Brian Thomas Littrell (born February 20, 1975) is an American singer, songwriter and actor, best known as a member of the vocal group the Backstreet Boys. He is also a Contemporary Christian music artist, and released the solo album, Welcome Home, in 2006. He is also the father of teen country singer Baylee Littrell.
Littrell in June 2011
Brian Thomas Littrell
February 20, 1975
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.
|Alma mater||Tates Creek High School|
|Height||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Children||Baylee Littrell (b. 2002)|
Littrell was born in Lexington, Kentucky, to Jacqueline "Jackie" R. (née Fox), a dentist's secretary, and Harold Baker Littrell, Jr, an employee of IBM. He has an older brother Harold, and is a cousin of fellow Backstreet Boys member Kevin Richardson (His father Harold and Richardson's mother Anne are siblings).
Littrell was skilled at sports, and played in both Little League and the Babe Ruth League. Growing up in a religious Baptist family, he sang his first solo in Porter Memorial Baptist Church at age 7, and was voted President of the Youth Chorus by his peers one year. At 16, he began performing at weddings after Barry Turner, his choir teacher at Tates Creek High School, suggested he could make money singing at social events. Littrell also performed in school plays including a production of Grease, and worked at fast food chain Long John Silver's.
At 15, Littrell had aspirations to become a basketball player, but at 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm) he struggled with his height, and was seldom selected for high school tournaments. He aspired to become a music minister, but in April 1993 during a history class at Tates Creek, Littrell’s cousin and future bandmate Kevin Richardson called him out of an American History class and informed him of an audition for a fifth member of the Backstreet Boys. Littrell flew to Orlando the next day and finished high school via correspondence, graduating in 1994.
In 1997, Littrell was instrumental in bringing a lawsuit against the group's creator Lou Pearlman, claiming Pearlman had not been truthful about the group's earnings. Bandmates McLean, Richardson and Dorough joined the lawsuit which eventually resulted in a number of settlements, details of which were not disclosed. During the band's hiatus, Littrell became committed to a number of other show business activities, most of them for charity. Littrell joined other celebrities in a yearly NBA tour where he plays basketball in every NBA city before a game. Aside from that, Littrell has also played charity baseball games. In 2000, he was among Teen People's 25 Hottest People Under 25, tying with Justin Timberlake of rival band *NSYNC.
Littrell longed to record Christian music, a genre he described as "pop positive". In 2004, Littrell signed a solo deal with Reunion Records and released the solo album Welcome Home in 2005. Littrell co-wrote six of the songs on the album, which sold over 100,000 copies in the US and reached No. 74 on the Billboard 200 charts. On the Christian album charts, Welcome Home debuted at No. 3. Four singles were released from the album - "In Christ Alone", "Wish", "Over My Head" and Welcome Home (You)", with the latter reaching No. 2 on the US Christian AC Charts. It was also No. 1 on Reach FM's Top 40 chart and on the US R&R Christian Inspirational charts for 3 weeks. In the summer of 2005, his solo single, "In Christ Alone", went to No. 1 on the Christian charts. Despite this change in his career, he remains a member of the Backstreet Boys.
Littrell won a Dove Award for Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year (“In Christ Alone”) in 2006 along with songwriters Don Koch and Shawn Craig, and another in 2008 for “By His Wounds” with Glory Revealed. He also won Special Event Album of the Year in 2008 for Glory Revealed which was a compilation album with many other Christian artists; and in 2010, Special Event Album of the Year for Glory Revealed II.
Littrell released two Christmas collections featuring his wife Leighanne and son Baylee, Brian Littrell’s Family Christmas, released on December 6, 2010, and Christmas with the Littrells, released on December 6, 2011.
TV and film appearancesEdit
Littrell made appearances with the Backstreet Boys on Arthur, Sesame Street, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and he and bandmate McLean had cameos in Olive Juice, a film starring Littrell’s wife Leighanne. Littrell also performed with The Backstreet Boys on Saturday Night Live, in 1998 and 1999. In 2013, Littrell made an appearance in the film This Is the End with his bandmates.
In 1997, following the breakup of his relationship with girlfriend Samantha Stonebraker, Littrell met Leighanne Wallace on the “As Long as You Love Me” video set in which she was an extra. They dated for two years, and Littrell proposed on Christmas 1999; the couple got married in September 2000 at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta. In November 2002, they had their son Baylee, who appeared in the Broadway musical Disaster! in 2017, released his first single, "Don’t Knock It" in 2018, and his debut album, 770 Country, in 2019.
In 2019, a DNA heritage test revealed Littrell's ancestry to be 90.1% British Isles (20.7% English and 70.1% Irish/Scottish/Welsh), plus 7.1% Finnish and 2.1% Scandinavian.
