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Backstreet Boys A.J. McLean On Group's New R&B Songs And Staying Sober

The Backstreet Boys are planning to shock fans with their next album. Though a spokesperson for the group says a title and release date have not been set, the members are making a concerted effort to transcend the their trademark pop boy-band sound, according to member A.J. McLean.

McLean discussed the record Sunday (April 14), when arriving at the taping of MTVIcon: Aerosmith. “It’s not anything like it was before,” he revealed. “It’s a whole new direction. We’re going to be doing rock, we’re going to be doing R&B, we’re going to be doing pop, probably going to be working with Max Martin again, hopefully. It’s going to be a broad range of music. And hopefully, we can work with these guys (Aerosmith) in here.”

On the R&B front, the group is working with hip-hop and R&B producers Jermaine Dupri and Soulshock & Karlin in hopes of winning the acceptance of the R&B community. McLean was pleased with the success of *NSYNC’s “Gone” last year, which made it into the top 20 on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, and even earned a nomination at the 16th Annual Soul Train Music Awards for best R&B/soul single, group, band, or duo. “Yeah, I was, very surprised,” he said. “I’m shocked when a group like us is ever nominated for anything in real heavy R&B urban, urban area. And hopefully with some of the stuff we’ve done, we’ll finally be played on urban radio.”

Another hurdle McLean is anxious to overcome is his battle with alcohol. McLean, who has been sober for 10 months, says he has a huge support group to thank for helping him through his difficult times. “My fiancee, my family, and the other guys, and God. I’m really just taking my time with it day by day. It’s a day-by-day process,” he said.

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