AJ McLean has spent almost 30 years as part of the Backstreet Boys, but his musical aspirations extend far beyond the former boy band. The Florida native has also been drawn to other styles of music, including country, which is why he began working on his own country record more than a year ago, and now reveals it is getting closer to completion.
"I am about four or five songs away from finishing my debut country solo record, which will be out next year," McLean told PopCulture.com. "Took me about two and a half, almost three years, to finish it, obviously because I've been on tour with Backstreet Boys. You know, that whole side thing.
"But I've spent so much time here in Nashville that I literally, I would move here tomorrow," he continued. "I love it here. I love the people, I love the culture, I love the entire scene. And I've made so many brand-new friends in the country world and I just cannot wait for the world to hear this new album."
McLean knows some fans might be surprised to see him delve into an entirely different genre of music, but McLean insists it isn't that much of a stretch.
"Obviously we've had songs over the course of our career that could have technically been a country song," McLean noted. "'Drowning,' 'Helpless When She Smiles,"'but our kind of breakout country anything was with us and FGL with 'God, Your Mama, and Me.' And after that was when I was approached by people here locally asking if I would ever consider doing this whole solo country thing. And I said, 'I'll give it a shot.' And I'm now telling myself, 'Why have I not been doing this the entire time? It just feels like home."
The father of two knows he could have just dropped a few songs, instead of working on an entire album, but he wasn't willing to pursue country music unless he could do it on his own terms.
"I just wanted to make a real record," McLean maintained. "I want to be able to tell my story and share great songs, and songs that are both relatable but also fun, and songs that represent who I am as a individual. So, hopefully when the world hears the entire album, they're gonna be blown away, 'cause there's some pretty ridiculously amazing songs. I cannot wait."
Of course, McLean wants commercial success, but he admits the idea of having a song on the charts at country radio isn't at the top of his list of priorities.0comments
"You know what? I'm doing it for myself as well as for fans of all types of music," said the singer. "And, you know, if it works, great. If it doesn't, I'll just keep on trucking along. I'm a fan of all music and I just wanna make a great record that anyone and everyone can listen to and thoroughly enjoy. That's all I want to do."
Photo Credit: Getty / images/Kevin Kane