Alexander James "A. J." McLean (born January 9, 1978) is an American musician, singer, dancer, actor, and entertainer. He is a member of the Backstreet Boys. McLean is also a contributor for the It Gets Better Project.
McLean was born in West Palm Beach, Florida, to Denise (née Fernandez) 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. His parents divorced when he was four years old. In January 1986 at 8 years old, McLean acted in his first role as Little Mike in the 1986 film Truth or Dare.
In 1990, he moved to Orlando, Florida with his mother and grandparents to concentrate on his acting and singing career. In early 1990s he appeared on various Nickelodeon and Disney projects, including the Nickelodeon show GUTS, Welcome Freshmen, and a comedy series called Hi Honey, I'm Home! on which he played a character named "Skunk". Upon joining the Backstreet Boys, he along with band mates Brian Littrell and Nick Carter quit high school and completed their education with a tutor who joined them on the road.
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.
Johnny No Name:
McLean created a character, whom he named "Johnny NoName", to use as his alter ego. He uses it as his name when not performing with other members of the Backstreet Boys. 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 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.
Have It All:
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.
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."
On May 22, 2013, a Finnish rapper Redrama released a single "Clouds" featuring McLean. It is currently available on iTunes Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the U.S.
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". He also appeared as a contestant in the first season of the Nickelodeon game show Nickelodeon 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.
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. He checked into rehab for the 3rd time on January 10, 2011 citing "personal reasons". 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.
McLean married Rochelle Deanna Karidis, whom he credits for helping him overcome his addiction, on December 17, 2011, in Beverly Hills, California. The rest of the Backstreet Boys, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, and Kevin Richardson were in attendance. On November 27, 2012, the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Ava Jaymes McLean.