Friday, August 29, 2008

Boston Globe Interview with Donnie Wahlberg

Here are some questions and answers with Donnie from the Boston Globe

Wahlberg: All about the music
August 29, 2008

After igniting a fan frenzy with the announcement of their long-awaited reunion this spring, the New Kids on the Block are excited to finally have new music to talk about.

"The Block," out this coming Tuesday, is full of sex appeal, wistfulness, and plenty of designer beats as the group blends its youthful proclivity for harmony-laden odes to the ladies with considerably more mature songs that move from the beach to the dance floor to the bedroom.

We recently caught up with Donnie Wahlberg by phone from Los Angeles, where he was busy prepping for the band's upcoming tour. Although harried, he was elated to talk music - he co-wrote nine of the album's 13 tracks - and humbled by the fan reaction. - SARAH RODMAN

On being the leader of the band: "I don't want to say I'm the guy. As much work as I put into the album, it all could be for naught if it's not all five of us. I'm smart enough to know that."

On teaming up with R&B star Ne-Yo for the new radio hit "Single": "There was just a certain song we all felt was missing from the album. It was something that could play in the clubs but was not braggadocio. It was something that was elegant and mature and yet very contemporary and had a little street swagger to it. [Interscope Records head] Jimmy [Iovine] . . . heard the song and identified it right away. I didn't know that Ne-Yo would be willing to share it with us, but he was really excited to do it."

On "2 in the Morning," a ballad about a disintegrating marriage: "It is the most personal song that I have ever written. I've never gone through a divorce before. That song really unleashed me. Working on that song I was going through a really hard time and the words are so true. That was maybe the second song I wrote for the project, but I really dialed into something right there. I'd never used writing as therapy. I wrote some stuff on [Mark Wahlberg's] albums and on the last New Kids album that expressed anger and this and that, but not from a place of such vulnerability. Once I tasted that and saw how therapeutic it could be, that's when I really started to go."

On the racy double entendres of "Full Service," a collaboration with friends and fellow Boston boy-banders New Edition: "Everyone got the spirit and they're known as guys who are humble and make love songs, but make love songs from a real sincere place and that's what we do. So that song, while it may sound a little dirty, is still about taking care of someone else's needs before your own."

On the recurring theme of maturity in songs like "Grown Man" and "Big Girl Now": "I have to tell you I don't even think it was subliminal; I don't think it was that deep. When I write a song, I don't really write it from a concept first. It usually comes very organically. I didn't sit down and say I want to write a song called 'Summertime,' but it will really be a metaphor for the fans. I just listen to the music and I just start humming melodies."

On what to expect from the tour: "We're doing everything: singing, dancing, explosions, video screens. You name it, we're doing it. Fans are flying in from all around the world to see these shows; we're not going to let them down."

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