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
Born
Alexander James McLean

(1978-01-09) January 9, 1978 (age 41)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
NationalityAmerican
Other names
  • Mean McLean
  • Bone Daddy
  • Johnny No Name
  • Mr. Cool
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • dancer
  • model
Years active1986–present
Height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Spouse(s)
Rochelle Karidis (m. 2011)
ChildrenAva Jaymes McLean (born 2012) Lyric Dean McLean (born 2017)
Musical career
Genres
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass guitar
  • drums
  • piano
  • saxophone
  • violin
Labels
Associated acts
Websiteajmclean.com
Signature
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. McLean is also a contributor for the It Gets Better Project.

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 two years old.[2]

Career[edit]

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.[3]

In January 1986 at 8 years old, McLean acted in his first role as Little Mike in the 1986 film Truth or Dare?.[4]

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 14 year old Howie Dorough (Tony Donetti at the time) through a mutual vocal coach.[3]

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 through correspondence courses with a tutor on the road after joining the Backstreet Boys.[3]

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.[5] 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[6] 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. It was said that he would release a solo album as Johnny No Name but it never happened.

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.[7][8]

Have It All (2010)[edit]

It was not until March 2008 when McLean finally started to perform 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. But his solo album Have It All would not be released until January 20, 2010. At the time the album was only released in Japan. It was said on the Backstreet Boys cruise in December 2010 that the US version would be released on February 8, 2011, but since then has not been released. [9] 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. AJ's album was a mix of pop, rock and some r&b. The first and only single from the album “Teenage Wildlife” was a song co-written by former N Sync member JC Chasez. The album featured 10 songs co-written by AJ himself including a personal song about his father “Sincerely Yours”. In 2011 AJ had said he would release the album in 2012 in the US and it would feature songs from his first solo album but eventually scrapped the idea.

As of June 2012, McLean was working on his second solo album that will now feature all new music. He also posted two of his new songs on Socialcam on July 23, 2012, titled "Peach" and "P.L.A.R.S." The album would be released in 2012 but has since been pushed back.

Around early 2015, AJ has said he was working on his solo album with Jordan Omley who has worked on several Backstreet Boys songs from their albums This Is Us and In A World Like This. The first single “Live Together” is also the name of a foundation both AJ and Jordan Omley started where they will raise money for anyone who needed help. They filmed the music video for “Live Together” on March 7, 2015. Fans could take part of the music videos by donating to the charity. The money raised would be used to help Marshall Fundamental School in Pasadena, CA who had their music instruments stolen. The money raised also helped to renovate the band room. AJ along with singer Becky G, Jordan Omley, and Blake Lewis visited and some even performed at the school. The single “Live Together” premiered on People.com May 12, 2015. The video was released on October 5, 2015. Meanwhile, his albums had a few delays. AJ has recorded newer tracks for the album which was part of the delay. Along with the Backstreet Boys preparation and promotion of their Las Vegas residency for March, April, June and July 2017.

Collaborations (2013)[edit]

On May 22, 2013, a Finnish rapper Redrama released a single, "Clouds", featuring McLean. It peaked at No. 4 in Finland.[10]

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.[11] The lead single, "Live Together" was released on September 4, 2015, on iTunes.[12]

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.[13] On June 4, 2018, McLean released the single "Back Porch Bottle Service" for the upcoming album.[14] 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.[15] 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.[16]

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".[17]

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. In 2016 McLean appeared in Nick Carter's music video for 19 in 99 as a pizza delivery man.

Personal life[edit]

In the height of the Backstreet Boys career, McLean suffered from drug and alcohol addiction. He stated the first time he did cocaine was on the set of the video for “The Call” in 2000. It was not until during the US summer tour for their album Black & Blue in 2001 when they knew something was wrong. The other guys were worried about AJ in June while in Orlando, FL and had approached him. But it would not be until July while the group was in Boston to do five sold-out shows when the problem finally hit AJ. following an intervention by bandmate Kevin Richardson who busted his hotel door open and confronted AJ on his problems. The night before AJ had partied late and did not want to wake up to attend a Boston Little League game they were going to pitch at. AJ was furious and wanted to quit the band. Later that morning, he broke into tears and knew he was out of control. Within hours, he was arranging a flight to head into rehab for depression, anxiety and excessive consumption of alcohol. On July 9, 2001 a press released had been sent out in the afternoon stating that the remainder of the dates in Boston, MA of the tour were going to be cancelled due to Nick injuring his hand. Which many speculate it had to due with the situation with AJ. Later, in the afternoon the rest of the group appeared on MTV's TRL to announce AJ going into rehab. During the announcement, Brian had mentioned that AJ came to them the day before (July 8, 2001) and said, 'Guys, I have a problem, and I wanna better myself and better the group and better our situation.' His problems were affecting his performance on stage. He left rehab in August 2001 and the group resumed their Black & Blue tour. He claimed that the cause of his addiction was probably due to his missing out on his childhood.[18][19]

But his sobriety did not last long and had entered rehab once again in 2002. It has been a struggle for AJ to stay sober all those years and has gone back into drinking various times. He would attend AA meetings as well. In January 10, 2011, He checked into rehab for the third time stating it was for personal reasons. [20] But he has said he wanted to be healthy, performance and sing for people at his very best and happiest. 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.[21]Also, he stated he wanted to be healthy and be sober before getting married. He was originally planning on getting married in June 2011 but had pushed back the wedding due to the NKOTBSB tour. This stint in rehab would not affect the tour and it went on as planned. Since heading into rehab, a third time AJ has been sober. But has been known to still struggle with alcohol. 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.[22]

