Joey McIntyre is a modern throwback to the classic song-and-dance men of show business, a veteran who has starred on Broadway (in "Wicked") and off (Jonathan Larson's "tick, tick, Boom!"), TV (Dancing with the Stars, Boston Public), film (Tony and Tina's Wedding, The Fantasticks), records (selling 35 million as the youngest New Kid on the Block and a hit solo single, "Stay the Same") and the concert stage.
Fittingly, with his fifth solo album, Talk to Me, McIntyre tackles the great standards- a record he's been waiting to make for a long time. "I've sung these songs my whole life- on stage, in my dad's, at family gatherings- but recording them for posterity is a much different venture,"says McIntyre. "The challenge of making them new somehow was a labor of love, but I think we were able to capture our own unique take on them, trying them on for size and making them fit comfortably." The track listing includes "The Way You Look Tonight," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "My Funny Valentine," "Bewitched," "Come Dance with Me," "Makin' Whoopee," "Moon River," "Come Rain or Come Shine," "I Got the World on a String" and "All the Way."
McIntyre called on the best and most sought after L.A. session musicians to work with him on the album including drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (James Taylor, Josh Groban, George Benson, Chris Botti, Le Ann Rimes) and bassist Brian Bromberg (Stan Getz, Nancy Wilson, Arturo Sandoval) and two longtime collaborators, executive producer/songwriter Emanuel Kiriakou (Nick Lachey, Kathryn McFee) and producer/arranger/keyboardist Doug Petty (Audra McDonald, Preservation Hall Jazz Band).
McIntyre performed two of the songs from the album during the 38-city Dancing with the Stars—The Tour, a national arena jaunt from San Diego on Dec. 19 through Atlantic City, N.J., on Feb. 11. "It was a great fit for this record- the romance between these great songs and the classic dances. I could not have asked for a better kick-off to this album. Performing for so many people each night and seeing them respond so well to the music is a real gift!" The new CD sold 10,000 copies in eight weeks on the tour.
Talk to Me is, in many ways, what McIntyre has been working towards since he joined New Kids on the Block just before his 13th birthday to become part of one of the most successful boy groups of all time, scoring chart-topping, multi-platinum albums in Hangin' Tough and Step by Step until disbanding in 1994, paving the way for the likes of Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.
McIntyre continued his songwriting, using his own money to record a solo single, "Stay the Same," which became a national hit when it was picked up by some local DJs. The Stay the Same album, eventually released by Sony's Columbia Records, went on to sell a million copies around the world. It was followed by the solo efforts Meet Joe Mac on Q/Atlantic Records in 2001, One Too Many, a live album featuring Joey and Emanuel Kiriakou on Bacouris/ New Line Records in 2002 and 8:09 on Artemis Records in 2004.
In 2004, he took on the male lead of Fiyero opposite Tony winner Idina Menzel in the smash Broadway musical, Wicked. He also appeared on the very first season of the hit ABC show, Dancing with the Stars, a decision he was skeptical about at first, but later was glad he did.
"I always wanted to study dance and the show was like going to school. I really learned ballroom dancing and I knew I'd be able to perform before millions of people. I just didn't know it would be 20 million. But musical theatre was in my blood. I've done "Music Man," "The Sound of Music," "Oliver!," and to me this was a lot like that. Performing live is such a special experience. The connection I have to the audience is what its all about for me."
McIntyre takes that same crowd-pleasing sensibility onto his new album. "Success for me is being able to bring out the greatness of these songs for the listener," he explains. "If I can allow the song to speak for itself, that's an accomplishment. You don't want any artificial feeling when you sing this stuff. It has to be true. These songs are hallowed ground. "
The next step is getting out there and singing these songs for an audience, something McIntyre has enjoyed doing for most of his life.
"The album means a great deal to me. I'm in this for the long run," he explains. "I've been around this business awhile. It been a great ride so far and I've been able to do the things I love, no matter the ups and downs. Like my father would say, ‘Keep on punching.'"
On Talk to Me, he leads with a firm right hand straight to your heart, launching the next round of his career as a 21st century song and dance man.