Backstreet boys

AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys on his first single

When Backstreet Boys frontman AJ McLean took a puff of his cigarette, the lyrics to his debut single fell into place.

“Wait a second,” McLean said while seated in the studio, his producer standing beside him.

“This song is about being with this person who is so easy. It’s just okay, it’s just fun and sexy and it’s exciting.

The two looked at each other. He thought of cigarettes.

“That’s right. How do you make it work in the song? How do you sing it? MacLean asked.

After cutting “Smoke,” McLean says it gave him the same feeling as Backstreet hits “I Want It That Way” and “Don’t Break My Heart.”

“When you sit down and listen, you just know in your gut there’s something special here.”

He describes it as a mix between Prince and George Michael.

Along with making new music, McLean is busy with the Backstreet Boys’ DNA World Tour. The group has their families with them for the ride.

“Back then, as Howie said, we used to have bottle service. Now it’s bottle service. It’s like dad’s daycare.

He says life has changed traveling around the world with children.

“They all play with each other, get along well with each other. They’re mostly boys, and the boys watch over my daughters, and they’re very respectful, and they’re like big brothers.

McLean says having his family on tour helps keep him grounded.

“As far as staying healthy and fit, trying to keep up with a nine-year-old and a five-year-old, yes, especially when they’re a little boy-crazed.”

McLean’s new album “Sex and Bodies” will be released in October.