Aaron Carter live at M-Shop Preview


Courtesy of Aaron Carter

Singer Aaron Carter is to perform two shows this Friday in the M-Shop. After an eight-year hiatus, Carter hopes to ease back in to the music scene. “The plan is to have the tour, to reconnect with all my fans and then to re-release music,” Carter said.

Michael Van Zanten

Pop singer Aaron Carter will be performing two shows Friday at the Maintenance Shop as part of his comeback tour following an eight-year hiatus.

Tickets went on sale for both performances on April 2 and were sold out by June 3.

Carter began a successful musical career at the age of 7. His family was no stranger to the business: His brother Nick Carter joined the Backstreet Boys at age 13. Aaron had led a local band for two years but left to pursue pop over alternative music.

At 9 years old, Carter opened for a Backstreet Boys show singing a cover of The Jets’ “Crush On You” That performance earned young Aaron a record contract and subsequently a life of fame.

Between the years of 1997 and 2005, Carter released four studio albums and rose to mainstream awareness under his parents’ guidance. He was especially popular among young teen audiences, being featured on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon.

“[Looking back], I’m very satisfied having my childhood in the spotlight,” Cater said. “It was great, and I’m very thankful to my mom for helping me and getting me into music.”

The young idol went triple platinum at the age of 12 with his second album, “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It).” The CD spawned three hit singles, including “I Want Candy,” “That’s How I Beat Shaq” and the title track.

Carter has found success as a screen presence as well. He has appeared on episodes of “7th Heaven” in 2004, and was a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2009.

Spending some time on Broadway, Carter played Jojo the Who in “Seussical the Musical” at age 13. Since 2011, Aaron has made in more than 400 appearances as the central character in “The Fantasticks,” the world’s longest running musical.

“[Broadway] was incredible, absolutely incredible,” Carter said. “I can say I toughed it out and am someone who understands discipline.”

Aaron Carter’s musical career began to slow down when his parents got into a legal conflict with his former manager over royalties in 2003. The Carters have a history with substance abuse. Nick Carter admitted addictions to cocaine and alcohol, citing his parents as influence. Aaron’s sister Leslie overdosed on Xanax last year, and Aaron has openly discussed going to rehab for the same drug.

The After Party Tour, titled after his second album, is Carter’s return to music after an eight-year absence.

“It’s not that I didn’t want a tour,” said Carter. “It just took me a while to show the whole world that I was back on track. I got my stuff together.”

As an attempt to restart his career, Carter has a new album scheduled for next year.

“The plan is to have the tour, to reconnect with all my fans, and then to release music,” Carter said.

Over the course of the tour, Aaron has preferred to play in smaller venues across the country.

“It’s important that I reconnect with everybody,” Carter said. “I want to play in smaller venues and sell those out and graduate to bigger ones on my next tour.”

Samuel Thompson, co-director of the M-Shop, has observed the excited anticipation of Carter’s original fan base, currently enrolled at Iowa State.

“The generation currently in college is the same generation that grew up loving Aaron Carter,” Thompson said. “We’ve had several people tell us that they have seen Aaron Carter live before. Of course, they were in middle school and went along with their parents. Everyone is excited and curious about how this nostalgic show will play out.”

Those that were prompt to purchase tickets can look forward to a dynamic and authentic performance from Aaron.

“You can expect it to be very genuine,” Carter said. “I’ll take some songs from my past and make them new and funky. I’ll have some great musicians behind me, and it will be an energy filled show.”

Those who have tickets will be seeing Carter at 8 or 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, in the M-Shop

For a list of tour dates, visit aaroncarterontour.com. Carter’s albums are available on iTunes, with a new one projected to be released by 2014.