Backstreet boys

Pop Shop Podcast – Billboard

Watch what can happen if you end up in the same restaurant as Drake.

Two weeks ago, the Backstreet Boys were in Toronto for a pair of shows as part of their DNA World Tour – which is currently touring North America – when Kevin Richardson bumped into the hometown superstar thanks to a casual restaurant recommendation.

“He’s like, ‘What are you doing here?'” Richardson tells the Billboard Pop Shop podcast (listen to the full interview below) that he was hooked up by restaurant staff after their meeting at the American Music Awards and linked to Kentucky basketball years before. “I’m like, ‘We have two shows.’ He was like, ‘I’d love to come to one of them…and I’d like to introduce, ‘I want it like this.’ I’m like, ‘OK, sure.’ He’s like, ‘Actually no – I would perform this.’ I’m like, ‘Wow.’ I said, ‘I’m sure the guys would have no problem with that.’ So that’s what he did.



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Drake ended up coming out for “I Want It That Way” at one of two shows (sorry about the other Toronto show) and made headlines across Canada and the world. You need to hear the full story of Richardson’s clash – including how he now has a lot of ‘credit’ with his two children – on the podcast below.

We caught up with Richardson to talk about Backstreet’s first-ever Christmas album, A Very Clandestine Christmas, which will be released in October, and we also discussed the 25th anniversary this month of BSB’s first ever top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”. Next month will also mark the 25th anniversary of the release of the boy band’s self-titled US debut album, which launched an unbroken streak of 10 consecutive top 10 albums on the Billboard 200.

Find more prime quotes in the podcast interview below, and listen to the full episode above.

Why now a Backstreet Christmas album?

“We had always talked about doing a full Christmas album, because we all love Christmas music, but just the way our touring cycles and album cycles work – like when we finish a tour and then let’s talk about the next album and then get in the studio and work on it, then promote that, then build and create a tour, rehearse that, then tour that, then, OK, we take some time off and we do all that again. We just never had time to do it. So quarantine and COVID was a perfect opportunity to have some downtime and make some decisions and, you know, we all go through our all-time favorite Christmas songs and kind of refine the songs that we wanted to cover , then write some originals , and we finally did it.

How was their first post-COVID tour?

“The energy has been incredible. It was amazing every night we were on stage. I’m just – sometimes you get emotional, you know, thinking about it because there was a time when I didn’t know if it was going to happen again. And so it feels really good. The crowds, the energy, they’re so happy to be together, you know? Share positive vibes, love and music and have a good time. It’s great to get away from it all.

What does Kevin remember about the “Quit Playing Games” top 10?

“I remember my mom was visiting me in Orlando, Florida and we had gone shopping and dinner and it came on the radio and we were in a parking lot and we were coming back in our car and I drove off the car. It was on the radio. We opened the doors and walked out and danced in a parking lot. It’s an incredible memory for me. And I get a little emotional because my mother just died in January. January 22. So yes, it is a special moment that I will never forget.

How Kevin still feels so strong, 25 years later:

“When we finally broke up and had success, then it was like, ‘OK, it’s time for our second album.’ We’d be in interviews and everyone would be like, ‘Are you worried about the sophomore slump? … And we were just like, ‘You know what? We would just like to have a long career. And so that’s what that we tried to manifest, and we continue to work and try to create music that we love and enjoy what we do. And here we are – who would have thought.

The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one stop shop for everything happening Billboardweekly charts. You can always count on lively discussion of the latest pop news, fun chart stats and stories, new music, and guest interviews with music stars and people from the pop world. Casual pop fans and chart junkies can hear BillboardWest Coast Executive Digital Director Katie Atkinson and BillboardSenior Charts Manager Keith Caulfield weekly on the podcast, which can be streamed on Where downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast provider. (Click here to listen to the previous edition of the show on