The Other Half
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The Other Half

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Hundreds of bands are forming in this city every month but for
most, the likelihood of making it out of the basement to the
stage, to a recording studio or to a sustainable lifestyle via their
music — is minimal. That is, unless you have fortunate
opportunities to bring your music to the next level.
While The Other Half are still a very young band, they’ve
been afforded some extra attention because of their lead singer,
Leslie Carter. With brothers Nick (Backstreet Boys) and Aaron
having their own successful pop careers, Leslie has branched out
to make her own style of music her own way. But make no
mistake, The Other Half are a real band — with Carter, D.J. Porter,
and Mike Ashton — that are hoping to take on the world from
their current home base of Hamilton.
“It was definitely something new and something that I hadn’t
tried before so I had to at least see what it was like,” reasons
Carter on her part in the hit reality show, House Of Carters that
documented the lives of her and her four siblings over seven
weeks as Nick worked on bringing back Backstreet. “The whole TV
thing — if you’ve got the opportunity to do something like that,
why not? How many people get to be on television and be in that
kind of light?
”I try to get away from [the Backstreet Boys/pop star
affiliation] as much as possible because I don’t want to use that to
get anywhere in life but I can’t get away from who I am. I grew up
in that family; all that’s different were that people were following
us around with cameras.”
As well as all of the beautiful people, the high drama, family
quarrels, LA partying and late night recording, the show — on the
E! Channel and on MuchMusic — also offered millions of people to
be introduced to Leslie’s band, The Other Half — all before they even had an official recording or solidified the line up. This kind
of scrutiny might destroy lesser bands, but the built–in audience
has created a huge demand for everything Leslie.
“I came back from Canada to do the show and I’d left my
band back in Canada, but I thought why not use this perfect
opportunity to bring them down to California and feature the
band,” reasons Carter. “We had been working so hard just
developing ourselves and writing — it was just a great
opportunity and that’s when my business hat came on.”
“Leslie, Mike and I have become such close friends that it’s
almost like we are a family, so when she was down there with her
blood relatives she needed that sense of home again,” adds
Porter.
So while fans might be familiar with the band, the story of
how Leslie Carter has become a Steel Town resident might not. As
luck would have it, Carter’s mother, who once managed young
Leslie, had developed ties with some Canadians and suggested
that Leslie try to learn to better express herself in song and
maybe even form a band in Southern Ontario — and the rest was
history.
“I had never written any songs so it was kind of like a little
project,” recalls Carter. “It was a really eye opening experience
and the people here, the music scene here; it’s the most
important thing in Canada. I just love the whole scene here, that’s
why I like to stay here.”
The wealth of talent would be sifted through bringing in ex-
Haddonfield drummer Ashton, then Mohawk College Music grad
Porter and later two more Mohawk grads — Kirk Harber on guitar
and Sean Smit on bass. The experience would forever change
Carter’s perspective.
“I tried taking her out to the scene that I knew and we’d go
see acts like Dallas Green,” adds Ashton on the gelling of the
band. “We’d go to places like the Bovine Sex Club in Toronto, just to give her an idea of the music scene and I guess this scene was
a little rawer than the scene she’d been accustomed to.”
“I’d grown up with a pop star brother and that’s all I’d ever
seen,” reasons Carter. “The difference is that it’s just such a big,
sparkly and clean pop act. What I was seeing in the smaller clubs,
it’s just a lot more intimate and people are spitting on you. That’s
raw. The bottom up, that’s what we’re doing.”
With her experiences and influences widening, Carter and
The Other Half are immersing themselves in a variety of local
culture. Now fans of the likes of Finger 11, Dallas Green, Dear
Jane, I… and others, their musical scope is also expanding. The
band is solidifying and galvanizing their process and songwriting
with a more honest perspective.
“A lot of times with the polished stuff you’re not really
allowed to express how you truly feel,” reasons Ashton on the
songwriting process.
“They’re teaching me a lot,” smiles Carter. “How to really
bring my true emotions out through words because I’ve censored
myself in a lot of ways — coming from the lifestyle I was in, you
couldn’t say certain things.
“We went from a cookie cutter kind of outline of a pop star
to a real genuine feel, a genuine sound, a genuine band,”
underscores Porter.
So while opportunities have come about, some are definitely
better than others. Fans might remember her song Like Wow from
the Shrek movie soundtrack but that pop world has less and less
to do with this woman, and this band hoping to create important
music.
“I did that song when I was 12 or 13 and I’m 20 now,”
clarifies Carter. “This is a serious band with serious songs. We try
to write a song every day or every other day and about issues that
I’d really like to talk about – things you don’t normally talk about
maybe. And I have a lot of anger built up inside.” “Yes, she does,” chimes in Ashton and Porter erupting into
laughter.
Carter’s darker side is somewhat tempered by her band
mates, underscoring their growth as friends and as a band. With
Hamilton based Rob Rapiti as their new manager, they’ve
sequestered themselves locally to record their debut at
Mastermind Studios.
So even though millions have seen the band on television
and hundreds becoming the legions of devotees at The Gown And
Gavel where members have been known to frequent — the band
offers an official introduction to their real lives and their very real
music with the debut Canadian performance of The Other Half
this weekend.
Fan clubs, industry and maybe even family — well, at least
her extended family from the Southern Ontario area — are all set
to be in attendance. With the concert to be filmed, and a media
blitz expected over the next year, the debut CD from The Other
Half is still at least a year away but this weekend comes another
chance to shine.
“The record we want to put out is going to be a lot more
upbeat and fun. Just great summer songs with great stories,”
offers Carter.
“We want to throw some anthems in there and just make it
fun as well — there are some serious songs but you don’t always
want to be serious,” interjects Porter. “So it’s like Hamilton, that’s
diverse.”
“I think it’s going to be an interesting mix,” adds Ashton.
“Essentially, a band is when you put four minds in one room and
see what you create so with Leslie’s background in R&B and pop
and with everything she’s got and my background in aggressive
music and DJ’s background in punk and pop — everything comes
together to make something new.”
“We’re not trying to put out something like everybody else
so we’re taking our time to develop what each of us has to offer
and see what we can come up with,” concludes Carter. “After this show, we plan on going heavily into the studio for a month and
making a really good album
“We are definitely going to rock the house,” laughs Carter.
“We are going to be bringing the party. We’ve got a lot of people
coming from all over the place to this show. I’ve been getting
kind of nervous counting down the days but I’m also getting
really excited.
“We plan on putting our best foot forward and doing our
jobs first of all but we will be having fun. It’s like a job because
you would take a job seriously and not take it for granted and you
wouldn’t blow your opportunities when they’re given to you.”

