02/06/2013 06:58 am ET Updated Apr 08, 2013

Lance Bass Loves Laurel, Mississippi

Lance Bass is a singer, actor and producer best known for being the bass singer in 'N Sync. After his boy band days, Bass starred in and produced the film On The Line. His autobiography, Out of Sync, which detailed his rise to stardom and discussed his homosexuality, was released in 2007. In the meantime, Bass had found time to move to Star City, Russia, where he trained as an astronaut in an attempt to travel to the International Space Station. The mission was, rather unfortunately, scrapped. Bass has supported causes close to his heart, including special needs education, animal rights and gay rights, through various philanthropical endeavors. He currently hosts a daily radio show, Dirty Pop with Lance Bass, on Sirius XM 108 and weekends on Sirius XM 109.

Dear Laurel,

You exert a gravitational pull on my family. Bass Studio, my Granny and Granddaddy's photography business, was and is our geographical center, a place full of fond memories peopled by relatives and friendly locals.

With family spread over the neighboring towns of Laurel and Ellisville, the Basses always gathered at the Studio. On any given day, at least one of us could be helping out in the dark room. We spent hours upon hours in there. Spending the day with Granddaddy was considered a treat.

The man was a local celebrity.

Jimmy Bass took pictures of everyone on their first birthday, during their high school graduation and as they walked down the aisle. Because he was always around -- taking school or maybe team pictures-- there was not a person in town that didn't know his name. We jokingly called him the "Mayor."

Growing up in a town best known for giving the world Tom Lester from Green Acres, Hollywood and its bright lights were not exactly on the horizon. Tinseltown was when the main street sparkled during the annual Christmas parade. Every year we would stop by the Studio on our way to the parade, but not before picking up some delicious glazed sugar cookies from M&M Bake Shop to munch on while we watched. It was the highlight of the year when Santa came through downtown Laurel on his float.

The people of Laurel were more than neighbors and friends, something closer to family. We spent Friday nights at the Phillips Drive Inn devouring the best burgers in the world before attending football games "between the bricks." It was a small town with very little to do so we spent our time together.

Everyone looked out for one another and pitched in when needed. We were a community where no one locked their doors and where everyone was excited for the annual "Day in the Park."

I live thousands of miles away now, but you I know that your people shaped my life. I go back often to see my family and to see you.

Bass Studio is now closed -- Uncle Tim keeps the family tradition alive with his photography business -- and there is no M&M Bake Shop. Granddaddy volunteers at the Veterans Memorial Museum. Like you, they have changed or evolved. Like you, they pull me back.

I know I'm home when I'm just Lance Bass, Jimmy's grandson.