AJ McLean

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For the cattleman and politician from Alberta, Canada, see Archibald J. McLean.

A.J. McLean
AJ Malibu 003.jpg
McLean in Malibu in February 2008
Alexander James McLean

(1978-01-09) January 9, 1978 (age 41)
Other names
  • Mean McLean
  • Bone Daddy
  • Johnny No Name
  • Mr. Cool
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • dancer
  • model
Years active1986–present
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Rochelle Karidis (m. 2011)
ChildrenAva Jaymes McLean (born 2012) Lyric Dean McLean (born 2017)
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass guitar
  • drums
  • piano
  • saxophone
  • violin
Associated acts
Aj mclean signature.jpg

Alexander James McLean (born January 9, 1978)[1] is an American singer, songwriter, actor, dancer, and model. He is a member of the vocal group the Backstreet Boys.

Early life[edit]

Alexander James McLean was born on January 9, 1978, in West Palm Beach, Florida, to Denise (née Fernandez, now Solis) and Bob McLean. He is of Puerto Rican and German ancestry on his mother's side and Scots-Irish and English on his father's side. He is an only child because his twin sisters died during childbirth. He was raised by his mother and grandparents (Ursula and Adolph) as his parents divorced when he was four years old.[1]


Early career[edit]

As a child, McLean had a speech impediment, which gave him a lisp and a tendency to stutter.

He discovered his love for performing and started to pursue a career in acting, dancing and singing. When he was four, McLean began to focus on his love for dance, so his mother signed him up for dance lessons every day for two hours. He took ballet for four years, jazz, tap, hip hop, rhythm tap, rhythm hip-hop, contemporary, ballroom, salsa, merengue and gymnastics. His mother then got him into modelling when he was around five for a few years, doing J.C. Penny's catalogues and runways. At age six, McLean was part of a school play, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, in which he played Dopey, at Unity of Delray Beach church and school. He also appeared in more traditional musicals such as The Nutcracker, The King and I and Fiddler on the Roof before the age of 11. By the time he was 12, he had performed in many classic school plays.

In addition to singing and acting, he was a serious dance student learning everything from jazz to ballet to hip hop.[2]

In January 1986 at 8 years old, McLean acted in his first role as Little Mike in the 1986 film Truth or Dare?.[3]

In 1990, McLean, his mother and grandparents moved to Kissimmee, Florida, to pursue his acting and singing career. He attended a private acting school, the Florida Academy of Dramatic Arts, for four years, acted in the drama club and in small plays, and modeled periodically.

In 1991 McLean landed a role on the Nickelodeon comedy series Hi Honey, I'm Home! as Skunk. However, after the pilot he was cut from the show due to being too tall.

When he was 13 years old, McLean tried out for Star Search, but never received a call back from the show. He later saw an ad in the newspaper for a Latin festival and since his grandfather has Latin roots, he decided to audition. He later learned that he had won first place and a $1,000 prize. The producer of the festival hired him to perform a 45-minute one-man show. He did a puppet show which also showcased his singing and dancing. At the Latin festival, he met a young Howie Dorough (Tony Donetti at the time) through a mutual vocal coach.[2]

In junior high, McLean won a part in Nickelodeon's series Welcome Freshmen, which began his ongoing work relationship with Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel. He also appeared on the Nickelodeon show GUTS and a Muppets commercial. It was during one of his auditions for the former that he met Howie D. and Nick Carter, lacing together the roots of the group that was to become Backstreet Boys.

In March 1992, there was an ad in the newspaper seeking for young men between the ages of 16-19 for an audition of a new music group. Despite being 14 years old, he auditioned for the group. By April 1992, McLean was officially the first member of the group that would become the Backstreet Boys. After three years at Osceola High School, he finished his final year of high school with a tutor on the road after joining the Backstreet Boys.[2]

Backstreet Boys[edit]

McLean, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell formed the pop group Backstreet Boys in 1993. The group became very successful in the late 90s-early 2000s. In 2013 they celebrated their 20th anniversary and released a new album called In a World Like This.

Solo ventures[edit]

Johnny No Name (2000)[edit]

McLean created a character, whom he named "Johnny No Name", to use as his alter ego. He uses this as his name when not performing with other members of the Backstreet Boys.[4] The character has similarities to McLean; for instance, both had single mothers, and lived with their grandparents from a young age. There are also differences – Johnny has been to prison[5] whereas McLean has not. McLean has occasionally performed in rock/metal clubs around New York as Johnny No Name. He established a foundation called the JNN Foundation to raise funds for diabetes research and other causes like keeping music programs in schools. McLean also did a nine-city tour to support VH1 Save the Music as Johnny No Name.

