Now, 14-year-old Aaron Carter wants to be the next big thing. He's got the look and the moves, and he's got something extra: his mom, Jane Carter. Harold Dow reports.
Say Jane: "You have to be tough. You can't be nice. You can't say yes to everything that everybody wants from you. Sometimes, you have to be the bad guy. And you're gonna make people mad here and there, but you gotta not worry about that. You just gotta worry about number one, and that's my kids."
Jane is Aaron's manager, and she is determined to make him a superstar.
"I taught my kids they could do anything they want to do," Jane says.
What could this unassuming Florida housewife and mother of five know about the cutthroat world of pop music? Turns out she knows plenty: her oldest son Nick is a member of the Backstreet Boys, one of the most popular groups in the world over the past 10 years.
What Jane learned from watching Nick's rise to the top, she hopes to teach to Aaron.
The music business is "ugly for the most part, the business side," she says. Although the group sold over 55 million albums, and sold out concert halls worldwide, Jane and her husband Bob felt Nick didn't get his fair share. Without realizing it, they had signed a contract limiting their son's take of the royalties.
She decided that she wouldn't let the same thing happen with her other son. Thanks to the influence of his big brother and his own natural talent, Aaron began performing when he was 9. Then Jane decided to go toe to toe with the big guys, taking complete control of Aaron's career.
"I listened to a lot to people who knew what they were doing. I sought out people that I felt were competent and professional and tried to pick up on their knowledge," she says.
Aaron first hit it big overseas. Appearing with only a couple of dancers to pre-recorded back-up tracks, Aaron began selling out concerts and creating a huge fan base of teen-age and pre-teen girls. Success in the United States soon followed.
At 14, Aaron is poised to take the next step: to the superstar status his brother has enjoyed. He and his mother are raising the stakes, with better dancers, a live band, a real stage set.
The new tour is called "Aaron's Winter Party." The Carters hope it will put Aaron over the top to stay. The production costs about $30,000 per day, Jane says.
Jane even hired a high-end choreographer, Brian Friedman. Brian's last client was Britney Spears.
"We just have to make the kids happy, make them happy," says Brian. "They want to be standing up for the full show; we don't want anybody sitting down or getting tired. They want to see people flipping, they want to see colors, they want to hear up-tempo music."
Despite the work, Aaron enjoys what he does: "It hasn't really gotten to me – I mean a couple times I've been like, 'I don't want to do this anymore' but in the long run, I would never give it up for anything."
In five weeks, Carter and his 60-person entourage will criss-cross the country, playing 23 cities in 20 states. That means a lot of time in his home away from home: the tour bus.
One week into the tour, and Aaron's Winter Party has come to Lowell, Mass., just 30 miles from Boston. As his stage is being set for the night's show, two teen-agers prepare for what they hope will be biggest night of their careers as Aaron Carter fans.
Katie and Eilleen are best friends. They finish each other's sentences, and they really, really love Aaron Carter.
They don't know it, but 48 Hours has arranged for Katie and Eileen to get the surprise of a lifetime. They get to meet Aaron Carter.
With showtime two hours away, Jane makes her final inspections. What is going through her mind? "I think about all the fun that they're going to have watching the show tonight that we've worked really hard on and that Aaron's going to really give them his all," she says.
Jane watches from the sound board, making sure everything goes according to plan. Katie and Eileen are in the 10th row as Aaron gives a great performance.
"I am proud of myself, and I'm proud of my kids," says Jane.
Since 48 Hours first aired this story in May, Aaron has completed his third album and will be back on tour in August.