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    'AJ McLean attempts to fly solo'

    Gianna S.
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    'AJ McLean attempts to fly solo'

    Post by Gianna S. on Mon 19 May 2008, 10:27 pm


    AJ McLean attempts to fly solo

    By Sarah Bull

    May 19, 2008 07:42am

    Solo career ... AJ McLean from The Backstreet Boys / AP

    AJ McLean is most famous for being the "bad boy" of hit 90s boyband The
    Backstreet Boys but, with his upcoming solo album, he is attempting to
    forge a successful solo career.

    The 30-year-old singer - who is partly responsible for the band's hit tracks including (Everybody) Backstreet's Back and As Long as You Love Me - insists he isn't worried about stepping away from the sound which led to his fame.
    "We're calling it a rock, funk and soul vibe. The vocals are pop
    and R 'n'B-ish and there's even a kind of country twang going on," he
    said. "It's eclectic. I think people will be a little shocked by some
    songs, which is absolutely fine by me. They'll be thinking, 'That is
    what I hoped he was going to do'."
    However, AJ is arguably more famous for his personal life as for his professional career.
    He went to rehab in 2001 to seek help for his alcohol and cocaine
    addiction after his bandmates Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, Brian
    Littrell and Howie Dorough intervened when they became concerned about
    his erratic behaviour.

