Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean Admits Group's Success 'Doesn't Feel Real'

The Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean recently released his debut solo single, "Back Porch Bottle Service," from his upcoming solo country album. But the 40-year-old has no plans of leaving the famous group, which has sold more than 100 million albums since their self-titled freshman album came out in 1996. It's a success story no one, not even McLean, ever predicted.

"People ask me this all the time, 'Has it hit you? Do you feel different?'" McLean shares with PopCulture.com. "To be honest, 25 years later, it still doesn't feel real. We always hoped, we always dreamed, but to see how long this has gone on – it's because of music first and our camaraderie amongst the five of us and just still having fun. If you're not having fun, then you should just throw in the towel, period."

The Florida native admits he never imagined the Backstreet Boys would still be relevant, and still performing and making music so many years later, especially with the way music is recorded and released today.

"Absolutely not," McLean says of the idea. "Back in the day, your sophomore album, that was the one that, if it blew up then you're gonna be good. Now, you kind of get one shot. Music is way more rapid fire now with streaming and iTunes and downloads, Things are just way more instant. Albums are almost becoming obsolete; it's become a singles market now. So we've obviously had to shift and change with the times, but we've always managed to just stay in our lane and not try to be something we're not."

McLean is taking some of the lessons he has learned with the Backstreet Boys, and applying them to embarking on his solo career.

"That's also something that I'm trying to do with this country record is, I'm not trying to be something I'm not," McLean maintains. "I'm just trying to be me and just tell my story through my music and hope that it inspires people, and hope that it makes people feel good. Country makes you feel good; it just makes you wanna dance and smile and have fun with your buddies."

The downside to the ongoing success of the Backstreet Boys, while McLean also works on his own project, is the lack of time McLean has to spend with his wife, Rochelle, and daughters Ava and Lyric.

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(Photo: Instagram/aj_mclean)

"I don't know anything else except to entertain," McLean says. "That's what I grew up doing. I grew up in musical theater. I've been singing since I could walk and talk. I'm not gonna lie, I love the attention. I love to perform. I love to see the reaction from fans and to hopefully, in that 30 minute set or that two hour set, take people away. Whatever you're dealing with in your daily life, if you're having a crappy day at the office or whatever the case is, for that 30 minutes or that two hours, you can just let go and just have fun and forget about trouble and money and whatever else and just have fun.

"That's what I want to bring," he adds. "Look, I know I'm going to be taking on a lot, you know, trying to balance this, that, and the other but I enjoy it. I'm a bit of a workaholic."

Download "Back Porch Bottle Service" on iTunes.

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Photo Credit: Instagram/backstreetboys