By Solarina Ho
TORONTO (Reuters Life!) - It's been nearly 15 years and they're no longer youngsters, but the Backstreet Boys are still around and have just released a new album.
The youngest of the four-member group, Nick Carter, joined the group at the age of 12 and is now turning 28. Their sixth album, "Unbreakable", is near the top of the Billboard 200 charts.
"We've been so blessed to have so many fans worldwide that are still keeping us around," said band-member Howie Dorough, who is getting married next month.
Members of the group have kept busy putting out solo albums, managing other artists and doing charity work.
"We're giving each other space to spread our wings out a little bit and do some individual stuff," said Dorough.
It's a lesson learned after the group took a break between 2002 and 2004.
Dorough spoke to Reuters about the long road to "Unbreakable" and the lessons the band have learned.
Q: What goes through your mind when you think about the last 15 years?
A: "It's really hard to even put in words, exactly how my life has changed in the last 15 years. It's been an unbelievable rollercoaster ride. Lots of highs, a couple of lows here and there. I'd say 95 percent all highs. My 20s with the guys have probably been some of the best years of my life."
Q: What are some of the insights you've gained?
A: "We were going so fast, and we were taking things a little bit for granted, even taking each other for granted. And that's when we took our break. I think that break made us realize and appreciate what we really had. Don't get me wrong, I think it was a well needed break, because I think we were going on a path of eventually destruction -- we'd just been busy for nine years solid. We needed that time away for us to find our individuality again."
Q: Did you think you'd be back together again?
A: "I always thought in my gut we were going to be back together ... (but) we were all at five different places. There was definitely the thought in the back of my head, 'Wow, this might be the last time I see these guys again.'
Q: What's different about "Unbreakable" from your last album "Never Gone"?
A: "This time around, we made a conscious decision to go back to what people know us best for, which is our live entertaining shows, vocal harmonies, good, easy pop listening songs, up-tempo songs."
Q: Kevin Richardson left the group last year. What was it like doing "Unbreakable" without him?
A: "We've been together for 15 years. We're like family. To me it almost feels like the first son going off to college, but the rest of the family household still keeps on moving on. Don't get me wrong, it definitely felt weird going into the studio making the record."
Q: Has Kevin hinted whether he'll come back?
A: "He actually alluded to the fact that it's not something he'd ever want to close the door on and he hopes that we weren't closing the door on him. We totally said definitely the doors would always be open."
Q: Any tour plans in the works?
A: "We're kicking off our tour next year. We're doing Feb 16 and 17 starting off in Tokyo, Japan, and the plan is to take the tour all around the world."