    Now tee-total, AJ insists the experience sobered him in more ways
    than one, and also led to him writing a book with his mother Denise
    entitled Backstreet Mom.
    He also said he has some advice for other troubled celebrities including Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears.
    "I'm coming up on six years sober," he said. "I just want to sit down with Britney and pick her brain.
    "I want to be just someone who can tell her straight. I'll say,
    'Hey, do you want to die? Is that what you want?' If that is what she
    really wanted, she would have done it already. I know that is not what
    she wants."
    Instead of turning his back on The Backstreet Boys, AJ insists he
    will never leave his bandmates behind, and is currently undergoing his
    solo tour in conjunction with the boys' Unbreakable World Tour 2008.
    A.J also revealed the boys have been incredibly supportive of his solo venture.
    "We're all really supportive of each other's projects outside of
    the group, whether it be singing, acting, producing or whatever," he
    said. "The one thing we've always told each other is that we'll never
    hold each other back. If anyone's got any dreams or aspirations to go
    do something on their own, that's cool as long as they can co-exist
    with the group."
    While the boys' comeback tour has not been as successful as their
    previous ones, it is clear they still have some devoted fans. Lacking
    former member Kevin Richardson, the boys' most recent album Unbreakable was well received by critics and fans alike.
    However, it seems that AJ's solo career could take him beyond the
    realms of boybandom to forge a career as a thoroughly successful solo
    With pop tracks and heart-wrenching soulful tracks on the
    as-yet-untitled album, AJ is set to prove he has what it takes to
    succeed in an industry which enjoys victimising boyband 'has-beens'.
    BANG Showbiz spoke to the musician on the day after The Backstreet
    Boys' performance at London's O2 arena, on the night of his solo
    performance at the IndigO2 - a more intimate concert venue inside the
    Q: How was the show with The Backstreet Boys at London's O2 arena last night?
    A: The show was amazing - it went off without a hitch. We added a lot
    of new s**t yesterday - pyro and stuff so it was like because we were
    doing it for this big webcast for MSN and we are probably going to make
    it into a DVD as well - we wanted to add a little flair to the show
    that wasn't normally there. It went off without a hitch - nobody blew
    up, nobody caught fire! It was really good. There's been moments when
    that's happened.
    Q: Why did you decided to go solo now?
    A: I'm
    ready. A lot of people ask me, 'Why didn't you do it at the height of
    the Backstreet Boys fame?' But I wasn't ready then. I'm really glad I
    didn't do it then because I was just getting into my drinking and
    drugging and I would have probably destroyed my solo career. I mean, I
    probably would have been in the press an awful lot but it wouldn't have
    been positive and I want it to be positive and I want it to be right. I
    also like to think I would have learned as much as I did to write
    about. I wanted to be so honest with this record. I'm so psyched - I'm
    ready for this. I'm scared - I won't lie. It's kind of surreal and a
    little nerve-wracking because you are going to be up there on your own
    and you turn around a look behind you and there is nobody there - it's
    all you!
    Q: Have you taken it in a specifically different direction that the material you wrote with the Backstreet Boys?
    A: Yes, it is definitely a different direction. There are some songs
    that could be a Backstreet Boys record but then when you hear the
    lyrical content you go, 'OK, maybe not!' But the melodies and the
    harmonies - they have that feel to them. For the most part the sound is
    completely different. It's more rock, funk and soul with a pop feel.
    But it's me tapping into the start of where I really want to go. I
    couldn't go where I wanted to go on my first record because I think it
    would have taken people much too much by surprise. But for my second
    record, if this one does really well, I'll do the kind of record I want
    to do which is straight up funk - anything from Creedence Clearwater
    Revival to Jimi Hendrix - straight up rock funk.
    Q: Normally, the album precedes a tour, but you've done it the other way around. Why?
    A: I think just because we have talked about when we are going to make
    another record. We have talked about the sound that we are trying to go
    for on this next Backstreet Boys record. I think it's just the timing -
    it just happens to be what is best for me. We are going to wrap up this
    whole tour in September and then I am going to continue doing shows
    like this right up until the single release and then do a proper solo
    tour next year. But it just seems to be the right time.
    Q: Have you found your solo music has had a different reception with American and European audiences?
    A: I don't know. I've done two US shows, at the House of Blues and at
    the Roxy, and they seemed to love it. There was a lot of European fans
    there but there was a lot of American fans there too, and everyone
    seems to really love it. They get it - they see that it's me and that's
    what I want them to see. And also they take something from it because
    it's more real music as far as directly what I'm talking about. It's
    more relatable and it's just people - guys and girls. There were guys
    at my show, there were guys rocking out - I think it's OK to like
    Backstreet Boys if you are a guy now and even more so, it is OK to like
    just good music! It doesn't matter who is doing it - a guy or a girl. I
    spent probably about four years making this record. It started in one
    direction, and then I went in another direction, and then in another
    direction again. Everything just kind of fell into place.
    Q: What do the other boys think of it - are they supportive of you?
    A: They love it - they are in full support. They love the record and
    they think it's going to do really, really well. After I cut a couple
    of songs I bounced it off a couple of the guys and said, 'Hey, check
    this new one out, what do you think?' They all have two particular
    songs across the board which are their favourites which are London and I Hate It When You're Gone.
    They are going to be there tonight to watch the show. They haven't seen
    the show yet so they don't really know what they are in for. It's a
    little different than a Backstreet Boys show.
    Q: You started as an actor in the very beginning - have you got any plans to go back to that?
    A: I would love to. I mean, obviously I want to put the cart before the
    horse, but I definitely want to get back into doing my musical theatre,
    and I actually want to get a flat here in London next year. I love
    London and I want to move here. I want to move down to the West End, to
    really be near the theatre district, and I definitely want to get back
    into acting again - I do. It's something that I would really love to
    do. I don't know how many parts I can get with all my tattoos though! I
    don't want to be stereotyped as the prison guy or the bad guy.
    Q: What do you think about Britney Spears starring on How I Met Your Mother?
    A: I think her performance on the show will do well. I think as long as
    she can just keep her feet on the ground and just find herself again.
    She is a little lost but I know she can do it, I believe in her. I
    believe in anybody who wants to do something for themselves.
    Q: Nick found a lot of fame in the US because of his reality show, House of Carters - would you ever consider doing a reality show?
    A: I'm not a big fan of reality television. I can openly admit and
    accept that TV is becoming a great bit outlet with people nowadays, but
    the layout of a group like us - we have been doing what we've done for
    the past 15 years without it - we don't need it. We don't need to
    conform to doing a reality TV show. There is really not much to us to
    watch the four of us do a reality show - it would be kind of boring.
    There's not drama, there's not fighting and bickering - there's nothing
    to watch. It would have to be made up. I do like stuff like A Hard Day's Night
    that are more like a true documentary, or something like that that
    shows who you are there - real - it shows everything. That to me is
    more credible and more respectful. But I don't know - reality
    television is the big thing right now. I think Nick learnt a lot about
    himself through his. He was kind of 50/50 doing it - part of it he
    hated, and part of it, he learned about himself. I don't think he would
    ever do it again, but who knows?!
    Q: You said the Backstreet Boys' show last night was
    broadcast on MSN and you have found a lot of success with your solo
    material through YouTube. How much of an impact do you think the
    internet is having on the music industry?

    A: It's huge. I
    mean, you ask anybody who is an artist and more than likely in the next
    five years there's not going to be any more record companies - period.
    There will be one big huge one that has every artist and iTunes and
    YouTube and the internet is going to run through that. Or you get
    artists who become their own record companies. There are people now who
    are just doing distribution deals with people - they are their record
    company. And that is what every artist has ever wanted when you really
    think about it - to have complete and utter creative control and all
    you really need is a great publicist, a great distribution company and
    a great marketing plan. The rest is you just doing what you love to do.
    You don't need a record company nowadays anymore. And record companies
    are becoming obsolete - there's nothing for them to do. But the
    internet - especially sites like YouTube and MySpace - is huge. MySpace
    now is going back to what it was originally meant for, which was for
    new artists in the music industry to promote themselves. You look at
    people like Ryan Tedder from One Republic - they were one of the
    biggest MySpace bands in the world and now look at them! They are doing
    quite well for themselves! But YouTube has been really great for me
    with my solo stuff because now I think a lot of fans will know a lot
    more of the words.


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