98 Degrees is an American pop and R&B vocal group consisting of four vocalists: the group's founding member Jeff Timmons, brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, and Justin Jeffre. The group was formed by Timmons in Los Angeles, California, although all of its members originate from Ohio.
Unlike most boy bands, they formed independently and were later picked up by a record label, rather than being assembled by a label or a producer. They have sold over 10 million records worldwide and achieved eight top 40 singles in the U.S. In the late 90s to the early 00s, the group reached top-five on the Billboard Hot 100 with the songs "Give Me Just One Night ", "Because of You", "The Hardest Thing" and "Thank God I Found You" ; the latter as featured artists, topping the chart also making it the their first and only number-one song.
The group reunited for a one-time performance at Mixtape Festival in Hershey, PA in August 2012. After the performance, the reunion expanded into a new album and a spot on "The Package" tour in 2013.
The founding members of 98 Degrees met after Massillon, Ohio native Jeff Timmons decided to quit college and pursue a music career with best friend Jeremy Volk. He studied psychology at Kent State University in his home state of Ohio, and planned on a career playing football in the NFL. In 1995 he sang at a college party with three friends and received a positive reaction from the female audience about his voice. The following day he left college and headed out to Los Angeles, California. "It was a pretty hasty decision, looking back, but I was young and dumb. Sometimes ignorance is bliss," he said in 2004. He met a former student of the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts who passed his name on to another graduate, Nick Lachey, who was attending Miami University to study sports medicine. Lachey flew to Los Angeles and, after hitting it off, decided to form a boyband. Lachey suggested inviting one of his friends, Justin Jeffre, to join them. Jeffre, a history student at University of Cincinnati, had attended SCPA with Lachey and they had performed together before in various outfits such as a barbershop quartet at the amusement park Kings Island and a cover band. The final member to join the band was Lachey's younger brother Drew, who was working in New York City as an emergency medical technician, as a replacement for founding member Jonathan Lippman.
After rejecting a series of names , upon the suggestion by their manager Paris D'Jon, they decided on "98 Degrees" describing body temperature and their music.
Taking a series of jobs including landscaping, working as club security officers and delivering take-out food, the band refined its harmonies and presentation, looking to groups such as Boyz II Men, Take 5, and Jodeci for inspiration. The new group also made the rounds of auditions in Los Angeles and gradually built up its contacts in the music industry. The group's wait for a manager and a recording contract did not take long, as they seized an opportunity to perform during a radio broadcast of a Boyz II Men concert, which they attended in the hope of passing a demo tape to the band. They were discovered by music manager Paris D'Jon, who was co-managing Montell Jordan at the time.
Just before the group signed their deal founding member Jonathan Lippman departed the group due to his religious beliefs, he later went on to form CCM group True Vibe.
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