3T is back

3T made their debut ten years ago. The boys – who are also famous for being Michael Jackson’s nephews – have been out of the spotlight for quite a while. But they are now back with the top-10 hit Stuck On You, and their new album Identify is soon to follow. Why such a long hiatus? TJ, Taj and Taryll tell their story.

3T first entered the charts in 1995 with the hits Anything and Why. Their album Brotherhood, which was produced by Michael Jackson, went gold. Michael Jackson would also be the cause of problems between the group and their record company, Sony. “Our new album should have been out in 1999,” says Taryll. 3T are in chilly Holland to promote their new single and upcoming album. However, the boys do not arrive in a limo with darkened windows accompanied by gorilla-sized bodyguards, as we’ve come to expect from other Jacksons. 3T want to stay as “normal” as they can. During our interview it became obvious that the boys hate the glitter and glamour that so often go along with star status.

New album
3T is happy to be back in Holland. “The fans have never forgotten us and for that we’re thankful. We knew they were waiting for a new album,” says TJ, who is happy to give us the low-down on the band’s long silence.” It was mainly the fault of the record company. Differences between uncle Michael and Sony meant we couldn’t release the album. It had already been recorded and everything. We were bursting with music and creative ideas, but since Sony had all the rights to the songs, we couldn’t perform them. We almost felt like prisoners. We were finally released from our contract in 2002. We had to write a completely new album and we also now have our own record label.” During their absence from the music scene, the boys have been anything but idle. Taj: “We kept busy alright. Hard not to when you love music so much. We wrote songs and kept working hard at our music. We also finished school. Since we were really young when we started out, school work did take a backseat then. As hard as it was, we have always tried to be regular teenagers.”

Jackson scandals
It would be hard not to want to discuss the Jackson family, what is up with Michael and the child sex charges against him and Janet and her infamous bare breast incident. The brothers laugh about it all. Taj: “Our family is always in the news. Always has been and probably always will be. In the US everything is blown out of all proportion in the media. Rumors take on a life of their own. And of course the media love running stories that put you in a bad light. We’ve learned to take everything with a pinch of salt. We don’t even bother to read the lies people print about our family.” The boys are reticent about their uncle Michael. “All we want to say about Uncle Michael is that we stand behind him. We are completely convinced of his innocence. He is a special man, a real idealist who wouldn’t hurt anyone. As he says in his song, he wants to heal the world and make it a better place. One of the most important things he taught us is to say what you think and to enjoy each beautiful moment. He has always supported us in our career and we will always be grateful to him. Without Uncle Michael, there would never have been a 3T.” Is it difficult being a Jackson? “Being famous can be difficult. The spotlight is always on you and you have no privacy. However much we wanted it, we couldn’t be regular kids. But it does have its advantages. We really grew up surrounded by music. There was always music at home. I remember well seeing Michael Jackson perform when we were still little boys. Our dad, Tito, was a member of the Jackson Five. He was another great inspiration. He taught us that you have to develop your own style, a style you can be proud of. 2004 - by Anneke Ruys

2004-2011 "3T's Detour"