Nick Carter released a new song "Easy" with Jimmie Allen on Feb. 11.

For Nick Carter, Making Country Music Comes "Easy"

The singer talks his new song, early ‘00s fame, and 30 years of the Backstreet Boys.

Patrick Dwyer

Nick Carter is trying his hand at country music. The Backstreet Boys pop star recently teamed up with singer-songwriter Jimmie Allen on a new single, “Easy.” True to its title, his cross-genre collab, which was released on Feb. 11, is easy on the ears. Carter’s song maintains his standard pop sensibilities, but his confidence in country crooning is evident.

“I was a fan of Allen’s,” Carter tells Elite Daily. And Allen being a fan of the Backstreet Boys? “It just made a lot of sense,” he clarified about the collab.

This is just the latest endeavor in Carter’s long career. As the youngest member of the Backstreet Boys, he’s spent the majority of his life famous. Naturally, this manifested in a career rooted in nostalgia. It’s evident in his forthcoming participation in Backstreet Boys’ DNA tour this spring and his appearance at ‘90s Con in Connecticut next month.

At the same time, Carter’s early fame doesn’t seem to solely define his ongoing career ambitions. He’s not on Cameo, and he’s not hanging up his hat. He’s still trying to be seen as an artist bringing something new to the table.

EASY Single Art-Patrick Dwyer

In fact, he’s more excited about releasing music than ever. Carter lights up when talking about “Easy.” While some pop stars would remain guarded after years of fame, Carter is surprisingly warm, bubbly, and eager to answer questions.

Why was now the time for Carter to dabble in a country sound? The truth is “Easy” isn’t Carter’s first foray into country music. The Backstreet Boys teamed up with Florida Georgia Line in 2017 for “God, Your Mama, and Me.” The song went platinum and cracked the Billboard Hot 100. Carter hopes his most recent country track will have similar success.

The boybander is quick to admit that, yes, he was keen to capitalize on country music’s cultural moment. Really, though, is country never not having a moment? “Real music lovers of lyrics, melodies, and stories, I think, are over listening to a lot of the country music,” he says.

He hopes his new track joins the pantheon. The track is a breezy, fun-loving number worthy of car rides with the windows down. “It's just a simple song that you could play over and over and over again,” he says.

Carter’s producer initially connected him with Allen. “We called up Jimmie and said, ‘Hey, would you be interested in doing a verse on the song?’” Carter says. “He was a total sweetheart about it. He laid the verse on, he wrote the second verse as well, and the rest is history.”

Courtesy of Nick Carter

“Easy” takes much of its inspiration from Carter’s personal life, mainly his loving relationship with wife Lauren Kitt. The pair tied the knot in Santa Barbara in April 2014. Together, they’re raising three children, Odin, Saoirse, and Pearl. Much of Carter’s family life has been portrayed on the small screen on his previous reality shows. House of Carters and I Heart Nick Carter aired in 2006 and 2014 on E! and VH1, respectively.

It’s clear that Carter is focused on his family, regardless of whether there’s a camera crew following their daily routines. His shifting priorities from days as a bachelor to life as a father is even notable in his recent work. “It's just really a song about the simple life,” he explains of “Easy.” “Yes, I'm an entertainer on one hand, but I think the most important part is that I'm a good father and husband first.”

Still, it’s expected that his fans won’t soon forget the impact he and other ‘90s artists like NSYNC and Britney Spears had on their lives. While Spears and NSYNC alum Justin Timberlake have reentered the cultural zeitgeist (Truthfully, did they ever really leave?), Carter isn’t all that interested in ruminating on his young adult years.

“It's hard for me to think about it like that,” he says. “Those three decades, every single decade there's [been] change to the music. There's transitions, [and] it’s transcending,” he says. Lately, he’s asked himself questions like, “‘How do you still connect with people who love the Backstreet Boys music and are nostalgic with it? But, at the same time, grow into another era?’”

Carter may not have a firm answer, but he isn’t waiting for a perfect formula before charting forward. Unlike NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys are very much still together. Though many bandmates have taken space to focus on their solo careers at times, the group never officially broke up. Currently, they’re embarking on their DNA World Tour, which kicks off in Las Vegas on April 8th.

Dennis Leupold

Despite the band’s consistent and decades-long global reach, Carter still has moments where he’s surprised how far that impact goes. He recalls being taken aback over the holidays when he heard a Backstreet Boys’ track play on TV.

“Samsung had taken our song ‘I Want It That Way’ and put it into a commercial, and [I] wasn't prepared for it,” he says. “No one knew it was going to happen. I'm just sitting there watching TV, and I'm like is that our song? We got a little shy and embarrassed with it because I had some friends over the house.”

Part of his surprise in seeing remnants of his youth still splayed across TVs is Carter has seemingly made peace with the fame. “There's going to be lows, and then there's going to be highs. It's like a roller coaster,” he says, reflecting on life as a young pop star. “You have to be able to sustain and stay there and not give up in those lows. I think the word resilience is the thing that you have to learn, and it's not going to be perfect.”

Now three decades into his career, Carter seems to be settling in his role as an entertainer, not a headline-making celebrity. Perhaps that what fans seeing him live will think too. “Maybe there's a moment that they can just disconnect from the real world. That's why people go to movies. That's why people go to concerts,” he says. “That's why people listen to music.”