Music

Life After Boy Toy

Jordan Knight chats with a New Kid worshipper about his musical trajectory—from ’80s teen idol to solo touring

New Kids on the Block were the greatest band ever, when I was in elementary school. Obsessed, I would play their 1990 single “Step by Step” on cassette while dancing up and down the stairs. And it wasn’t just me; the band sold 80 million records and bagged a couple American Music Awards. And after more than 10 years apart, New Kids (sometimes NKOTB) reunited in 2008 and even embarked upon a tour with the Backstreet Boys called NKOTBSB.

Of the five members, my favorite was (and is) lead singer Jordan Knight, with his dreamy eyes and falsetto voice. Delighting my inner 9-year-old, I interviewed Knight, 41, in advance of his solo tour—a choreographed concert featuring material from his four solo albums. Here’s what he had to say to his once-biggest fan.

What’s it like to tour solo?

I’m used to doing the show with nine guys, two groups. There’s a lot of work that the other guys do that I don’t have to do. Now it’s all on me, which is fun and challenging at the same time.

Have you since had to overcome any boy-band stereotypes?

I don’t know if we’ve overcome the stereotypes. You get to a certain point in time, however, when people are going to perceive us how they’re going to perceive us. All we can do is do what we know how to do, do our best at it and carry on. We’ve proven that we’re not just flash-in-the-pan teen idols.

What’s it like to see other boy bands come through the pipeline?

Some came after us; some came before us. I’m sure some people ask Donny Osmond the same thing about the New Kids on the Block. It all feeds off the next. Obviously, we were an inspiration for the next generation. But there was a generation before us that we were inspired by, too: the Jackson 5, New Edition, the Osmonds, even rap groups like Run-DMC, the Beastie Boys.

Speaking of Osmond, he now has a residency in Las Vegas. Would NKOTB ever consider one?

That’d be awesome. I think the New Kids should do it when we’re Donny Osmond’s age. [Laughs.] I mean, I think Vegas has become such a hip spot that you can do something really cool and hip and not be considered some, you know, they’ve-got-to-a-certain-age-it’s-time-to-retire-to-Vegas. Look, the JabbaWockeeZ are there; they’re young and cool.

At the risk of sounding creepy, I used to have the Jordan Knight doll with the little leather jacket.

Yeah?

And he’d go on dates with my Barbie.

Uh-oh. [Laughs.]

I have no idea what happened to it.

You just lost it one day? You just got over it?

Who knows? I hope it’s still in a box at my parents’ house.

That’s were all my stuff is, in my mother’s basement.

Any chance there’s a Jordan doll somewhere among the cobwebs?

I don’t even think it’s among the cobwebs. I’m sure my mother has a nice shrine of my Jordan Knight doll.

What’s it like having a doll of you?

I don’t think about it. I do not dwell on who I think I am or who the world thinks I am. I just don’t. It’s really not me, and it’s really not us as a group either. We really don’t think about that stuff; we’re thinking about what’s next—the next show, the next tour.

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