Keith Caulfield answers readers questions on the Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter, the 2002 Billboard Music Awards, and Madonna.

BACKSTREETER'S BACK

Keith,

I was wondering if you could give me an exact date of the release of Nick Carter's solo album "Now or Never?" I heard that it was coming on Oct. 22, but then it got pushed back to Oct. 29.

I was also wondering when the new Backstreet Boys album will be released. Is there an exact release date for their new album?

Thanks,

Celeste

Hi Celeste,

Nick Carter's "Now or Never" is due out Oct. 29. The Jive album's first single is "Help Me," which has already been serviced to U.S. radio stations for airplay consideration. The single was written by Matthew Gerrard and Michele Vice-Masline and produced by Gerrard. The "Now Or Never" album includes songs penned by Carter, Mark Taylor, Steve Mac, Max Martin, Rami, and the Matrix.

The music video for "Help Me" will premiere Sept. 16 during MTV's "Making the Video." The clip was directed by Chris Applebaum.

Carter's group, the Backstreet Boys, is currently at work on its fourth studio album. A release date has not been announced. The act's last studio effort, "Black & Blue," spent two weeks at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 in December 2000 and has sold 5.4 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. Last year's "The Hits - Chapter One" reached No. 4 on the chart and has sold 1.5 million copies.


IT'S ALMOST AWARDS TIME!

Keith,

Do you know when the 2002 Billboard Music Awards will be held and if they are in Las Vegas again? I am planning a trip to Vegas and would like to see the show.

Tim

Hi Tim,

Indeed, the 2002 Billboard Music Awards will be held Dec. 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The show will be broadcast live on Fox at 8 p.m. ET (tape delayed on the West Coast).

While no information about performers or presenters has yet been announced, it is likely that the show will be, as usual, a star-packed one. Performers at last year's bash included Alicia Keys, Incubus, Tim McGraw, No Doubt, 'N Sync, and Shaggy.


MAD ABOUT MADGE

Hello Keith!

My absolute favorite artist is Madonna! I just want to know if you have heard her new song "Die Another Day" yet? If not, when you do would you be able to let your readers know what you thought of it, as well as, if you think it will be a hit with radio programmers!

Can you also find out if a single will be released commercially? My guess is that it won't be. She will likely make the mistake of not releasing it just like she did with "Beautiful Stranger," "American Pie," and "Into the Groove," all of which would probably have made it to the top of Billboard's Hot 100! Do you agree?

Any word on the new album too? Also, if you can, what is your favorite Madonna song?

Thank you immensely Keith!

Your fellow Madonna fan,

John Stephenson
Buffalo, N.Y.

Hello John,

Well, where to begin? I have yet to hear "Die Another Day," which is not slated for release until either late next month or in October. So, we don't have that much longer to wait for the track, which will be the theme to the forthcoming James Bond film of the same name. With regards to radio programmers and if they will play the new single, it's a safe bet that since it's Madonna, and it's her first new music in a little while, it will almost certainly get a fair amount automatic airplay.

It has not been announced if "Die Another Day" will be released as a commercial single in the U.S. My guess would be that it will bypass retail, as her last two Maverick soundtrack singles have: "American Pie" and "Beautiful Stranger," from "The Next Best Thing" and "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," respectively. Certainly, if those two tracks had commercial singles, they would have reached much higher on Billboard's Hot 100 -- "American Pie" hit No. 29, while "Beautiful Stranger" peaked at No. 19.

Madonna is at work on a new studio album, but the set won't see a release until next year. Her last studio set, 2000's "Music," debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 2.8 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

My favorite Madonna song? I have a few. "Express Yourself," "Burning Up," "Vogue," and "Music" all rank high on my list.

Thanks for writing!

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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