Some of the more dedicated New Kids on the Block fans might know the shoe size, childhood pet, and preferred breakfast cereal of the band's five members, but only the truest Jordan Knight die-hards know that the suave singer is actually a Canadian citizen!
It's true. Despite being born in Boston, Massachusetts, both he and his brother Jonathan have close ties to Canada. Omg! Canada talked to Jordan about it while he was in Toronto to prepare for a cross-Canada tour this month for his latest solo album, "Unfinished."
What is your family connection to Canada?
My parents are Canadian, and all of my extended family is Canadian. They're both from Ontario. My mom's from Dunnville -- have you heard of Dunnville? It's a small town, by Lake Erie. And my father's from Meaford. That's north. They met at McMaster University and moved to the States in their late 20s. My sisters were born in Canada, and all my brothers were born in the U.S.
When would you visit your family in Ontario?
I have fond memories of Christmases at my grandparents' house and spending the summers at Lake Erie at my grandparents' cottage. My grandfather built his cottage with his own two hands; it's pretty impressive. I kind of have a strong Canadian identity.
What would you do during these visits?
In the winters we would go sledding; that was always fun. We'd go into Toronto once, and that was always a big deal. I'm from the city, but every time I'd come to Canada it would be country living, so we'd make the trek into the city and that was always a big day. Mini-golfing. Being on Lake Erie, we had these cheap Styrofoam surfboards and that was always fun, riding the waves back to the beach. We would walk down paths and collect salamanders and frogs -- of course, we'd set them free. At my cousin's house, it was a farm, before we went swimming we'd have to go down to the main road, set up a stand, and sell corn. And on the way down to the road, there was a little bridge, and in the stream below is where we would fish and dig for worms.
Did you still see your Canadian family during your NKOTB days?
Every once in a while, but we would usually make stops in Canada. New Kids on the Block have a big following here, so we would always do shows here and my family would come. It has always been work since we started, it wasn't as leisurely for sure … It feels great [to be back in Canada]. Canada has always welcomed me and welcomes the New Kids with open arms.
What was your experience as a judge on 'Cover Me Canada'?
I did a show called "Cover Me Canada" last year; that was a lot of fun. It was the first reality show that I was a judge on. I had a hard time being harsh or judging people, because I know what it's like being onstage. You're going to make mistakes, but you don't want to be discouraged. You're already telling yourself how bad you messed up, you don't want somebody else pointing it out. So, you don't want to be cruel, you want to support them, but you don't want to be the Paula Abdul type and keep saying, "Oh yeah, that's great. Keep going, blah blah blah." So it was challenging to do that, but it was a lot of fun, too.
Being too nice -- that's kind of a Canadian trait.
Maybe that's why I'm so nice, because I'm Canadian! No, but that's actually one of the things I love about Canada and my family. Every time we would come up to Canada -- we were from the inner city of Boston and we had attitude and egos and everything else -- our cousins would look at us and just laugh. 'You guys are so full of yourselves.' That's what I loved about my family, that they were so down to earth and pleasant to be around. They're good, good people, the salt of the earth.
So what's next for you, after your Canadian tour of 'Unfinished' in October?
New Kids On the Block are making a new album, so we'll be in the studio and getting a tour ready for next year, and we'll definitely be in Canada, I know that. The new album will be out maybe in March. It's classic New Kids, but we always like to put a couple twists and turns in our music and make sure we have those stand-out songs that catch people by surprise.
List of dates for Jordan Knight's Live and 'Still' Unfinished tour:
October 3 Ottawa, ON Centrepointe Theatre
October 4 Toronto, ON Guvernment
October 5 Montreal, PQ Metropolis
October 13 Halifax, NS Casino Nova Scotia
October 14 Moncton, NB Capitol Theatre
October 16 Edmonton, AB Citadel Theatre
October 18 Calgary, AB MacEwan Hall
October 20 Vancouver, BC Venue Live
October 21 Victoria, BC McPherson Theatre