Backstreet Boys’ A.J. McLean stopped to chat with Billboard’s Kevan Kenney on the red carpet at the 53rd annual Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday (April 15), where he discussed his plans to “disrupt” country music.
“I am coming in, but I’m coming in to disrupt country,” McLean says of his next musical project. “I wanna come in and shake things up. I’ve always loved country…But after we did ‘God, Your Mama, And Me’ with Florida Georgia Line… something just kind of clicked and I just got this overwhelming inspiration to just give it a go.”
The Backstreet Boy says that while his music has more of a “country-pop-urban” sound, it still has “that country storytelling vibe, as far as lyrics.”
“I think just kind of not being afraid to push the limits of production, push the limits of vocal,” he continues. “[Chris] Stapleton is one of the most soulful, incredible singers of this generation. And yet radio sometimes may not play all of his stuff cause he’s so soulful, and country wants to play country. That’s kind of me with my soulful voice and kind of wanting to really go in there and push that envelope.”
“Let country take a risk,” the singer adds, “because look, FGL’s already doing it. That door is slowly opening. Hailee Steinfeld, Bebe Rexha, Jason Derulo. Those guys have done it right. To me, they’re the black sheep. They’ve stayed in their lane. They just do them and look, it’s freaking working.”
You can watch the full video interview with A.J. McLean above.