Littrell was born with a congenital heart condition, making him susceptible to infections. The heart murmur was diagnosed when he was 6 weeks old. At 5 years old, he was hospitalized for two months due to a bacterial infection. Due to his hospitalization, Littrell was held back in school and had to repeat the first grade. In November 1997, doctors found his heart condition had caused his heart to enlarge considerably, but he underwent open heart surgery on May 8, 1998. He would later establish the Brian Littrell Healthy Heart Club, a non-profit organization assisting children with heart conditions through medical, financial and practical help.
In the 2015 documentary film Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of, Littrell revealed his 2011 diagnosis of vocal tension dysphonia and dystonia. He continues to work with a therapist to help improve his condition.
A devout Christian, Littrell has stated he believes it is the duty of Christians to be open about their faith, saying, "I think as Christians we need to join hands and mount up together and lift God up and talk about our faith publicly and talk about all of the things God has done for us in our life to touch other people." Littrell, who has been a born again Christian since the age of 8, has said that he attributes his success in life to God, and that his faith has always been "the utmost important thing" in his life.
|TV series & Movies|
|2000||Olive Juice||Carriage Driver|
|1998||Sabrina the Teenage Witch||Himself||Episode: "Battle of the bands"|
|1998–1999||Saturday Night Live||Himself and Musical guest||"Julianne Moore/Backstreet Boys" (Season 23: episode 16)|
"Sarah Michelle Gellar/Backstreet Boys" (Season 24: episode 19)
|2002||Arthur||Himself||Episode: "Arthur, It's Only Rock and Roll" Guest Voice|
|2005||The Ellen DeGeneres Show||Himself||Musical Guest With The Backstreet Boys|
|2009||El Hormiguero||Himself||Musical Guest With The Backstreet Boys|
|2012||Late Night with Jimmy Fallon||Himself||Musical Guest with Backstreet Boys|
|2013||This Is the End||Himself||With the Backstreet Boys, performing "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"|
|2013||El Hormiguero||Himself||Musical Guest With The Backstreet Boys|
|2014||I Heart Nick Carter||Himself||minor|
|Year||Album details||Peak positions||Certifications|
|74||3||US sales: 100,000|
|2010||Brian Littrell’s Family Christmas
|2011||Christmas with the Littrells
|2005||"In Christ Alone"||1||Welcome Home|
|2006||"Welcome Home (You)"||2|
|2007||"Over My Head"||17|
|"By His Wounds" (with Mac Powell, Mark Hall and Steven Curtis Chapman)||8||Glory Revealed|
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- Baylee Follows In Father's Footsteps
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- Svokos, Heather. "Local Voices Chime In On Singer's Latest Song". Lexington Herald-Leader.
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- "25 Hottest Stars Under 25". Teen People. June 2000.
- Ross, Dena. "Give Glory Where Glory is Due". Beliefnet, Inc. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
- "Brian Littrell Looks To Reconnect As Dove Co-Host". April 25, 2007. Archived from the original on April 29, 2007. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
- "Past Winners - The 47th Annual GMA Dove Awards". Retrieved July 20, 2016.
- Backstreet Boys Contributes Solo Song to Project
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- "Backstreet Weddings". People. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
- "First Country: New Music From Lady Antebellum, Baylee Littrell, Avenue Beat & More". Billboard.
- September 16, TeamBaylee; September 21st, TeamBaylee. "Baylee Announces New Album Release Date on TODAY with Hoda and Jenna – Baylee Littrell".
- Stephens 2/19/2019, Samantha. "Newcomer Baylee Littrell Celebrates Debut Video". CMT News.
- "It's in his "DNA": New country artist Baylee Littrell is stealing female fans from his Backstreet Boy dad – Hot Country 93.1".
- "Spend a Two-Show Day at Disaster! With Young Star Baylee Littrell | Playbill". Playbill. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
- "Which Backstreet Boy is Jewish? - World News - Jerusalem Post". www.jpost.com.
- "Backstreet Boys Have Got News!". All-Stars. June 2000.
- "Celebrities with Heart Disease Picture | Celebs With Heart Problems". ABC News. August 6, 2013. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
- Kaufman, Gil. "Backstreet Boys' Brian Littrell Diagnosed With Swine Flu". MTV News.
- "Brian Littrell Reveals That He Suffers From Muscle Tension Dysphonia In New Backstreet Boys Documentary". Clizbeats. January 31, 2015. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
- Ross, Dena. (October 23, 2006). "Give Glory Where Glory Is Due". BeliefNet.com. Retrieved November 22, 2007.
- "Christianity Today - Brian Littrell". Christianity Today. Archived from the original on October 10, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2007.
- Millar, Sarah. "Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell Goes Solo". andPOP.com. Archived from the original on March 22, 2008. Retrieved November 22, 2007.