Lance Bass knows a thing or two about concerts. The *NSYNC member turned entertainment host and philanthropist is now expanding his diverse career to the ticket industry.
“I love to give gifts of experiences more than just physical things because I think most of us just appreciate less clutter around,” says Bass. “I don’t think a day that goes by that someone doesn’t come up to me and say ‘oh my gosh, you were my first concert’ and that just makes me feel great. Being able to give an experience like that to someone is special, and they will remember it forever.”
In partnership with StubHub, Bass — who is gearing up for the premiere of Fox’s new competitive cooking show, My Kitchen Rules — curates his concert gift guide, reveals his least favorite track from *NSYNC’s Home for Christmas and shares his go-to dish to whip up in the kitchen.
In StubHub’s recent survey, they found that people rated their first concert as their top memory over their first kiss and first job. Which artist was your first concert and what is your favorite memory from that performance?
When I was nine years old, my family and I went to the Ozark mountains to see Tammy Wynette and Tanya Tucker. They both performed, and I will never forget that because I remember watching everyone on stage and thought ‘oh my gosh, that is what I want to do one day.’
Since it’s the holiday season, what are some shows that would make for good gift ideas?
Some of the things I love to do when I’m in New York is the [Radio City] Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes. It’s incredible and it always just starts off my holiday season. I hate that I’m not living in New York this year to kick it off, but last Saturday I took my goddaughter to see the Dream Orchestra in Redondo [Beach, Ca.]. It was a nice sing-a-long, and I would totally suggest anything Christmas related. I think what’s going to be great is the upcoming Ariana Grande concert. If you can get tickets, that will be the concert to see.
What’s your favorite Ariana Grande track?
Oh my gosh, “Dangerous Woman.” I’ve never heard her sing better than that.
What if someone’s on the naughty list? What do you suggest for them?
On the naughty list? [Laughs] I love that. Well, if you’re still getting a gift for someone on the naughty list, you can take them to something that might be a little uncomfortable. So if someone’s really into hip-hop, forcing them to go to a country concert would be really fun to see the look on their face. Take them out of their element, and maybe they’ll enjoy it and find something new they like.
Tell us about some of your favorite events you’ve experienced this year.
The last two weeks I’ve been going to a lot of last minute events, like Jingle Ball. I didn’t know I was going until three hours before, and my husband is obsessed with Fifth Harmony, and my assistant loves Britney Spears. It was a really fun night of Bruno Mars, Justin Bieber, and all of these amazing bands right now that perform 20-minute sets, so you have the best of the best. We also saw Dolly Parton at the Hollywood Bowl because [my husband has] never been to the Bowl before and he’s never seen Dolly live, so that was just one of my favorite concerts of the year. I’m going to the Troubadour to see The Shadowboxers, which Justin Timberlake signed to his artist development company. They’re definitely my new favorite band right now.
Tell us about your personal holiday playlist.
My dad is a huge holiday buff, as long as I can remember every Christmas he had a mixtape of Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra. Bing Crosby and Sinatra would be my favorites. My dad also loves Trans Siberian Orchestra, so anything by them gets me in the holiday mood.
*NSYNC released their Christmas album Home For Christmas in 1998. What was your favorite song off that album and why?
Good question. I can’t believe our 20 year anniversary of that album is up next. That’s nuts to me cause that was our second album ever to do. We came out with our [self-titled] first album in ’98, and our Christmas album was about nine months later. And by far, the Christmas album is my favorite album we’ve ever done. I love all of the (original) songs and remixes we did. The ironic thing is I did not like “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.” It was my least favorite of the entire album, and that was the one everyone wanted to release as a single and I was so against it. I don’t know what it was, it just a little too, like uppity-cheesy for me and I’m more of a dramatic Christmas listener. [Laughs.] But I’m so glad they didn’t listen to me because it’s really grown on me and I love that song (now). And obviously, the fans really love it. But my favorite (song) on the album is “O Holy Night” because it reminds me of when we all got together in 1995 as an a cappella band. It will always be my favorite piece that we’ve ever recorded.
On Tuesday (Dec. 7) the Recording Academy announced the Grammy nominations. Billboard has an online poll asking readers who should win the award for Record of the Year. Who do you think will win the coveted award?
Those are all very good songs, and the top two are going to be “7 Years” by Lukas Graham and Adele’s “Hello.” I know those Grammy voters — although they’re getting younger every year — they still go for those types of songs, so “Hello” would be the safe bet, but I think it might be an upset and I think Lukas Graham might win it.
In January you’re a part of Fox’s new show, My Kitchen Rules. What can you share about this new project?
I didn’t know what to expect because this is the first season [the show is premiering in America] and I was a big fan of the show in Australia, but it’s an entirely different format. And I loved it because I got to partner with my mom, although I was going to do it with my husband, then I realized ‘oh crap he has no idea what he is doing in the kitchen and I want to win the show.’ Cooking is a huge passion of mine, so when my mom said yes I was so excited because I knew I had a chance [to win] and we had a blast shooting this thing. It gets dramatic like a good reality show does, but you’ll love it if you love those Fox cooking shows like MasterChef to Hell’s Kitchen as I do.
Tell us about your favorite Christmas recipes.
The thing that reminds me of Christmas with my mom is when she makes these little dessert cookies called haystacks. They’re [chow mein] noodles with butterscotch and a few other ingredients, but they’re so freaking good and they taste like Christmas for me. I was never a baker, but I’ll try things here and there like a pineapple upside down cake. My favorite recipe to make is my Mimi’s chicken and dressing. She cooks her own dressing for the holidays and it’s so hard to make [2-3 hour cooking process] but if you get it right, it’s so good. She is an incredible cook and I think that’s where our family gets it from.