Welcome to the new episode of the Billboard Pop Shop Podcast, your one-stop shop for all things pop on Billboard‘s weekly charts. In addition, you can always count on a lively discussion about the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and folks from the world of pop.
Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear Billboard co-director of charts Keith Caulfield and Billboard deputy editor, digital Katie Atkinson every week on the Pop Shop Podcast, which can be streamed on Billboard.com or downloaded in iTunes. (Click here to listen to the previous Tuesday’s edition of the show on Billboard.com).
Today on the show, this must be Pop… Shop Podcast — because our special guest is none other than Lance Bass! We hopped on the phone with Lance to talk all about his decade-plus working with the Environmental Media Association, timed to Earth Day this past Sunday (more on that below), and, of course, we had to chat all about the renewed *NSYNC mania too.
On Monday, Lance and his *NSYNC boy-bandmates (Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone and Chris Kirkpatrick) will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with all five set to attend the ceremony. And if that isn’t enough for fans who’ve been (not-so-patiently) waiting since 2002 for the guys to end their hiatus, a pop-up shop was announced Friday that will feature a capsule collection of *NSYNC merchandise plus an art installation that includes memorabilia from the group’s world-dominating heyday.
Bass can already picture the madness lining Hollywood Boulevard: “It’s going to be like TRL back in the day,” he laughs. But the best part about all these new *NSYNC events? Getting the gang back together.
“We’ve always wanted to do a capsule collection and a clothing line together, all five of us, so for the last year, we’ve been putting together a clothing line, which has been so much fun,” he says. “And getting five guys to agree on every picture has been really difficult, but it’s been fun coming up with lots of fun items.” As for the pop-up space itself, “It’s just these fun, amazing photo opps,” he says. “We’ll build these great installations for people that love Instagram. This is where you get your great selfies. And then it will almost be like a museum too. We’ll have tons of outfits we’ve worn for different tours, a lot of memorabilia, and then I’m sure you’re going to be running into a few of us at the pop-up shop — but we’re not going to tell you exactly when we’ll be there.”
Bass is especially excited to add some positive headlines to this dreary news cycle. “It really does feel like we’re back in the year 2000 and we’re back in school and getting all excited and such an innocent time,” he said. “I think what’s going on with politics … it’s such a negative world we live in right now. It’s nice to think back about a fun time where it was very innocent, and I hope, at least for these few days that we’re having the *NSYNC experience here in LA, that fans will be able to kind of let go of what’s going on in the world and go back in time and just be a teenager for a bit.”
So now that the guys are finally reuniting for the Walk of Fame ceremony, might they reunite in the studio too? “Never say never. You never know what is going to happen in the future,” he says. “After this weekend, maybe we’ll all get inspired again.”
We also talked with Lance at length about his work as co-chair of the Environmental Media Association’s board of directors. He stumbled into the group a decade ago when he attended an EMA-hosted party at the Olsen twins’ house (“How Hollywood is that?” he laughs) and “fell in love” with the organization.
He’s been especially involved in the Green My School initiative, which even took him back to his hometown of Clinton, Mississippi, in 2016 to help elementary schoolers build a garden. “It was so much fun,” he says. “That’s definitely my favorite program that we do at EMA. I love working with kids — they’re so innocent and ready and eager to learn things, and when you get to go into these schools, and especially going home to Mississippi to my old elementary school and seeing my old teachers, to see these kids actually get their hands dirty and actually plant their own fruits and vegetables and all that. And then when they harvest it, it really gives them an incredible education about what they’re actually putting into their bodies. And kids respect it more and they start eating better, and then that passes on to their families. … It’s just a really great pass-it-forward moment.”
Next up for the organization is the 2018 EMA Impact Summit, which takes place May 21-22 in Los Angeles. It’s the event’s second year, and this year’s summit will be combined with the EMA Awards, which have been given out for the past 20 years. In addition to the speakers and panels over two days, a new innovation contest will give environmental entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their green technology or business ideas to a Shark Tank-style panel to win $50,000 and make their dream a reality. Bass encourages fans interested in his environmental work to head to green4ema.org to get involved.
But that’s not all! We also talked with Bass about executive-producing a new Lou Pearlman documentary for YouTube Red (read more about that here), hosting the upcoming Pop2K Tour (with early-aughts favorites O-Town, Aaron Carter, Ryan Cabrera and Tyler Hilton), and his current pop tastes, including previous Pop Shop guests Dua Lipa and Shawn Mendes.
Speaking of Dua and Shawn, Keith & Katie talk all about the first round of 2018 Billboard Music Awards performers on the podcast, which also includes Camila Cabello; Ariana Grande’s new song, “No Tears Left to Cry”; and the tragic news of Swedish DJ Avicii’s death at age 28. On the charts, we’ve got a new No. 1 album for Jason Aldean, Beyoncé’s return to the charts after Coachella weekend 1, and Nicki Minaj collecting her 16th top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Chun-Li.”
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