Ahead of her funeral on Friday, Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean is remembering the late Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin — and how he and some of his group mates were lucky enough to perform with her.
Back in 2001, three of the five Backstreet Boys — A.J., Kevin Richardson and Howie Dorough — were part of VH1’s Divas Live concert in New York City, which was a tribute to Aretha. They joined her to sing backup on “Chain of Fools.”
Speaking to TMZ, A.J. recalled, “Getting to actually perform with her, to look back at that photo, it’s pretty awesome to know that, like, we got to sing with one of the greatest of all time!”
A.J. also recalled his interaction with another legendary guest during the star-studded concert, which he called one of his most “nerve-wracking moments” ever.
“I was in charge of walking Stevie Wonder out [to the stage],” he told TMZ. “All these cables are all backstage, and I’m like, ‘Step! Step up!’ I’m like, ‘If I make Stevie Wonder trip, I’ll never live it down, ever!'”
A.J. also said that Backstreet may decide to do some kind of tribute to Aretha in their live show at some point. He added, “She was a huge icon, a huge inspiration to anything from R&B to pop to country. I mean, she is, and will forever be, remembered.”
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