Aaron Carter died on Nov. 5, 2022 at the age of 34. The singer and younger brother of Backstreet Boys‘ Nick Carter passed away at his Los Angeles home.
Although Carter more recently made headlines for what went on his personal life — he was often open about about his struggles with substance abuse and mental health, and had several stints in rehab — his career that spanned more than two decades saw him release five studio albums, with the first dropping in 1997 when he was just nine years old. Over the years, Carter’s career also took him to Broadway and both scripted and reality television.
Below, revisit the highlights of Carter’s career timeline — from first single “Crush on You” to the hits that appeared on Billboard‘s charts to the last studio album released before his death, plus the various other entertainment credits on his résumé.
Pre-1997: Singing Lessons & First Band
“I wanted to be a singer since I was very, very little,” Carter, who began singing at age seven, once said in an interview in 1998, when he was around 10 years old. “The first thing I did is I asked my mom, and she said ‘I’ll take you to lessons.’ So she started taking me to lessons.”
“I love this job to much, and I’m always going to be doing it, all my life,” he added.
Before Carter embarked on his journey to child pop stardom, he tested the waters locally as a little kid: “I was in a rock band that was horrible, called Dead End,” Carter is quoted as telling PBS. “The name kind of described us. People liked us. We would go and perform at coffee houses and stuff. I was always off-key, and the band was always off-key. They would always mess up — drop their guitars right on stage. I would be head-banging. I had long hair. It was fun, though. I enjoyed it.”
1997: First Solo Concert, Single & Album
For his first public solo performances, Carter started big: opening for the Backstreet Boys. Video footage from concerts in Germany circa 1997 show him taking the stage for a high-energy cover of The Jets’ “Crush on You.”
“Crush on You” became his official first single, released on Aug. 15, 1997. Older brother Nick made a cameo in a music video for the bubblegum pop song, offering his little bro advice about how to get a girl to notice him.
Aaron’s first studio album, which was self-titled, made its debut in Europe on Dec. 1, 1997, before being marketed to the U.S.
1998: Carter's U.S. Debut
Aaron Carter was re-released in the U.S. on June 16, 1998. The album featured “Crush on You” as well as singles “Crazy Little Party Girl” and “I’m Gonna Miss You Forever.”
2000: Aaron's Party (Come and Get It)
Aaron’s Party (Come Get It), released on Sept. 26, 2000, was the young singer’s second studio album. The set of songs included singles “I Want Candy” (a cover of the Strangeloves’ song of the same name), the Billboard Hot 100-charting tracks “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)” and “That’s How I Beat Shaq,” and “Bounce.” It peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and it brought him on the road with the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears on her Oops!… I Did It Again Tour.
2001: Lizzie McGuire, Broadway & Oh Aaron
2001 was a year of some memorable appearances on popular scripted TV shows for Carter. On Feb. 23, 2001, he was seen on an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, leading an “I Want Candy” dance party on the beach.
Carter guest starred on a Lizzie McGuire episode that aired on the Disney Channel on March 23, 2001, performing “I Want Candy.” In the episode, Hilary Duff’s Lizzie gushes, “Aaron Carter coming here is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to us! He’s cute, he’s cool, he’s talented.” She ends up meeting Aaron under the mistletoe, where he gives her a quick kiss.
In April 2001, he took his acting to Broadway, where he made his debut as JoJo in Seussical.
Carter kept busy that year: He released a third studio album, Oh Aaron, notably featuring his first recorded duet with his brother Nick. Oh Aaron reached No. 7 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and had singles that included the Nick Carter and No Secrets collab of the same name, “Oh Aaron,” as well as “Not Too Young, Not Too Old” and “I’m All About You.”
2002: Another Earthquake! & More
Another Earthquake! was Carter’s fourth studio album, released on Sept. 3, 2002, and it peaked at No. 18 on the Billboard 200. “Another Earthquake!” the song was one of the collection’s singles, as well as “Summertime” (feat. Baha Men), “To All the Girls” and “Do You Remember.”
“It was my favorite album I ever did as a child,” Carter said in an interview years later, in 2020.
