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Howie D talks solo career and new Backstreet Boys album

Howie Dorough attends the 11th Annual Lupus LA Orange Ball on May 12, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Getty

(CBS) Howie Dorough of the Backstreet Boys has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. He just released a solo album and recently wrapped up a tour with Britney Spears.

Next up? Additional tour dates with New Kids on the Block, solo gigs and a new Backstreet Boys album.

Read more: Backstreet Boys singer A.J. McLean weds

With everything going on with the group over the last few years, Howie D, 38, hasn't had a lot of time to dedicate to his own music. But that changed in 2011. After five years of working (on and off) on his debut, Howie D finally released what he thinks represents him best.

"Timing for me is everything," he told CBSNews.com about the newly-released "Back to Me." "I'm the fourth one [of the Backstreet Boys] to come out with a solo record."

The mid-tempo songs and ballads are reminiscent of the Backstreet Boys sound, but Howie D tried to "push the envelope" with his more up-tempo tracks, which have a Euro-dance sound.

The songs, with their upbeat vibe, represent Howie D's life right now. "I've got a lot of positive energy -- between being a father, being on the NKOTB tour ... managing other artists."

The Florida native recently got the chance to road test his new songs while opening up for Spears' "Femme Fatale" stadium tour in South America.

"Just to be back on stage with her was really cool," Howie D said. "We've known each other for many years."

He added, "She's a real sweetheart. I really respect her not only as an artist, but also as a person ... She had a really great family environment out there. Her mother, her father, her kids, her boyfriend, who's now her finace, and her whole crew were amazing."

And Backstreet Boys fans will be happy to know the guys are hard at work on a new album, the follow-up to 2009's "This is Us." Howie D tells CBSNews.com they've been compiling ideas, trying out producers and doing some individual writing. They plan to hit the studio in 2012, but aren't in a rush to put anything out.

"We're going to take our time with it," Howie D said, noting the album likely won't surface until later in the year. "We want to make every album better than the last one," he said.