By Ric Taylor
Photos by Melanie Gillis


- View Magazine


Don't write off these two as has-beens
Sheryl Nadler, the Hamilton Spectator


Their careers got off to a less than satisfactory start, ...
Sheryl Nadler, the Hamilton Spectator

Their careers got off to a less than satisfactory start, but Leslie Carter, sister of Aaron and Nick, and Ryan Malcolm, the first Canadian Idol, are planning to come back -- with a vengeance.

Graham Rockingham
The Hamilton Spectator
(May 3, 2007)

Leslie Carter and Ryan Malcolm have both seen how the music industry's hit-making machine works up close.

They were gobbled up and spit out by it early in their careers. And this week, they're in Hamilton, trying to restart those careers in an image closer to their own liking.

As younger sister to Backstreet Boy Aaron Carter and older sister to teen idol Nick Carter, Leslie Carter was supposed to be the next member of her family to hit it big. She was signed by DreamWorks at 13. The record label gave her a song, Like Wow, and put it on the Shrek soundtrack. It was a minor hit. But, even with the Carter name, DreamWorks decided against releasing her full-length album.

Shortly after, Ryan Malcolm was crowned the first-ever Canadian Idol. The former Kingston waiter was rushed into a studio and handed a bunch of songs to record. He released a record that went platinum (selling more than 100,000) and toured the world. A year passed, and Kalan Porter became the new Canadian Idol, leaving Malcolm as yesterday's news.

Carter sought refuge in Canada, forming a pop-rock band with her boyfriend, drummer Mike Ashton, as well as bassist Sean Smit, guitarist Kirk Harber and keyboard player DJ Porter. They call themselves The Other Half, and recently set up shop in Hamilton's Mastermind Studio, writing and recording songs.

"Mike's from Toronto but, DJ is from Hamilton. We've been staying at his parents' place for the past couple of months," Carter said in an interview at the Casbah, where The Other Half will be performing Saturday as part of the Rogers Spring Music Festival.

The festival, organized by local promoter Rob Rapiti, who also owns Mastermind Studio, is in its fifth year and gets under way tonight with a show by Ron Sexsmith at the Westside Concert Theatre. It features acts at several clubs tomorrow and Saturday nights, as well as a concert by Blackie and the Rodeo Kings Saturday at Hamilton Place Studio Theatre (for a complete lineup, www.springmusicfestival.com).

"When I first started, I didn't have any choice in anything," Carter, now 20, says. "The reason I stopped working with DreamWorks was because the musical direction they were taking me in was not something I was into. I love pop music, but rock is what I'm into."

Also on the bill at the Casbah Saturday will be Malcolm's new Toronto-based band, Low Level Flight.

He says he appreciates the kick start Canadian Idol gave to his career, but admits it may have been a little too fast.

"We did the last record in such a short period of time, I never really had time to grow as an artist," Malcolm says about his solo debut. "So I took 2 1/2 years and learned how to write better songs, worked on my craft and got together with these guys. - Hamilton Sectator


Discography

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-Fallen
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currently writing and demoing for our album

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Bio

The world of music has changed drastically over the years since Leslie Carter’s family stormed the pop genre to eventually become household names in the late 90’s.

Even Leslie herself attempted a career in pop at a very young age which resulted in the hit single “Like Wow” as heard on the very first “Shrek” movie soundtrack.

Immediately following this success, Leslie’s world turned upside down and crumbled beneath her. Rejection and abandonment both professionally and personally over the next five years sent the talented singer/song writer spinning out of control.

It wasn’t until Leslie found herself in Canada with the help of a supportive group of song writers and musicians that everything began to fall into place. The group, rounded out by Mike Ashton (drums), Sean Smit (bass), Jason Eldon (guitar), began working on material that not only reflected today’s state of music but more importantly, Leslie’s state of mind.

Together, The Other Half’s energy-filled anthemic pop/rock mixture is their in-your-face answer to the complex issues that this generation faces.