Originally McLean's alter ego was named Johnny Suede. This shared a name with a character played by Brad Pitt, and when the studio threatened to sue McLean, he changed the name to Johnny No Name.[6][7]

Have It All (2010)[edit]

In March 2008, McLean performed his first two solo shows (as himself) at the Anaheim House of Blues and The Roxy in Los Angeles. The show consisted of his solo material and a solo version of the Backstreet Boys hit, "Incomplete". The solo tour continued through Europe in May and June, in parallel to Backstreet Boys tour. While creating his solo project, McLean worked with the OneRepublic vocalist Ryan Tedder, producers Dan Muckala and Kristian Lundin, plus the former NSYNC member, JC Chasez. On January 20, 2010, Have It All, was released in Japan. He confirmed on the Backstreet Boys cruise in December 2010 that the US version would be released on February 8, 2011.[8]

As of June 2012, McLean was working on his second solo album. He also posted two of his new songs on Socialcam on July 23, 2012, titled "Peach" and "P.L.A.R.S."

Collaborations (2013)[edit]

On May 22, 2013, a Finnish rapper Redrama released a single, "Clouds", featuring McLean. It peaked at No. 4 in Finland.[9]

Naked (2016)[edit]

McLean was set to release his second solo album titled Naked in September 2016, however it was delayed as he announced it is still under works.[10] The lead single, "Live Together" was released on September 4, 2015, on iTunes.[11]

Upcoming third solo album (2018-2019)[edit]

On April 15, 2018, at the 53rd annual Academy of Country Music Awards, during an interview with Billboard, McLean discussed his plans to "disrupt country music" for his next solo project. He also said that after the collaboration with Florida Georgia Line's "God, Your Mama, and Me" gave him inspiration to make a country album.[12] On June 4, 2018, McLean released the single "Back Porch Bottle Service" for the upcoming album.[13] McLean continued his foray into country-pop releasing the ballad "Boy And A Man" in March 2019 as a single from an upcoming album Long Road [14]. The video is directed by René Elizondo Jr., best known for his work with Janet Jackson.

Non-music works[edit]

On July 22, 2015, McLean launched Skulleeroz Vapor, a line of liquids for use with electronic cigarettes.[15]

Television and film appearances[edit]

In 1992, McLean was a contestant in the real-life live-action game show, Nickelodeon Guts. In April 2002, McLean made a guest appearance in the second season episode of Static Shock titled "Duped".[16]

McLean also appeared and performed with the Backstreet Boys on Arthur, Sesame Street, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Saturday Night Live. In 2013 the Backstreet Boys, including McLean, made their motion picture debut by appearing in the comedy, This Is the End. In September 2018, McLean provided the voice of the golden mole Kuchimba on an episode of Disney's The Lion Guard.

Personal life[edit]

McLean suffered from drug and alcohol addiction. He went to rehab in 2001 (and again in 2002) following an intervention by bandmate Kevin Richardson. During an interview with New Zealand radio station ZM, McLean described addiction as the hardest thing he has ever had to go through, stating it is something he battles with every day.[17] He checked into rehab for the third time on January 10, 2011, citing "personal reasons".[18] In preparation for the NKOTB and Backstreet Boys tour, McLean said, "I want to be healthy and perform and sing for people at my very best and happiest." His time in rehab did not affect the tour.[19]

McLean married Rochelle Deanna Karidis (b.1981), a makeup/hair stylist, whom he credits for helping him overcome his addiction, on December 17, 2011, in Beverly Hills, California.[20][21] The rest of the Backstreet Boys, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, and Kevin Richardson were in attendance.[22] On November 27, 2012, the couple welcomed their first child,[23] a daughter named Ava Jaymes.[24][25] On September 5, 2016, McLean announced on Instagram that his wife was pregnant with their second child, another girl.[26][27] On March 19, 2017, the couple's second child, whom they named Lyric Dean, was born in Los Angeles.[28]



Year Title Peak positions
Have It All 31
Long Road
  • Released:
  • Label:
  • Formats:



Year Single Peak chart positions Album
2010 "Teenage Wildlife" Have It All
2015 "Live Together" N/A
2018 "Back Porch Bottle Service" Long Road
2018 "Night Visions"
2019 "Boy And A Man"


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
2013 "Clouds"
(Redrama and AJ McLean)
4 Reflection (Redrama Album)


