Brian Thomas Littrell
(born February 20, 1975) is an American singer-songwriter and occasional actor, best known as a member of the Backstreet Boys. He is also a contemporary Christian recording artist and released a solo album, Welcome Home
, in 2006. Brian has four Top 20 solo singles in the US Christian chart.Littrell was also a judge for the 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.Backstreet BoysBrian's cousin Kevin Richardson called on him to join the Backstreet Boys.After the joining of Brian Littrell, the quintet officially took shape. In the beginning, there was no success in the United States, even though the first single had been a hit on Orlando radio stations. The band manager Lou Pearlman marketed the Backstreet Boys in Europe, where they became commercially successful in 1995. They became hugely popular in Europe, Latin America and the United States in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. During this time they released four albums, Backstreet Boys
, Backstreet's Back
and Black & Blue
followed by a greatest hits album, The Hits: Chapter One
. After a three-year gap, they released their comeback album, Never Gone
followed by Unbreakable
, This is Us
and In a World Like This.
In 1997, Littrell was instrumental in bringing a lawsuit against the group's managers Lou Pearlman and Trans Continental claiming that Pearlman has not been truthful about the earnings made by the group. In the following year, McLean, Richardson and Dorough joined the lawsuit which eventually resulted in a number of settlements, details of which were not disclosed.
For a long time, Littrell had wanted to record Christian music—what he calls "pop positive" music. His first solo album, Welcome Home
, was released on May 2, 2006, which, like the Backstreet Boys projects, is a Sony BMG release. The album peaked at No. 74 on the Billboard 200 and No. 3 on the Christian charts, and has sold over 100,000 copies. Three singles were released from the album. The first, "Welcome Home (You)", reached No. 2 on the US Christian charts and No. 1 on Reach FM's Top 40 chart and the R&R Christian Inspirational Chart, staying there for three weeks. The second single was "Wish" and, in 2007, the third single, "Over My Head", was released. During this time, he maintained his duties as a member of the Backstreet Boys. In the summer of 2005, his solo single, "In Christ Alone", went to No. 1 on the Christian charts on July 4.Littrell was a winner of the 2006 GMA Dove Award for Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year for "In Christ Alone" (along with songwriters Don Koch and Shawn Craig). In the next few years he would win three more Doves for collaboration projects; in 2008, Special Event Album of the Year for Glory Revealed
(various artists) and the Inspirational Recorded Song of the Year for "By His Wounds", from that album; and in 2010, Special Event Album of the Year for Glory Revealed II
TV and film appearances
Littrell made appearances with the Backstreet Boys on Arthur
, Sesame Street
, and Sabrina The Teenage Witch
(1998). He also performed with The Backstreet Boys on Saturday Night Live
, in 1998 and 1999. In 2002, Littrell voiced himself on an episode of Arthur
.In 2013, Littrell made an appearance in the comedy This Is the End
, along with the rest of the Backstreet Boys.
Two months after joining the Backstreet Boys, Littrell started dating Samantha Stonebraker, a relationship that continued for four years (1993–97). Littrell even lived with Samantha's family for two years. In 1998, after their separation, she released the book What You Wanna Know: Backstreet Boys Secrets Only a Girlfriend Can Tell
, about their relationship and the Backstreet Boys.In 1997, Littrell met model and actress Leighanne Wallace at the video shoot for their single "As Long as You Love Me". He proposed on Christmas Eve night of 1999, and their engagement along with the engagement of Littrell's cousin and bandmate Kevin Richardson to Kristin Willits was announced on MTV in February 2000. Littrell and Wallace were married on September 2, 2000 at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Both are committed evangelical Christians. Together they have one son, Baylee Thomas Wylee Littrell, born on November 26, 2002.
A devout Christian, Littrell has stated that 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 eight, 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.