Kevin Richardson, known worldwide as a member of the award-winning musical group The Backstreet Boys, was born on October 3, 1971 in Lexington, Kentucky. On his family’s farm, Richardson grew up raising pork and beef, bailing and housing hay, planting and cutting tobacco and horseback riding. He also played little league and high school football and began playing the piano when he was nine.
In 1990, after holding down an array of odd jobs, Richardson put his musical talent to use and began a gig as a piano player in a local restaurant. Soon after, he moved to Florida and started working as a tour guide for MGM studios in Walt Disney World, in addition to performing in several of the theme park’s live shows. On the side, he taught Latin and ballroom dancing, and performed in a local dinner theater.
In June of 1994, The Backstreet Boys signed with Jive Records and went onto earn seven Grammy nominations, four World Music awards, three VMA awards, five MTV Europe awards, three Kids Choice awards, two Peoples Choice awards and five Blockbuster awards, among dozens of other accolades.
En route to becoming one of the biggest music franchises in history, this little singing group sold more than 80,000,000 albums worldwide to date and performed in more than 33 countries. Their sophomore album, “Millennium,” sold 1.2 million copies in the U.S. alone in its first week of release. Their next album, “Black & Blue” sold five million copies world wide in its first week.
Richardson was also part of another legendary franchise when, in 2003, he made his Broadway debut as Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago. During his run, Chicago enjoyed a top three box office sales spot and completely sold out shows. He later performed the same role in the West End, Toronto, Tokyo, and Broadway 10th anniversary productions.
Environmental issues are close to Richardson’s heart as well. In 2000, he founded Just Within Reach (JWR), an earth foundation. During this time he has consulted on and shot an environmental educational video with National Geographic which was distributed to more than 2,000 schools across the country, testified before the Senate subcommittee on mountaintop removal, appeared on “Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher,” founded the Kentucky chapter of The River Keepers with Robert Kennedy Jr., awarded 12 student scholarships for Environmental Science majors, and then dissolved the foundation in 2004 to donate time and his name to already established environmental organizations like the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).
For his next challenge, Richardson founded Ronin Music Productions. Since then he acted as co-producer and executive producer of the original motion picture soundtrack for the Lionsgate release “Rize.”