A. J. McLean

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

McLean in Malibu in February 2008
Born Alexander James McLean
(1978-01-09) January 9, 1978
West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names
  • A.J.
  • Alexander McLean
  • Alexander J. McLean
  • "Alex"
  • "Bone
  • "Bone Daddy"
  • "Johnny No Name"
  • "Mr. Cool"
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
  • dancer
  • model
Years active 1986–present
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Religion Christianity
Spouse(s) Rochelle McLean (m. 2011)
Children 1
  • Denise Solis
  • Bob McLean
Website ajmclean.com

Musical career

  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • bass guitar
  • drums
  • piano
  • saxophone
  • violin
Associated acts

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

Early life

McLean was born on January 9, 1978 in West Palm Beach, Florida, to Denise (née Fernandez, now Solis) and Bob McLean. He is of Cuban and German ancestry on his mother's side and Scottish, Irish and English on his father's side. He's 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 just two years old.[1] The divorce affected him deeply, causing him to become angry, defensive, troubled and frustrated.


Early career

When the worst was over, 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, ballet for 4 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, before At six years old AJ was apart of a school play "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" where he played Dopey at Unity of Delray Beach church and school. As a kid, he had a speech impediment, which make him lisp and stutter. He went on to 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]

A few years later in 1990, McLean, his mother and grandparents moved to Kissimmee, Florida, to pursue his acting and singing career. He attended a private acting school at the Florida Academy of Dramatic Arts for 4 years, enjoyed acting in the drama club and acted in small plays and modeled periodically. In 1991 AJ landed a role on the Nickelodeon comedy series called Hi Honey, I'm Home! where he played a kid named Skunk. But was cut from the show due to his height. He was too tall. His only known appearance on the show is in the pilot episode. Nickelodeon aired the episode back in 1999 as part of their birthday celebration. Airing many older shows that featured unknown (at the time) celebrities. When he was 13 years old, McLean had tried out for Star Search, but has never received a call back from the show. He later saw an ad in the newspaper for a Latin Festival and since McLean's grandfather has Latin roots, he decided to audition. After the audition, he learned that the first-place winner would receive a $1,000 prize, in which he had won first place. The producer of the festival hired him to perform a 45-minute, one-man show. He did a puppet show and also showcased his singing and dancing as well. At the Latin Festival, he met a young Howie Dorough (Tony Donetti at the time) through a mutual vocal coach.[2]

Due to his love of performing, Mclean was also a victim of bullying and he has really never fit in. Everyday whether at school or going out with his mom and grandmother, people, even his peers or classmates, would call him "fag", "queer", a weird freak, and "gay", despite the fact that he's straight, knows how to treat a girl right and is really creative with puppeteering, cartoonist, writing and reading poetry, ventriloquist, songwriting and his Shakespeare monologues. In junior high, McLean won a part in Nickelodeon's series Welcome Freshmen, which began his ongoing work relationship with both 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 up with 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 his age, at 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

Main article: Backstreet Boys

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

Solo ventures

Johnny No Name (2000)

McLean created a character, whom he named "Johnny No Name", to use as his alter ego. He uses it 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. It shared its 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)

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 'N Sync 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 is working on his 2nd 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)

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

Naked (2016)

McLean was set to release his second solo album titled Naked on September 9, 2016. The lead single, "Live Together" was released on September 4, 2015, on iTunes.[10]

Non-music works

On July 22, 2015, AJ launched Skulleeroz Vapor, a line of liquids for use with electronic cigarettes.[11]

Television and film appearances

In April 2002, In season 2 of Static Shock (A cartoon from 2000–2004) McLean made a guest appearance on the show. The title of the episode is called "Duped".[12] He also appeared as a contestant in the first season of the Nickelodeon game show GUTS. McLean also appeared and performed with The Backstreet Boys on Arthur, Sesame Street, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Saturday Night Live. In 2013 McLean made his motion picture debut by appearing in the comedy This Is the End along with the rest of the Backstreet Boys.

Personal life

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 his addictions as the hardest things he has ever had to go through, stating it is something he battles with every day.[13] He checked into rehab for the 3rd time on January 10, 2011, citing "personal reasons".[14] In preparation for the NKOTB and Backstreet Boys tour, McLean has 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.[15]

McLean married Rochelle Deanna Karidis, a model and makeup/hair stylist, whom he credits for helping him overcome his addiction, on December 17, 2011, in Beverly Hills, California.[16][17] The rest of the Backstreet Boys, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, and Kevin Richardson were in attendance.[18] On November 27, 2012, the couple welcomed their first child,[19] a daughter named Ava Jaymes McLean.[20][21] On September 5, 2016, McLean announced on Instagram that his wife is pregnant with their second child, another girl.[22][23]



Year Title Peak positions
Have It All 31


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
2010 "Teenage Wildlife" Have It All
2015 "Live Together" Naked
Year Single Peak chart positions Album
2013 "Clouds"
(Redrama and A.J. McLean)
4 Redrama album


TV series & Movies
Year Film Role Notes
1986 Truth or Dare? Little Mike
1991 Hi Honey, I'm Home!
1990 Welcome Freshmen
1990 GUTS
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
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 Backstreet Boys
2013 This Is the End himself With the Backstreet Boys, performing "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"
2014 I Heart Nick Carter Himself minor
2016 Dead 7 Actor

See also


  1. 1 2 Netter, Matt (January 1999). Backstreet Boys * Aaron Carter. New York: Pocket Books. pp. 46–47. ISBN 978-0-671-03539-6.
  2. 1 2 3 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. 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. "Live Together (feat. Jordan James) - Single by AJ McLean". iTunes. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  11. "Welcome! Two New Flavors Launched - Skulleeroz". Skulleerozvapor.com. 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  12. ""Static Shock" Duped (2002)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  13. "Interview with Polly Gillespie on ZM". Archived from the original on December 22, 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  14. "Backstreet Boys' A.J. McLean Back In Rehab". MTV. 2011-01-13. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  15. "Breaking Celeb News, Entertainment News, and Celebrity Gossip". E! Online. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  16. "A.J. McLean and Rochelle Deanna Karidis to Marry", AOL Music, September 7, 2011
  17. "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
  18. "A.J. Mclean And Rochelle Deanna Karidis To Have 'Craziest' Celebrity Wedding Ever", Radar Online, September 7, 2011
  19. "AJ & Rochelle Have Some News!". Retrieved July 4, 2012.. YouTube. Retrieved on July 4, 2012.
  20. Corneau, Allison (July 4, 2012). "Backstreet Boy AJ McLean's First Baby Will Be a Girl!". Us Weekly. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  21. "Rep Confirms: Backstreet Boys Singer AJ McLean Welcomes Baby Girl Ava!". In Touch Weekly. November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  22. Mizoguchi, Karen (September 5, 2016). "Second Child on the Way for Backstreet Boys' A.J. McLean". People. Retrieved September 17, 2016.
  23. "EXCLUSIVE: A.J. McLean Reveals the Sex of Baby No. 2!". Entertainment Tonight.

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