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Nick Lachey
"What's Left of Me," released May 9 on Jive Records, is one man's story, as he reclaims his considerable gifts as a singer and songwriter, trying to survive the intense celebrity surrounding him. Nick Lachey is moving through his life's journey with courage, grace, immense talent, and a sense of humor. "What's Left Of Me" is a snapshot of a moment in Nick's life, as any album is, and it's as confessinal and introspective as it is universal in its melodic expression of trials endured and lessons learned.

It would be impossible for the singer/songwriter to dismiss the past three years, in which his private life became a prime-time tableau for television audiences around the world. In 2003, Nick and wife Jessica Simpson were catapulted from pop stardom to becoming pop cultural icons over a trio of seasons of MTV's runaway hit, "Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica." That, in turn, led to a series of "Nick & Jessica Variety Hour" specials on ABC in the classic tradition of "Sonny & Cher," and a tour of duty, in which the couple visited Iraq and sang for American soldiers.

Today, Lachey is dedicating himself to his true passion, music via the 12 robust tracks on "What's Left of Me." Already, the title track has stormed Top 40 radio as one of hte fastest-rising singles of Spring 2006. The song debuted on AOLMusic.com in February and became the top-performing promotion in the site's two-year history. In April, MTV presented an anticipated look inside the life of Nick Lachey as he prepared to release his album with the one-hour special, "Nick Lachey: What's Left Of Me." This was followed by the MTV world premiere of Nick's new video "What's Left Of Me" along with an inside look of its production with "Making The Video: Nick Lachey."

The artist contributed to the writing of eight songs on the collection, which, while unflinchingly personal and honest, are most notable for their exuberant, richly orchestrated, classic pop sound. This is an artist who knows and loves the history of pop music, of which he has been a part. On the ultra-catchy "I Can't Hate You Anymore," he sings, "We built it up to watch it fall/Like we meant nothing at all/I gave and gave the best of me/But couldn't give you what you need/You walked away and stole my life."

Songs of redemption also mark the album, such as "On Your Own," where Lachey proclaims, "I will wait/However long it takes/Til you realize what you've been searching for/Was right here all along." The set poignantly closes with the elegantly sparse "Resolution," a striking showcase for the tenor's vocal gifts. Accompanied only by piano, he reveals, "I'm letting go/All I need to learn is along this road/I just wanna be the best man I can be."

The album also includes brisk collaborations with top Swedish songwriting/production team Andreas Carlsson, Anders Bagge, and Peer Astron on three tracks, including the affirming "Beautiful," which assures, "Don't ever let the mirror tell you lies/just look at the reflection through my eyes."

Overall, "What's Left Of Me" reminds us that Nick Lachey is first and foremost a musical artist of considerable talent.

The Kentucky native grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. His original ambition was to nurture his innate athletic abilities into a career in sports medicine (Lachey remains a rabid fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Bearcats and USC Trojans). But he and brother Drew's musical abilities were undeniable and both were accepted to study at the Cincinnati (High) School for the Creative and Performing Arts.

Then, as a student at the Miami University in Ohio, he and friend Jeff Timmons auditioned for a vocal group that eventually included Drew and buddy Justin Jeffre. The quartet of course became 98 Degrees and, after auditioning for record labels in Los Angeles, they were signed with Motown--ironic, since the group was often referred to as the "white Boyz II Men," who were flagships of the label at the time.

In 1997, "Invisible Man" became the first of a a string of smash hits for 98 Degrees, reaching No. 12 on the charts and assisting the group's self-titled debut album to gold status. Follow-up singles "Because of You" and "The Hardest Thing" both reached the top 5, while "I Do (Cherish You)" peaked at No. 13. Those songs propelled the second album "98 Degrees and Rising" to quadruple-platinum status.

The group again reached the top 40 with its holiday anthem "This Gift" from platinum album "This Christmas" -- and then hit the ultimate pay dirt. Invited to participate with Joe on Mariah Carey's "Thank God I Found You," 98 Degrees reached the coveted No. 1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 and on the R&B/Hip-hop Singles and Tracks chart, and spent half a year on the singles sales tally in 2000. The song was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

Double-platinum "Revelation" that same year marked a more edgy sound, with the tropical No. 2 single "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)" and rhythmic "The Way You Want Me To."

In 2002, the group put its partnership on hiatus with the 13-track "Ninety-Eight Degrees: The Collection," which includes -- to this day one of the group's fondest memories -- "True To Your Heart," a duet with the legendary Stevie Wonder. In total, Nick, Drew, Jeff and Justin sold 7 million albums.

In the midst of the fervor surrounding "Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica," Lachey released his first solo album, "SoulO" in late 2003, which included the romantic song "This I Swear," which was the theme song for his hit TV series. The ballad reached No. 11 on Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

Lachey continues to be a presence on-screen, after landing a six-episode role on the WB series "Charmed," as well as a guest spot in ABC's "Hope & Faith," both in 2004. In addition, he starred as a stockbroker-turned-jeweler in "The Hard Easy," in 2005.

In the liner notes for "What's Left of Me," Lachey thanks God, saying "I believe He always has a plan for us and I trust in it." It's this sense of hope and strength which gives the album its core. Although "What's Left Of Me" contains some of Nick's writing and singing about closure and endings, it's also a beginning; a new step for a deeply talented musician who will certainly be on the American radio for many years to come.

--- from the official Nick Lachey website

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Nick Lachey

Nick Lachey
What's Left of Me?

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