CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Phoenix Stone has been interested in country music since he was a kid growing up in Florida with parents who loved Hank Williams Jr., Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.
That notion kept getting put on the back burner, though.
First, Stone tried out for a Nickelodeon TV show - and got a spot in "Welcome Freshman," as well as a later guest spot in "Clarissa Explains it All."
"I had a buddy who had booked some commercials," Stone said, and when he learned how lucrative TV could be, he decided to try his hand. That worked out great, obviously.
He didn't give up on music, however, and continued to write songs and sing - he ended up being a founding member of The Backstreet Boys.
When Universal Studios got wind of his singing chops, it signed him for a record deal.
"They wanted me to make a pop record," he said, rather than a country record.
Stone knew he'd get around to his dream eventually.
And he did - he's currently touring as a country singer, making a stop this week at the Boone County Fair.
When he's not touring, he's in the studio in Nashville, recording.
"I'm finishing up an album. I have a new single going to radio in September," he said. "It's exciting."
Child actors sometimes struggle when they become adults, having been exposed to too much fame at an early age. Drug and alcohol abuse is an all-too-common story.
"You are thrust into an adult world at a young age," Stone said.
But while he was a precocious and goal-driven kid, Stone said he remained grounded.
"What really has always saved me is the fact that I'm a vocalist," he said. "You can't really abuse your body too much if you want to sing and I've always been very cognizant of that."
His parents helped.