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AJ McLean Puts a New Twist on Rihanna’s ‘Love on the Brain’: Listen to the Cover (Exclusive)

Making people smile. AJ McLean may be staying home with his family, but that doesn’t mean he can’t help out the fans. Us Weekly is exclusively debuting his cover of Rihanna‘s 2016 hit, “Love on the Brain” — and it’s a long time coming.

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“This was before I had made the conscious decision to move into country [music],” the Backstreet Boys singer, 42, shared with Us about the cover, which he recorded about four years ago, right after the song was released.

When working on new music in 2016, he discussed singing different covers with his manager who was “very adamant about it being a female” track.

“I was like, ‘I love that idea! Anything to keep empowering the female community, I’m all for it,'” McLean said. “Then it became a bit of a struggle to figure out which artist and which song because I can’t sing like a girl. I can’t hit the notes that any female artist hits.”

His wife, Rochelle McLean, was then “bumping Rihanna” and she made the suggestion that he try the Anti track. “At that point, I don’t think I had even heard the song,” he told Us. “Then I listened to it and I couldn’t stop listening to it.”

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After recording it, other projects took over and he began working on solo original music, so the cover was never released. McLean always wanted to put it out, and had a feeling that fans may appreciate it.

“On our last Backstreet cruise that we did, we did solo events and mine was a listening session,” the “Give You Away” singer told Us. “So I played a bunch of my urban stuff and I said, ‘Hey, I have a surprise for you guys. I did this cover.’ I played it and they went nuts.”

AJ McLean Love on the Brain
AJ McLean Tyler Shields

The father of two noted that now just seemed like a good time, amid everything going on in the world.

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“Why not do something that could bring some people some joy? There’s never a wrong time to put out music, especially a cover,” he said. “It’s a great song. I’m just scared when she hears it — if she hears it — is she gonna put me on blast or is she gonna be like, ‘Nice job AJ?!'”

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