On January 9, 2010, McLean proposed to his girlfriend of 10 months Rochelle Deanna Karidis[23] (b.1981), a model and a makeup artist/hair stylist on several TV shows, whom he accredits with motivating him to get sober and for helping him overcome his drug addiction for many years, at a club in Las Vegas. He states that the night he proposed was done on impulse. He bought a engagement ring at jeweler located in the same building of the club. The couple got married on December 17, 2011, at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California and the rest of the Backstreet Boys, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, and Kevin Richardson were in attendance. [24][25][26] They have two children together, On April 29, 2012 during a show with NKOTBSB in London, England that was broadcast in cinemas around Europe and online all around the world he announced that he was going to be a father. A video on his YouTube page was posted where both him and Rochelle announced the pregnancy.[27] Around June 2012 AJ announced that they were going to have a baby girl in November. On November 27, 2012, their daughter, Ava Jaymes McLean, was born at 4:51am PST in Los Angeles, CA. [28][29] She has been dubbed the first Backstreet Girl, given that the other four members of the Backstreet Boys all have sons. On September 5, 2016, McLean announced on Instagram that his wife was pregnant with their second child, and they were having another girl due in Spring of March 2017, which he mentioned Several weeks later at an event. [30][31] On March 19, 2017, the couple's second child, whom they named Lyric Dean, was born in Los Angeles.[32]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

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

Singles[edit]

Artist[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US JAP
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"
2019 "Give You Away"

Duets[edit]

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

Filmography[edit]

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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Netter, Matt (January 1999). Backstreet Boys * Aaron Carter. New York: Pocket Books. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-0-671-03539-6.
  2. ^ McLean, Denise; Gotlin, Nicole (2009). Backstreet Mom: A Mother's Tale of Backstreet Boy AJ McLean's Rise to Fame, Struggle with Addiction, and Ultimate Triumph. BenBella Books, Inc. p. 13. ISBN 9781935251439.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "Truth or Dare?: A Critical Madness (1986)". IMDb.com. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  5. ^ "A.J. McLean talks about "Johnny No Name"". Canoe.ca. March 29, 2000. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  6. ^ [1] Archived February 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "A Boy Out on His Own". LA Times. March 29, 2000. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  8. ^ "Transcript of A.J. McLean – Yahoo! Chat". March 22, 2000. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  9. ^ "NKOTBSB Song preview and song from 'Have It All', "Mr. A"". Youtube. December 14, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  10. ^ "Redrama feat. AJ McLean – Clouds". finnishcharts.com. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  11. ^ Carter, Brooke (November 24, 2016). "What Happened to A.J. McLean - News & Updates - Gazette Review". Gazette Review. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  12. ^ "Live Together (feat. Jordan James) – Single by AJ McLean". iTunes. Retrieved August 31, 2015.
  13. ^ "A.J. McLean Tells the ACM Awards: 'I'm Coming In to Disrupt Country Music'". Billboard. April 16, 2018. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  14. ^ "AJ McLean Goes Country With Upbeat New Song 'Back Porch Bottle Service': Premiere". Billboard. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  15. ^ "Backstreet Boy AJ McLean's 'Boy and a Man' Will Introduce His First Country Album". TasteOfCountry.com. Retrieved March 31, 2019.
  16. ^ "Welcome! Two New Flavors Launched – Skulleeroz". Skulleerozvapor.com. July 22, 2015. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  17. ^ ""Static Shock" Duped (2002)". IMDb.com. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  18. ^ "AJ McLean Talks Finally 'Growing Up' Amid Fatherhood and Addiction". Entertainment Tonight.
  19. ^ "Backstreet Boys Celebrate AJ McLean's 40th Birthday With Epic Surprise Prom Party -- See the Pics". Entertainment Tonight.
  20. ^ "Backstreet Boys' A.J. McLean Back In Rehab". MTV. January 13, 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^ "Interview with Polly Gillespie on ZM". Archived from the original on December 22, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  23. ^ "Recovering From Reality: Ep. 3 Variations of Normal - Recovering From Reality". recoveringfromreality.libsyn.com.
  24. ^ "A.J. McLean and Rochelle Deanna Karidis to Marry", AOL Music, September 7, 2011
  25. ^ "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
  26. ^ "A.J. Mclean And Rochelle Deanna Karidis To Have 'Craziest' Celebrity Wedding Ever", Radar Online, September 7, 2011
  27. ^ "AJ & Rochelle Have Some News!". Retrieved July 4, 2012.. YouTube. Retrieved on July 4, 2012.
  28. ^ Corneau, Allison (July 4, 2012). "Backstreet Boy AJ McLean's First Baby Will Be a Girl!". Us Weekly. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  29. ^ "Rep Confirms: Backstreet Boys Singer AJ McLean Welcomes Baby Girl Ava!". In Touch Weekly. November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  30. ^ Mizoguchi, Karen (September 5, 2016). "Second Child on the Way for Backstreet Boys' A.J. McLean". People. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  31. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: A.J. McLean Reveals the Sex of Baby No. 2!". Entertainment Tonight.
  32. ^ Juneau, Jen (March 20, 2017). "A.J. McLean Welcomes Daughter Lyric Dean". People. Retrieved March 20, 2017.

External links[edit]