Lance Bass Talks Mixed Feelings on Lou Pearlman's Death, Why the 'Music Industry Is Still Very Homophobic'

Courtesy of Logo TV
Bass on the set of Finding Prince Charming.

They say you can’t jump from boy band to solo star, with *NSYNC alum Justin Timberlake as the exception that proves the rule. But JT’s former bandmate Lance Bass, 37, has carved his own path through the entertainment world. His latest evolution has him hosting Finding Prince Charming which airs Thursdays on Logo and VH1 at 9 p.m. ET, a Bachelor-style reality dating show in which “13 charming and gorgeous suitors ... compete to win the heart of one of the nation’s most eligible gay heartthrobs.” Ahead of last week’s premiere, Bass talked to Billboard about his eclectic post-*NSYNC Sync career, life as a gay entertainer and the death of former *NSYNC manager Lou Pearlman.

You’re Only As Good As Your Team

“When *NSYNC ended, it was a rocky time, because I came out of the closet. The music industry is still very homophobic. I 100 percent felt that — even to this day I feel that. When I found out there wouldn’t be another *NSYNC album, I wanted to try some solo stuff, but my record label never returned a call. My manager never called me. I lost everyone. Even Michael Jackson had to have the best people to succeed. Without that support, there’s no way you’re going to make it in the industry.”

Embrace Change

“I’ve seen the ups and downs of music. I was so happy to be in the industry at the time I was, because that was the golden age of music. And then everything turned on a dime. That’s what TV is going through now. You have to embrace it, and make sure you’re ahead of the game.”

’N Sync’s Chris Kirkpatrick, JC Chasez, Bass, Joey Fatone and Timberlake, in 1997.Fred Duval/FilmMagic

 

Versatility Is An Asset

“I don’t have a great attention span, and I’m interested in so many different things. From trying to go to space with the Russians to writing books to producing and writing TV, I’ve dabbled in it all. Now I feel like I’ve found a part of this industry that I love and that I’m really good at: hosting and being a TV personality.”

Stay Positive

“Everything I do in entertainment, it has to have some element of giving back. I wanted to be a part of [Finding Prince Charming] because I knew this would help a lot of people, and people could see some really wonderful storylines. There are a lot of stigmas in our community, and they’re going to hit those on the head a lot during this series. Things we don’t really talk about in public: the stigma of HIV/AIDS, conversion therapy, stuff that the straight community doesn’t know much about. I hope this show educates them.”

Lou Pearlman, Disgraced Backstreet Boys, 'NSYNC Svengali, Dies at 62

Let Bygones Be Bygones

“With Lou Pearlman passing, it brings up so many memories, good and bad. It was sad to see anyone pass away that had such influence in your life and introduced me to four of my best friends. But it also reminds me of how to really be in this industry. I always want help other artists, and make sure they enjoy what they’re doing, actually make money doing it. And I never want to take advantage of that.”  

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 24 issue of Billboard.