Gone Country: AJ McLean Like You’ve Never Heard Him Before

Photo Source: Crowdsurf

One thing I love about being a Backstreet Boy fan — these guys never stop delivering for their fans. This time in particular, AJ McLean is gifting us all with the magic of a country album. You must listen to his brand new single, “Boy and a Man.”

In an interview with People, AJ said “‘Boy and a Man’ is that growing up story about finding that one true love even when you’re super young and never wanting to let that person go and really just hanging out for the long haul,” he added. “I wish that I would’ve met [my wife] Rochelle back when we were kids, but that’s not what destiny had set out. It’s a beautiful love song. It has such a great message.”

AJ was always considered the “bad boy” of the group, but now he says everything has come full circle. He’s a family man with a beautiful wife and two adorable daughters, Ava and Lyric. I mean clearly this former “bad boy” has a soft spot these days.

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My version of no strings attached

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It wasn’t until the Backstreet Boys collaborated with Florida Georgia Line for “God, Your Mama, and Me” before AJ realized country was something he wanted to explore during this chapter of his life. Here are the boys performing a mashup at the ACM Awards in 2017 and its just fangirl gold. Even Tim McGraw agrees at 5:57.

I’m not at all surprised to say that country sound beautifully suits AJ’s voice. There has always been something so special to me about its incredible versatility. His voice is soothing enough to complement any ballad, like “I’ll Never Break Your Heart” or edgy enough for angsty songs like “The Call” or “Get Another Boyfriend.”

Disclaimer: AJ was sick this night but still sounded perfect to me!

True Backstreet fans will remember that this isn’t the first time AJ had a solo song. Over two decades ago, he released “Lay Down Beside Me” which I was DEFINITELY too young to listen to at the time. Hey, I had to learn about the birds and the bees somehow! AJ even admits to getting a little embarrassed when performing it. Hear him tell the story of the song in this clip from 2016. My favorite part is watching Howie roll his eyes at 5:30. 

But much more recently, AJ dabbled in country with “Night Visions” which came out last fall. I’m absolutely obsessed with this song and the storyline in the video. This is deep, folks. Watch it now!

I gotta tell ya, if I thought any of the Backstreet Boys were to release country music, I would’ve guessed Kevin or Brian who are both from Kentucky. But I feel so lucky to be a fan of artists like AJ and the Backstreet Boys who continue to make music, diversify their sound, and perform for their adoring audiences.

Shout out to producer Zaya for helping with these masterpieces! I’ll be playing these songs on repeat forever.

Congrats and thank you, AJ! I love you and your new music. See you in Nashville?!

P.S. come back to Delray Beach soon xoxo

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