Backstreet Boys’ AJ McLean was in Nashville Thursday (Dec. 6), performing at a fan listening event for local country radio station Nash FM 103.3. The boy band member turned country artist sang several songs and discussed his upcoming country solo album, which he revealed will be released in April 2019.
His set included his current single, “Night Visions,” a cover of Chris Stapleton’s “Drunkard’s Prayer” and two new songs called “Friday Night” and “Boy And a Man.” Ahead of performing “Boy And a Man,” AJ shared that the song was written by “The Voice” contestant Dave Fenley, who was recently eliminated from the show.
“This one was written by a local yokel here in Nashville named Dave Fenley who was just recently on this little TV show called ‘The Voice,'” AJ explains. “He is a remarkable singer-songwriter. He should not have been taken off the show in my opinion but, ya know. I’m not Adam [Levine] or Blake [Shelton] so I can’t make that decision. He wrote this little ditty for me. Hands down, it’s one of my personal favorites on this record.”
Backed by his guitarist, the song has AJ singing to a woman and telling her that she deserves better than she had before and should always be treated like a lady.
“I ain’t playing no games and I’m trying to say girl that I’ve got a plan / ‘Cause I know what you’re missing / I’m gonna show you the difference between a boy and a man,” he croons on the track’s chorus.
AJ’s spent the better part of the past two years in Nashville working on his solo record and says it has been an inspiring experience. He adds that he’s grateful for all the love he’s been given from the community in Music City.
“It feels real, it doesn’t feel forced. That’s of of the biggest things about this city that I love and what I love about country music — everybody loves everybody. There is not really any true competition. Everyone supports everyone and that’s what makes me feel like this is where I want to be,” he shares. “I want to tell my story and that’s what I feel country music does. It tells stories. It’s relatable to everybody. People only know one side of me. They know ‘Backstreet’s Back,’ ‘Quit Playing Games,’ and ‘I Want It That Way.’ They don’t know me outside of Backstreet Boys. So, hopefully when this album comes out in April they will get a chance to see the real me outside of that.”
The singer hinted that a country tour may be in his future and promised that he will be dancing while on tour with his country band. “I’m thinking like the Bruno Mars of country.”
He tells One Country that his dream tourmates include Dan + Shay, Chris Lane, Thomas Rhett and past collaborators “Florida Georgia Line.”
“To me, it’s a dream mashup to go on tour with Dan + Shay. They’re huge fans of us, we’re huge fans of them. I actually did a show in Iowa and they were the headliner and I introduced them,” he recalls. “Now, listening to their record, our sound is kind of sonically the same. It’s got that pop aspect and then it’s got the country aspect. That would be my first pick. Maybe my boy Chris Lane or Thomas Rhett or FGL. The list could go on.”