The young star was also tapped that year to sing a theme song for PBS’ Liberty’s Kids, “Through My Own Eyes.”
2003: Most Requested Hits
On Nov. 3, 2003, Carter dropped the compilation album Most Requested Hits, which featured songs from his previous three albums but none from his self-titled debut. A bonus single, “One Better,” was added to the collection.
2004: 7th Heaven
Carter was cast on The WB’s 7th Heaven for a two-episode arc in 2004, guest starring as a character named Harry opposite Mackenzie Rosman’s Ruthie in scenes that aired on both Sept. 27, 2004 and Oct. 4, 2004.
2005: Popstar and "Saturday Night"
Carter starred as JD McQueen in Popstar, a direct-to-video movie released on March 29, 2005, loosely based on his own experience as a pop star. The new song “Saturday Night” was featured on the soundtrack. He also had a supporting role as Owen Cole in the film Supercross, released on Aug. 17, 2005. Watch the trailer.
2006: House of Carters
All five Carter siblings — Aaron, Nick, B.J., Leslie and Angel — starred together on the eight-episode E! reality show House of Carters. The show, which premiered on Oct. 2, 2006, even got spoofed in an SNL sketch, starring Andy Samberg and Jason Sudeikis as bickering brothers Aaron and Nick.
2009: Dancing With the Stars & "Dance With Me"
Carter was cast on Dancing With the Stars for season 9 of ABC’s hit reality dance competition show. Alongside partner Karina Smirnoff, he placed fifth. The pair got particularly high marks for their quickstep, jive and samba dances. 2009 also delivered the appropriately-themed one-off song “Dance With Me,” with Flo Rida. Watch him dance to the Muppets theme song.
2011: Back to Broadway in The Fantasticks
Carter returned to the New York City stage on Nov. 7, 2011, to play Matt in Broadway’s The Fantasticks. According to Playbill, his performance dates were extended multiple times due to audience demand.
2012: Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off
The next year saw Carter chosen as one of the celebrity guests to star on the Food Network’s reality series starring Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri. Carter, playing on behalf of the charity Kids Beating Cancer, was put on Ray’s team in the competition show. Unfortunately, he was eliminated by the end of episode one.
2015: The Music Never Stopped EP
After extending his time on the road with an 11-city Canadian tour in 2014, followed by a worldwide, 50-date Wonderful World Tour from September to January, Carter dropped an EP via SoundCloud.
2015-2016: "Fool's Gold"
First previewed with a snippet on Billboard in November 2015 and officially released in full on April 1, 2016, “Fool’s Gold” gave a taste of what was to come from Carter on his upcoming album.
“I’ve been working on new music for the last 10 years, and I’m beyond excited that I’m in a position where I can release my new album soon,” Carter said.
2017: The LØVË EP
Feb. 10, 2017 introduced fans to Carter’s evolved sound and what was to come on his next full-length album with his five-song LØVË EP, which included “Fool’s Gold” and new single “Sooner or Later.”
“The LØVË album and ‘Fool’s Gold’ era has been D.I.Y. hustle since day one,” the singer told Billboard at the time. “Everything from the production, songwriting, mixing, photoshoots, music videos, packaging and distribution have been a collective involvement from a team I like to call ‘Team Fool’s Gold.’ The rest of the team is Jon Asher, Melanie Fontana, Michel (Lindgren) Schulz, Taylor (Lakestreet Louis) Helgeson.”
2018: LØVË, His Final Studio Album Before Passing
LØVË, what would be Carter’s last studio album to be released before his death, arrived on Feb. 16, 2018. It was his first studio album in 16 years. Carter had a writing credit on all of the songs on the collection except for a bonus remix of his early career hit “I Want Candy,” and the album was produced by him with Michael “Brandon” Murphy. LØVË featured the previously released singles “Fool’s Gold” and “Sooner or Later,” and “Don’t Say Goodbye.”
2022: Carter's Latest Releases
A handful of new tracks from Carter — “So Much to Say,” “Reload the Wesson,” “Demons,” “She Just Wanna Ride,” “Blockbuster,” “Blame It On Me” and “Scars” — became available on streaming services in 2022. Several of the songs are reportedly to be included on a posthumous album.