Nicholas White
February 02, 2010 AT 07:29 PM EST

Beware, Aaron Carter haters—and there may be a few—the onetime tween pin-up, brother of Backstreet Nick, and recent Dancing with the Stars alum has launched a new stage in his career.

He’s really hoping you’re going to appreciate it.

“I’m back here to make a point when it comes to my abilities, my dancing,” Carter told on the red carpet at Sunday’s 52 annual Grammy Awards in L.A. ” If I am going to talk the talk, I will walk the walk. I’m going to do everything it takes. I’m here – take your best shot at me.”

Carter, 22, who has a single, “Dance with Me,” currently on iTunes with Flo Rida, is in prove-himself mode – or at least advertising it publicly, despite regaining prominence (sort of) last fall, finishing fifth on Dancing with the Stars with partner Karina Smirnoff. He has an independent record label, which he has signed himself to, he says.

“A lot of people didn’t expect that [Flo Rida single],” Carter says. “But he supports me and what I’ve done in my career. That means a lot to me. I have had ups and downs, trials and tribulations, but I’m back in my early 20s, to relive all that success over.”

“I am back now, here I am,” Carter repeated. “I am back at the Grammys, not just for no reason. I’m here because I’m living my dream. Major record labels want to sign me and put me down. They want to bring me here to get their competition here. I’m sick of that happening. I’m sick of sitting around, letting that [happen].”

He added, “This is it for me.”

Carter is reportedly on track to release a CD later this year, his fifth, though is vague on details when pressed. It would be his first record in eight years, after 2002’s Another Earthquake. His most successful was 2000’s Oh Aaron, which went triple platinum.

“I took some time off,” he says of the downtime. “I’m producing it, writing it, I mix it, I master it. I vocal-arrange it. I have my own studio down in Miami. I do it all. I want to be a real artist to consumers. I want to be the real thing for them. There are so many artists out there that don’t play the piano and actually write the lyrics and do it all creatively.”

And that one song, “Let Go,” that was rumored to be about ex-girlfriend Hilary Duff? Well, it is. “Of course, yeah,” Carter says. “I write about my feelings, things that happen in my life and experiences.”

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