Maybe “disrupt” wasn’t the precise word that AJ McLean meant to use. When the self-
proclaimed “bad boy” of the Backstreet Boys walked the red carpet at this year’s ACM Awards,
he told Billboard magazine, “I am coming in, but I’m coming in to disrupt country. I wanna come
in and shake things up.”
But when AJ sat with One Country, he addressed the comment that might have ruffled a few
feathers in Music City.
“Basically, what I meant and what I feel is that I want to come in and tell my story. I want to
come in and not try to be something I’m not. Everything has happened organically, and
everything is just falling into place. I’m a huge fan of good music, and country music tells stories.
I want to tell my story.”
AJ went on to explain, “I’ve always been the kind of guy to shake things up, the bad boy of the
Backstreet Boys, the rebel if you want to call me that, and I’m the biggest pushover, teddy bear
in the entire world, but I got labeled that because I had some tattoos. But I think that’s moreso
what I meant. I’m going to come in, kind of how FGL became the black sheep. They just stood
their course, and they changed country in so many ways.”
After touring with Florida Georgia Line and scoring a number-one single with the duo (“God,
Your Mama, and Me”), a fire was lit in AJ. He said he was inspired to “take that leap. Take that
leap of faith and just do good music.”
It sounds like he’s well on his way. AJ has tapped into Nashville’s rich songwriting community,
working with writers like Brett Tyler and Clint Lagerberg, and has come up with a collection of
songs that do tell his story, but in an authentic way.
And it looks like fans are loving it. His debut single, “Back Porch Bottle Service,” climbed into
iTunes Top 20 country singles after a day. Then, during an intimate performance in Nashville,
the response was so enthusiastic, AJ became emotional, fighting back tears as he thanked
everyone for their support.
AJ is presently an unsigned, independent artist, but fans will be able to find his music on
streaming services and at digital music providers.