Amazon MP3, and YouTube.
“It’s like, why not put it out there, see what happens, and if it starts to grow… for me I’d love to do a tour and go out to maybe like, a House of Blues and do a tour like that,” said Fatone, also mentioning that he’d like to keep that intimate setting for his fans.
“My whole thing is, life’s too short, enjoy what you have, enjoy the music, enjoy spending time with your family, and that’s my vibe in general. I’m not trying to save the world by writing a song that’s going to make everyone hold hands and be one together. No, just have a party, have a good time.”