TOTP - Taj

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Taj, the caring one, tells us why he's shy of girls, how he feels about his fans and why he has more friends than Taryll and TJ put together...

What do you like most about yourself?
I think it's the fact that I really care about people. Sometimes I think maybe I care too much as I don't always receive it in return. I find that hard. In this industry there are people who like us just because of who we are. But then there are fans who I can cheer up just by talking to them. To be
able to do that is incredible.

Have you ever been hurt by the press?
Yeah, definitely. I wouldn't say we're used to it now but we certainly expected it because of our uncle's experiences. One of the worst times was when an American newspaper, who obviously didn't know who we were, wrote that we were all lovers! We knew it was ridiculous but it still hurts because people will read it and think it's true.

Does that stop you trusting people?

I am trusting, but everyday I become that little bit more cautious. I've toughened up but at the same time I feel you still have to open yourself up to people, otherwise you'll never have proper friendships. So I still give people the benefit of the doubt when I first meet them.

Your brothers have described you as the responsible one who sorts out the problems. Is that true?
I guess so. I'm the eldest and if there's a problem, TJ and Taryll will often look to me to deal with it -although they're not going to give me credit for that! I'm also the one who's really involved with our fan club and I supply them with all our lyrics and latest information. Plus I check all the e-mail from our fans because my brothers don't know how to do it!

Do you spend a lot of time working on your computer?
If I could, I'd probably spend almost all of my time on the computer. I do a lot of drawing and computer graphics and I designed our 3T logo and the one for our baseball team K9. In fact we've just had two days off and I spent the whole time at home, most of it on the computer, whereas TJ and Taryll hung out with friends. I don't like to be on my own for too long though, because I start to feel lonely.

You once said loneliness was your big fear. When was the last time you felt lonely?
Around the time when we were making our album. We worked on it for three years and all we did was go straight from school to the studio. We didn't have time for friends or doing anything other than working.

So you need lots of people around you?

I love people. I have many more friends than my brothers. In fact even if you combined their friends, I'd still have more. Thing is, though, I'm a real homebody and whenever I have time off I like to spend it at home. So my friends always come round to see me.

Is it true you're scared of flying?
Totally. In fact all three of us hate flying. It's just, oh, I don't know, (crinkles up face) very scary. I'd rather drive everywhere in a tour bus than fly, but we're not allowed. I think it was my dad who sparked off my fear. He's three times worse than us although, strangely enough, he loves planes. He can actually fly a plane but can't stand being a passenger because he hates not being in control. He has to take calming pills before flying whereas we just try and sleep through it. TJ's the best at that, he's fast asleep before we even take off.

What's the best part about being in 3T?
To be totally honest, I really like talking to the fans, especially on the Internet. I was reading our messages on the Net yesterday and I recoginzed a couple of names of UK fans who have followed us right from the start. It's really special when that happens. I also like performing although I feel very shy when I'm on stage. My brothers thrive on it and always try and push me forward. They don't understand why I like to stay more in the background.

Are you a very shy person then?

Well, when I say shy, I mean when I'm singing. I don't get shy talking to people. But if a girl smiles
at me, I'm very shy (little bashful grin sweeps across face). If a girl started flirting with me I wouldn't know what to do. I'm so shy I'd probably walk away.

Do you believe there's a Ms Right out there for you?
I used to believe in the theory that there's just one girl somewhere in the world for me but then I thought, what if I was delayed on the one day I was supposed to meet her and missed my chance.
That's a scary thought. So I changed my mind and now I think there's more than one person who's right for me, but it all depends on timing -what's happening in her life and what's happening in mine when we meet. What I do know is that I don't want to be alone later on in life. I definitely want to meet someone, fall in love and have children. The joy that my mom and dad brought to us, I want to share with my children. And I don't want to wait too long!

Are you more like your father or your mother?

I think I'm more like my mom was, although I look more like my dad -especially my cheek structure! But personality wise I'm very like my mom. She was very friendly and loved people. I was definitely the one who was closest to my mom.

You were also the eldest when your parents got divorced, did that put pressure on you?
Yeah, I had the most responsability. All three of us went to live with our mom after the split but she would always talk to me the most. She would count on me to do things because I became the
man of the household. That's definitely shaped the way I am now.

Would you say you're a good listener?
Definitely. My mom was the same. She had a lot of friends who would come and talk to her. But although she would listen to people, she didn't really have anyone who would listen to her. That's why we became so close later on, because I would go to her and she would come to me.

So it must have been particularly hard for you after her death?
Yeah. (pause) I feel I can't really entrust everything to one person. Now if I have a problem I can't sort out I'll usually turn to Uncle Michael or my dad.

Are you good at keeping secrets?
I'm incredible, much better at keeping secrets than my brothers. I think that's one of the reasons why I have so many friends. There are things that people have told me that they've never told anyone else.

What's your worst habits?
I can't throw anything away. I'm one of those sentimental people who collects something from every place they've been to. I also hang on to all our fan mail and file it away. I have tickets from every movie I've ever been to and even magazines from three years ago. Sometimes with books and magazines, I'll sneak them into the library we have at home when no one's around. I couldn't stand the idea of anything of mine leaving the house!

 

 

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