If 'N Sync ever wins a Grammy Award, you can bet Joey will be the one to take so long thanking every person he's ever met that his band mates will have to drag him offstage. This is not just because he is the most talkative member of the group, but also because he is probably the most gracious. In fact, "thank you" is probably the phrase Joey utters the most. In 'N Sync's European debut CD's liner notes, Joey thanks just about everybody he can think of, including family, friends, band mates, record industry people, the fans and media, and then adds, "To all of the above and the people I did not mention, I love you and all the thanks in the world!"
Joey brings so much to 'N Sync that it's hard to imagine the quintet without him. His dancing and singing talents, optimism, sense of humor, and boundless ambition are all invaluable to the group. Joey grew up with music in his veins nut still had to come a long way, from New York to Florida and from high school to superstardom, in a very short period of time. Here's how it all began.
Brooklyn Boy Makes Good
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Joseph Anthony Fatone, Je., was the product of a typical Catholic, Italian-American upbringing, replete with a large but close-knit extended family and an emphasis on religion, morals, and good home cooking. When Joey, Sr., and Phyllis Fatone gave birth to Joey, Jr., on January 28, 1977, he was the third child in the family, joining older siblings Janine, now twenty-seven, and Steven, now twenty-five.
Throughout his childhood, Joey was surrounded by tons of people who cared about him. Perhaps that helps explain why he's such a nice guy. Joey played with neighborhood kids after school, enjoyed dinners with his family, and went to church on Sunday. Holidays were a big deal in the Fatone family, especially Christmas, when his enormous extended family would get together. Justin had said that Joey has so many aunts, uncles and cousins that his phone never stops ringing. "He's Italian and he has family," Justin explained during an interview with 16 magazine, before doing his best imitation of Joey's New York accent.
Music always played a part in Joey's life. "My parents listened to alot of older '50s music and that's what first influenced me," Joe recalled in All-Stars magazine. 'My sister and I were always singing around the house and being loud." Joey's initial inspiration came from his father. "He used to sing in a group called the Orions. They weren't famous, but they were great. They had records and stuff and every time they played, I would be singing and stuff like that behind my dad."
Before Joey could begin high school, his family decided to move to Florida. "Growing up, every time there was a vacation, we'd come down to Florida," Joey explained in Teen Beat magazine. "When a certain neighborhood and the area was getting a little bit bad my family wanted to move to FLorida. It's sunny all the time and nice. The houses were a little bit cheaper and there was actually more space. Orlando's always developing. We moved about six or seven years ago."
Joey attended high school in the Orlando area, where he made new friends and developed an interest in dancing. "In high school when I tried to do musicals, that's when I pretty much got involved with dancing," Joey recalled in Superteen magazine. "I took a little bit of jazz, a little ballet, I tried to do tap but..."
High school offered quite a bit to Joey. In fact, while he was there, not only did he learn how to dance, but he took up acting. According to his record company bio, Joey appeared in small roles in the movies Omce Upon a Time in America and Matinee as well as on the TV series SeaQuest. Toward the end of high school Joey joined an a capella singing group and began honing his singing voice, and all of a sudden it was time to grow up.
"My best moment was graduating high school," Joey fondly recalled in Tiger Beat magazine. "It was great. It was sad, but it was happy because everybody that I grew up with over the four years was going off to college and everything to start a career, and this is what we started and I've been happy ever since."
Uprooted, Upbeat, Unstoppable
"My parents have been very supportive of me," Joey told Teen Beat magazine. "They think it's wonderful. They've backed us up from the very beginning and I love them for it and thank them." Upon graduation, Joey took a job at a nearby theme park and met some important people. "I've known JC ever since I moved here. I used to go to high school with some of the people who were on The Mickey Mouse Club and he was on it too. Then I met Chris from working at Universal Studios."
"At Universal I did a show called The Beetlejuice Graveyard Review and I played characters like the Wolfman and Dracula," Joey explained in a 16 magazine interview, but was sure not to belittle the experience. "We did entertainment. As far as that goes, entertainment is entertainment. It's always performing on stage or performing in front of an audience, and that's what we're doing and that's what we love doing. That was our jobs then, and it's our jobs now."
"I feel most comfortable on stage or in front of the camera," Joey said in 16 magazine. "No matter what I do, I go at it full-tilt and can't be stopped." This attitude went a long way toward Joey's current gig as a member of 'N Sync. Only now, performing in front of thousands at soldout arenas is a bit different from putting on a show for hundreds at a theme park. "A lot more people know you," he explained in Teen Machine magazine. "Instead of saying you were this on this stage, now you are Joey. It's you up there."
A number of magazines have asked each of the 'N Sync guys what they think is the best thing about being in the band. Typically, Joey has two answers. He told one American magazine, "Definitely the travel. I love visiting different places." His answer for one British magazine was that his mission was to "Go up onstage and turn around the world!"
Now, Joey's career is moving at the speed of light and he and his band mates are constantly a center of attention. "It's all happening so quickly. It still hasn't hit us yet," he remarked in All-Stars magazine. After all, one minute he's Joey from Brooklyn, the next he's Joey from 'N Sync. "It is pretty flattering, actually when pople say, 'Oh, you're that person in 'N Sync. I know who you are,'" he told Bop magazine.
But Joey won't let it go to his head. "We're still normal guys. It's always fun being recognized and everything which is wonderful, but we're just normal guys. We keep each other in check, and make sure our feet are always on the ground. What you see is what you get."
Joey takes the bad with the good and has learned to deal with things like getting homesick. "When you're on the road you're so busy you don't get time to think about it," he told 16 magazine. "You just get on with it."
"Joey definitely talks the most," Chris told TV Hits magazine. "Once he starts, he just goes rambling on and he doesn't stop for breath. It all ends up being one huge, long sentence, like this, and you find yourself trying to breathe for him!" He may be a bit of a chatterbox, but Joey has some righteous things to say.
"Joey's a very optimistic person," Justin explained. "Whenever things aren't going good, he'll really try his hardest to make them better."
"I cheer the guys up when they get down," Joey told one European magazine. He's really happy with his life and career and it shows. He just hopes that some of his optimism will rub off on the others. "I'm outgoing and try to make people laugh," Joey told Live & Kicking magazine.
So, what kinds of things does Joey like? "I love Superman memorabilia and collect the T-shirts, jewelry-anything and everything," he told Superteen magazine. "I also love dancing and going to clubs. I like sports, but aside from skating I'm useless at sports." Joey also loves going to the movies and dancing at clubs. "Sometimes me and Chris want to go out and party all night," Joey confessed in TV Hits magazine.
Joey also has a bit of a hankering for funky clothes. "He does have a style, but it's out there," Chris explained in Superstars magazine. "He's got crazy stuff! He's got one coat that looks like he killed Chewbacca and one red suit that makes him look like Elmo. And his jeans are humongous!"
"I've got one pair with fiber optics down the side and they light up," Joey added. "And I like to wear tight Superman shirts."
Joey also digs Italian food, R&B music, watching South Park, and almost anything that's purple. There's oly one thing for sure he doesn't like. As he's told more than one reporter, "The thing that I hate most of all is fake people."