The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
March 4, 2022

Jeff Timmons From 98 Degrees On The Power of Writing Down Goals And Why You Should DREAM BIG

Jeff Timmons From 98 Degrees On The Power of Writing Down Goals And Why You Should DREAM BIG


Jeff Timmons (@jefftimmons) is a singer, songwriter, producer and one of the founding members of the boy band "98 Degrees". He joins Chris Van Vliet at the Blue Wire Studios at the Wynn Las Vegas and blows us away with the tips and tactics he's used to change his life. He talks about how he formed 98 Degrees, deciding on a whim to move from Ohio to Los Angeles, the importance of dreaming big, why he writes down his goals every day, how he met Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey and Justin Jeffre, what being a dad has meant to him, why 98 Degrees broke up, how they got back together and more!

 

You look so youthful.

“Thank you. We’ve always been gym rats, the guys in the group, but I think it’s diet more than anything. It’s a combination of diet and exercise, but I think diet is more important.”

What is your diet?

“It’s keto. I’ve been low carb since 1997. It was the Atkins diet and then it evolved. Basically it’s a high fat diet. All my profiles and stuff check out.”

I think from the outside looking in, a lot of people haven’t heard a new 98 Degrees song in quite some time.

“Yeah except for the diehard fans, and we have been touring since our comeback tour in 2013. But we have families and we have done this before, so we needed to figure out a way to do both, tour and be with our families and look after our other businesses. So we started doing this thing called the Weekend Warrior. This allows us on Friday and Saturday to do those dates, and then for the rest of the week we can concentrate on the other stuff.”

Where was the shift where boybands were not really a thing anymore?

“I want to say that in 2002, literally that was it. Literally radio was done and that’s it. What happened was that there was too many. There was too much pop and bubble gum pop, radio loved it and it was one of the best times. Tons came after that and the programmers, not necessarily the fan base, they were just sick of it. They said no to this type of music and stopped playing the records. That was why we all went away and nobody else emerged as a big time solo artist, with the exception of Justin Timberlake.”

I remember back in the day that you used to perform at malls.

“Before that, we actually performed at cheerleading camps before we got signed. We couldn’t get signed right away and our demo was done. What we did was that our manager was friends with the head of the National Cheerleading Association. He asked if we could go on a cheerleading camp tour, and that was how we started. It was crazy, but you look back at those times and you miss it. You don’t don’t know where things will go, but we were having a blast and it was just so much fun. Once you get signed, it gets more competitive and more of a grind and less fun.”

What do you think was the song that put you on the map?

“We had a song called Invisible Man, which is my favorite. Invisible Man came out, and Motown was trying to convince people that we were an urban group. They didn’t put our pictures on anything, they wanted people to think that we were an R & B group. The only place where the music video was served was a video channel called The Box, which was on UHM. You could call in and give the number that was on a list, and then they would play it.”

What was the next one?

“I think it was The Hardest Thing and then it was I Do. If you had 3 songs on an album then that album can go platinum.”

Do you still get the residuals?

“Yeah of course. They are not a lot, if you are not the songwriter, it’s nominal. Back in the day you used the CD sales and merchandise to make the money. Unless you wrote all the songs, which we didn’t. But we were songwriters, the label just didn’t want our songs to get on there. But if you didn’t write the songs, you made a little bit of money from the CD and the albums, you really made the money on the road.”

Isn’t this why everyone has a Christmas album?

“Yes, because it will get played every year. Also Christmas music before a certain year is public domain. So if you do your own version of it and your own arrangement, you can claim the publishing rights. It’s a great little money maker.”

If people don’t recognize you from your face, do they from the tattoo?

“There was a time when I was embarrassed by the tattoo. The music went away and it wasn’t cool to be in a “boyband.” People would nail me for the tattoo. I would wear long sleeve shirts to cover it up. I was married before, but then I got divorced and met my new wife. She was like ‘What are you doing? You are in one of the biggest groups of all time. Why are you embarrassed? You should be proud of it.” I’m like I should be proud of it, this is so strange. Why do you care so much about something that you created that went on to sell millions of records. I didn’t get the tattoo for a brand, I did it because it is my crew. I never thought of it as an advertisement to the group.”

Did you ever think about getting it covered up or removed?

“Yeah back when we were done. I would walk into Guitar Center they are like ‘Oh look it’s the 98 Degrees guy!’ I’m like ‘Yeah, and you’re still working at Guitar Center.’ Nothing wrong with that, but alright, at least I tried.”

You didn’t just try, you succeeded!

“Well I was like yeah but I was thinking this wasn’t cool anymore. That was when my wife hit me over the head with it and I am proud of this many years later.”

What advice would you give to people who are starting out now?

“I think it’s the same. The tools are different, but it’s always the same. Work harder than everyone else, and self belief is a big thing. Self confidence and self belief, no one is going to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. Those closest to you may be the ones to discourage you the most, because they see you doing something that they were too afraid to try. Secretly they might be envious, but if you stick with it. Finally humility and to surround yourself with good people, which can be hard. But if you get rid of the bad, the good will flock to you.”

I feel like you willed this into existence with the success of 98 Degrees.

“Thanks man. You have to will it into existence, no one will believe in it as much as you do, so you have to put all of your energy and will into it. That doesn't mean you can’t have balance, but you have to visualize it.”

I end every interview talking about gratitude. What are 3 things that you are grateful for?

“That I am still around, my family and I’m doing what I love for a living.”