Howie Dorough [Howie D] boldly steps into new territory for his solo debut, Back To Me. As one-fourth of The Backstreet Boys, Howie helped build one of the most formidable legacies in pop culture history, selling over 100 million records worldwide, yielding numerous top ten singles, garnering various awards, and encouraging one of the largest and most devout fan bases ever. However, Back To Me is the next phase of his own personal legacy.
Across the album, the singer and songwriter infuses his sultry and soulful melodies into a danceable sound that’s equally ready for the clubs and arenas. The music bounces from Euro electro chic into propulsive modern pop, generating tunes that’ll get everyone dancing. First single, “100,” transforms from slick, sexy synths into an unforgettable hook as Howie’s voice takes hold. Set for a November release in Japan with worldwide release immediately following, Back To Me sees him shining like never before.
Incorporating a myriad of styles, Howie slides outside of the box. About Back To Me’s sound, he explains, “The whole objective was to show people my individual personality. When we come together in Backstreet Boys, our individual sounds create an unbelievable group sound. At the same time, we’ve all had aspirations of doing solo projects for many years. This is finally my chance to get out there, step up to the plate, and show everyone what I got.”
Howie certainly shows everyone what he’s got and so much more on Back To Me. Like everything he puts his stamp on, he took his time with each nuance, beginning to formally toy with the idea of a solo album in 2006. However, in 2010 he buckled down and cranked out the record by the end of the year in a Los Angeles studio. “Music is what makes me move,” declares Howie. “I love to dance and have a good time so I wanted to make up-tempo music that felt right in the moment and moved me.”
The album’s first single, “100,” will definitely move anyone that hears it. Produced by Canadian duo The Kuya Brothers, the track is a vibrant anthem that can proudly stand alongside his catchiest cuts. It officially hits radio and video outlets in June, and it’s the perfect prelude to the album. “For me, the song is about giving one-hundred percent,” reveals Howie. “When I work on anything, a project or a relationship, I have to give it my all. People can relate to that in many different ways.”
On the other end of the musical spectrum, “Lie To Me” sees Howie reaching new heights as a vocalist, while showcasing his balladeer heart. “It’s one of those infectious ballads that sticks in your head,” adds the singer. “I’m a very heartfelt guy, and the song explores wanting someone who’s not right for you. It was a fun challenge for me to try different styles of delivery and add new dynamics.”
Then there’s “Pure” another entrancing and engaging cut. Howie actually wrote the song with Backstreet Boys cohort Nick Carter, and it brightly illuminates their chemistry together. “It was a lot of fun to work with Nick,” exclaims Howie. “He and I both bonded over the song, and it fit Back To Me perfectly. It’s another track that I’m extremely excited about.”
Outside of music, Howie continues to lend a helping hand wherever he can, especially with the Dorough Lupus Foundation. Founded in memory of Howie’s sister Caroline, the Dorough Lupus Foundation raises awareness and money towards research for the disease with A-list benefit concerts and charity events. The subject is extremely close to his heart. “I’m very proud to work towards finding a cure for Lupus and simultaneously celebrate my sister’s memory,” he continues. “We do as much as we can to collaborate with other foundations worldwide. I’m all about giving back.”
He also gives back with his management company, guiding and overseeing the careers of budding artists such as George Nozuka, Neverest, and Dan Talevski. “It’s another outlet for me to try to help. I know I was given help, and I love to share what I’ve learned. I deeply enjoy being involved in all aspects of the entertainment industry.”
Just like “100” says, Howie never stops giving his all, whether he’s making music in the studio, performing on stage, shaping young artists, working with charities, or even taking care of his family. As a result of that work ethic, Back To Me is some of the purest and most powerful music he’s recorded.
“This is a chance for me to show the full range of my voice and who I am creatively,” declares Howie. “I’m 25 percent of the Backstreet Boys, but Back To Me is one-hundred percent me. I’ve been blessed to be in the group I am in, and my experiences have made me who I am. I was able to make this record because of all that, and it’s a dream come true.”
Fans worldwide have clamored for a solo offering from Howie for years, and he promises that Back To Me is for them. “I really just wanted to go out there and give the fans something they’ve wanted from me for a long time,” he concludes. “We’ve built up enough of a rapport that fans have gotten to know us as a group. At the same time, they’ve always wanted to know us individually. This is a way of me giving back to the people who made me and showing them my appreciation for all the loyal support they give. I’m finally providing them with the chance to hear me. I’m hoping they feel a part of me that they haven’t had a chance to feel before.”
Just like with everything he does, everyone who hears Back To Me will undoubtedly feel Howie forever. — Rick Florino, March 2011