Cousins Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell both grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, singing and acting in local church choirs and fairs—where they sang doo-wop and new jack R&B. Two other remaining members of the group, Howie Dorough and A.J. Mclean, hailed from Orlando, Florida and a third, Nick Carter, from New York City. The three met through auditions for local television commercials, theater and television. Each one held a deep love for classic soul and when they blended their voices together they made beautiful music. Almost immediately after the three boys got together, Kevin Richardson moved to Orlando, where he became a tour guide at Disney World; at night, he focused all of his time and efforts toward becoming an accomplished musician. When he finally met Dorough, Carter and McLean through a co-worker, the four decided to create a band, deriving their name from an Orlando fleamarket; Litrell was eventually asked to join the group, making it a five-some.
Record producer and friend, Louis J. Pearlman, introduced the boys to managers Donna and Johnny Wright, who sent the boys on small tours and encouraged a few A&R reps to come see the guys live. In 1994, Jive Records signed with the Backstreet Boys and hooked them up with producers Veit Renn and Tim Allen, who spent many tedious months with the band to create their album. The Backstreet Boy’s album was released in Europe and North America in late 1995. The record was a huge hit in Europe, in the UK, the Backstreet Boys were named Best Newcomers of 1995 at the Smash Hits Awards. Ironically, despite their Top 10 success in Europe, the guys did not do so well in North America. This did not last for long, as soon as the boys released Backstreet’s Back in 1997, they began to climb the charts in the US, achieving hits with the singles “Quit Playin Games (With My Heart)” and “As Long As You Love Me”. Their succeeding album, Millennium, was released in 1999 along with the band’s Christmas album.