Nineties Nostalgia Continues: Jeff Timmons from 98 Degrees

If there were anyone who ever cared solely about the music, it would be Jeff Timmons, former member of 98 Degrees. To prove it, he is giving out his new solo album completely free. Not yet titled and coming out near Christmas, it is sure to be a pleasure for any R&B or pop fans.

In coming months, this attractive should-be-model-turned-musician is hoping to get a college tour together. Don’t worry, I slyly plugged for a show at USF.

In an interview with him, I got a look into what it was like being in a hot boy band in the peak of boy band mania and what to expect from him as a solo artist.

San Francisco Foghorn: What is your fondest memory on stage with 98?

Jeff Timmons: Well we were around for a pretty long time, so there are a lot to choose from. But some of the highlights were performing for Michael Jackson (at the 30th Anniversary Celebration) and on The Tonight Show with Stevie Wonder.

SFF: The music video “Because of You” was filmed in San Francisco and partly on top of the Golden Gate Bridge. What is your favorite memory of San Francisco?

JT: Being on the bridge was definitely scary, a heck of a memory though. Before I was in 98, I used to drop the hat and sing for cash with my Ohio boys at the Wharf and Pier 39. We weren’t doing it for the money, just for the fun of singing some songs. Then people genuinely began liking the music and would invite us to play at different places around the city.

SFF: Looking back on yourselves now, were there any fashion trend choices you wish had never happened?

JT: How about the entire time we were out? I mean we had some pretty crazy outfits: silver suits, overalls without shirts. In 98, we were all jeans and T-shirt kind of guys so we didn’t trust our own wardrobe judgments. I blame it on the stylists.

SFF: If you could relive any moment from the 98 days, what would it be?

JT: When we went multiplatinum, and the Teen Choice Awards, that was pretty great. But there was a girl who was sick and with Make A Wish Foundation. Her wish was to hang with us at the Teen Choice Awards. A real friendship with her grew out of it and we both benefited. We were able to add excitement to her life, and she lived much longer than her doctors expected. That’s the thing about music; it transcends language, culture, race, and any other situation a person is in. Her being there made everything worth it.

SFF: What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?

JT: There are so many to choose from. Once in Philadelphia, we were playing a show on an outdoor stage in late fall and I completely slipped on the ice and fell a foot off the stage. Or another time, I was sitting in front of Jerry Rice, who I am a huge fan of. The guys were telling me to calm down and be cool. But I turned around anyway and took a step forward and fell into the hole between the risers. That was embarrassing and no one would let me hide behind them.

SFF: What have you been doing since 98?

JT: Mostly I’ve been working on my own music: writing songs, producing, mixing. I’ve gotten a lot more involved with every aspect of producing music than I ever was in 98. It’s great because now I have control over the songs I want to sing and not worry or think about what other people want to hear. I also wrote some comedy scripts about the music industry and there is a possibility that it will become a TV show.

SFF: What can you tell me about your new album?

JT: It’s full of R&B, pop, and dance tracks. But more importantly, it’s completely free on my website, the whole album. I know that major labels are struggling, so I figure if I get the music out for free and build a strong fan base, it will re-energize excitement for music a little. It’s the ultimate risk, but I feel really good about it. From there, I’m hoping to do some college tours. I want to give back to the fans what they’ve given to me.

SFF: What inspired the album? Are there any boy band influences in it?

JT: The album doesn’t sound like the group. But there are strong Prince, Brian McKnight, and Michael Jackson vibes on it. I’m not trying to sound like them; it’s more of a dedication. With this album, I grew more confident in myself.

SFF: How is it different working by yourself? Do you miss the group?

JT: The people part, yes, but not the creative part. I miss the camaraderie of having them around, but working with a major label in a group is hard because you have to tailor each song to 4 guys. Often the important parts get left out because it won’t sell. I have much more creative control now.

SFF: A message to your fans?

JT: Thank you for your support in the past. It has enabled me to live the dream life. I hope you enjoy the combination of songs.

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