I Gave You Wings, Now it is time to fly—a Father's Day reflection on Brian and Baylee Littrell.
I have always appreciated the relationship between Brian and Baylee. It is rare to see in or out of show business despite the criticisms that Baylee was just riding his father's coattails. Although I agreed with Karah Hancock's initial objection, I thought there was a specific advantage for Baylee associated with Brian and BSB. One, it gave him a quick start. Even in the age of social media and streaming, which democratized musical promotion and discovery, an artist still has to prove himself sometimes for years with no guarantee of significant success. Second, given that Backstreet Boys fans were not automatically country fans, it would still be a demanding audience to win over. I initially questioned the idea of having Baylee open for the group. I was unsure if Backstreet boy fans would like country and vice versa. Third, crossover country artists had to sound more pop to get on Top 40 radio. The Country genre is so demanding that if you don't sound authentic, you will be rejected. So yeah, being a pop star's son would be a challenge. However, the group collaboration with Florida Georgia Line proved there was room for both. As hard as it is, I thought going into a different genre was an intelligent decision for Baylee. If he competed directly with his dad, he probably would have been overshadowed. In addition, the accusations of nepotism would have intensified.
Right now, I am glad Brian is letting Baylee grow musically in his own way and pace. A parent cannot protect a child forever but just prepare the child for what's to come. In the perilous world of show business, it is even more critical. Bringing Baylee along on tour when he was young probably helped him understand what it is like. I applaud Brian for not leaving him alone for months at a time. I also applaud his wife Leighanne for fighting to make room for Baylee on tour in the early years. They definitely showed that family was important to them. It also set a precedent for the other members to bring their kids on tour later on.
Brian probably wished he had that kind of mentorship when he started. It was new and overwhelming for someone of his background. Show business was never his life ambition, unlike his groupmates Nick, AJ, and Howie. His older brother, who was briefly in show business, probably did not have the same level of knowledge that Brian now has because he was not as successful.
I also understand why Brian wanted to quit to raise Baylee too. As the first member to have children, there was no one to teach him how to be a show business father. . I am sure the others did not really understand it until they had children themselves. ( That unsolicited advice AJ got him for was probably parenting advice) After the disillusionment with Lou Pearlman and the celebrity culture in general, he was perhaps looking for an out too. Baylee was his motivation to continue his career and overwhelming purpose in life. Keep guiding him, Brian. No matter what others say, you gave him a good head. I love that proud look on your face every time you watch him. He will eventually return the favor.