TV series and films
Year Film Role Notes
1986 Truth or Dare? Little Mike
1991 Hi Honey, I'm Home! Skunk
1990 Welcome Freshmen
1992 Nickelodeon Guts Himself Known as AJ "Mean" McLean
1998 Sabrina the Teenage Witch Himself Episode: "Battle of the Bands"
1998–1999 Saturday Night Live Himself and musical guest "Julianne Moore/Backstreet Boys" (Season 23: episode 16)
"Sarah Michelle Gellar/Backstreet Boys" (Season 24: episode 19)
2002 Static Shock Himself Episode "Duped" guest voice
2002 Arthur Himself Episode: "Arthur, It's Only Rock and Roll" guest voice
2002 Sesame Street Himself
2005 The Ellen DeGeneres Show Himself Musical Guest with the Backstreet Boys
2012 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Himself Musical Guest with the Backstreet Boys
2013 This Is the End Himself With the Backstreet Boys, performing "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"
2014 I Heart Nick Carter Himself minor
2018 The Lion Guard Kuchimba (voice) Episode: "The Underground Adventure"

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Netter, Matt (January 1999). Backstreet Boys * Aaron Carter. New York: Pocket Books. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-0-671-03539-6.
  2. ^ a b c McLean, Denise I. Backstreet Mom: A Mother's Tale of Backstreet Boy AJ McLean's Rise to Fame, Struggle with Addiction, and Ultimate Tr. BenBella Books, Inc. ISBN 9781935251439.
  3. ^ "Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness (1986)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  4. ^ "A.J. McLean talks about "Johnny No Name"". Canoe.ca. March 29, 2000. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  5. ^ [1] Archived February 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "A Boy Out on His Own". LA Times. March 29, 2000. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  7. ^ "Transcript of A.J. McLean – Yahoo! Chat". March 22, 2000. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  8. ^ "NKOTBSB Song preview and song from 'Have It All', "Mr. A"". Youtube. December 14, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  9. ^ "Redrama feat. AJ McLean – Clouds". finnishcharts.com. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  10. ^ Carter, Brooke (2016-11-24). "What Happened to A.J. McLean - News & Updates - Gazette Review". Gazette Review. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
  11. ^ "Live Together (feat. Jordan James) – Single by AJ McLean". iTunes. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  12. ^ "A.J. McLean Tells the ACM Awards: 'I'm Coming In to Disrupt Country Music'". Billboard. April 16, 2018. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  13. ^ "AJ McLean Goes Country With Upbeat New Song 'Back Porch Bottle Service': Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  14. ^ "Backstreet Boy AJ McLean's 'Boy and a Man' Will Introduce His First Country Album". TasteOfCountry.com. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  15. ^ "Welcome! Two New Flavors Launched – Skulleeroz". Skulleerozvapor.com. 2015-07-22. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  16. ^ ""Static Shock" Duped (2002)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  17. ^ "Interview with Polly Gillespie on ZM". Archived from the original on December 22, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  18. ^ "Backstreet Boys' A.J. McLean Back In Rehab". MTV. 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  19. ^ Garvey, Marianne; Baker, Ken (January 13, 2011). "A.J. McLean Returns to Rehab—Will It Interfere With Backstreet-New Kids Tour?". E! Online. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  20. ^ "A.J. McLean and Rochelle Deanna Karidis to Marry", AOL Music, September 7, 2011
  21. ^ "Celebrity Wedding Planner Mindy Weiss on Who's Tying the Knot Next!" Archived September 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, OK! Magazine, October 18, 2011
  22. ^ "A.J. Mclean And Rochelle Deanna Karidis To Have 'Craziest' Celebrity Wedding Ever", Radar Online, September 7, 2011
  23. ^ "AJ & Rochelle Have Some News!". Retrieved July 4, 2012.. YouTube. Retrieved on July 4, 2012.
  24. ^ Corneau, Allison (July 4, 2012). "Backstreet Boy AJ McLean's First Baby Will Be a Girl!". Us Weekly. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  25. ^ "Rep Confirms: Backstreet Boys Singer AJ McLean Welcomes Baby Girl Ava!". In Touch Weekly. November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  26. ^ Mizoguchi, Karen (September 5, 2016). "Second Child on the Way for Backstreet Boys' A.J. McLean". People. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  27. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: A.J. McLean Reveals the Sex of Baby No. 2!". Entertainment Tonight.
  28. ^ Juneau, Jen (20 March 2017). "A.J. McLean Welcomes Daughter Lyric Dean". People. Retrieved 20 March 2017.

External links[edit]