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Pillow Talk with Jesse McCartney

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With the release of his third solo album this past May, music sensation Jesse McCartney is on his way to Pittsburgh this August and the MANIAC Girls were lucky enough to get him to talk shop. His new album may be entitled “Departure”, but for him, this is only his arrival. His current single, “Leavin,” has been tearing up the charts for weeks and the music video is proof that he’s shedding the teenage image he’s been carrying around for years. After huge success co-writing “Bleeding Love” with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic for Leona Lewis, Jesse is coming into his own in every possible way. The sounds of his latest album “Departure” shy away from the pop tunes of his past solo albums and showcase the emotions and experiences of a mature adult. The vibe of the album is a product of Jesse’s transition into a more R&B style, which is evident on songs such as “How Do You Sleep?” and “It’s Over.” With Jesse serving as co-writer of several of the songs on the album, listeners get a deeper look into the mind of a true artist. Even with massive success in the music and songwriting business, Jesse has chosen not to draw the line there. His talent extends far into the entertainment industry with roles on the past television show, “Summerland,” and in the films, “Keith” and “Alvin & the Chipmunks.” With the ability to make any girl consider “Leavin” their man simply by singing a song, Jesse has no problem capturing people’s attention musically, emotionally, and artistically. Talented in all facets of the industry, Jesse is more than your typical triple threat. Clearly, he is on the fast track to conquering the industry one hit at a time and this is only the beginning.

Hi. How are you?

Jesse McCartney: I’m swell. How you doing?

Good. So we’re very excited about you coming to Pittsburgh. We happen to be huge fans. So we’ll definitely be at your concert!

Jesse McCartney: Aw, me too. I’m excited too!

Your new album Departure has been doing extremely well since its release in May. Why did you choose to name it that?

Jesse McCartney: I think it sort of sums up where I am musically and personally. It is kind of a personal record. There are a lot of songs on there that are kind of a reflection of my relationship with women-being with them, without them.

Any female in particular?

Jesse McCartney: I mean I was in a relationship for a few years, and I think being in that relationship definitely taught me a lot and certainly made for great songwriting. But also just musically it’s a big departure…the style of the music. It’s a little bit more R&B, a bit more rhythmic. I think overall, it’s just a bit more soulful, which was my biggest goal going into this record. I wanted the fans to see and hear the growth and that’s what we did.

From teeny bopper to hot, sophisticated male.

Jesse McCartney: Sure. [Laughs]

To go along with your album, did you really get “Departure” tattooed on your back?

Jesse McCartney: No No. That was a joke. That was a total joke from my buddies. It ended up becoming an online thing, but no, I don’t have any tattoos. I’d love to get one. I just don’t know what to get yet.

We know that you enjoy songwriting and that you’ve worked in collaboration with Ryan Tedder of One Republic. Is there anybody else that you’re really looking forward to writing with?

Jesse McCartney: I’m in the process of writing some stuff right now. I have a bunch of songs that I’m working on and certainly Leona has opened a lot of doors for me as a writer. So I’m trying to strike now while the iron’s hot. Writing…it’s tough though because I’ve been working on my stuff. I’m planning to get someone to feature on my next single. I can’t say who yet. You never wanna jinx it. It hasn’t gone through yet, but I’m working on getting somebody pretty big for my next single. Also, there’s a few other acts on other labels that people have approached me to be featured on their tracks. So there could be some more collaborations in the future. I’ll let you know.

Yeah. We’ll be looking forward to that. You said before that your music is a little bit R&B influenced. Is that where you see your music in the future?

Jesse McCartney: Yeah, I definitely see it getting more and more R&B for sure and in the future. I feel like part of me wants to be there now, but then there’s that switch in my brain that I have to turn off and remember that I can’t do it all at once. I need my fans to sort of ease into the situation and ease into where I am musically and mentally. That’s why I think we went with “Leavin” as the first single. It’s the perfect balance between the old sound and the new Jesse.

I think it’s really cool that it’s like techno too…. It’s kind of like R&B techno.

Jesse McCartney: It definitely has some electronic. The whole record was written on a keyboard, so it definitely has some of that electronic sound. I think that’s what you’re talking about that makes it such a fun track.

Is it tough being a white guy putting out this kind of R&B style?

Jesse McCartney: Well, I mean a lot of people don’t do it, but I think Elvis Presley is to blame. He’s the reason why I wanted to do this. Even growing up as a kid, I think he’s such a soulful artist and he’s a white guy. There was nobody doing it at the time. But it’s hard because there’s no one to compare me too really. There’s a few people doing it. You got Justin and Robin Thicke, but it’s not a big lane. You don’t see a lot of white guys doing R&B. That’s fine with me. I love the style of music. I feel like that’s what I’m best at.

In the past, you’ve done a few film and acting projects. Will you pick up on your acting career after you wrap up the tour?

Jesse McCartney: Definitely. I definitely plan on doing a lot more TV and film when I finish up my record. It’s something that has taken a backseat for a long time because the making of this record was pretty full on. So yeah, I’ll get there.

I have to ask this question. When you were younger you were a member of the boy band Dream Street, how did that come about?

Jesse McCartney: Well, I was probably 12 years old and there was this big audition for the new boy band. That’s what they called it – the new hot boy band or whatever it was. And myself along with 300 other young kids went and auditioned for this group. And it was just one of those long processes. It was sort of like a Making the Band. There just weren’t any cameras. Literally, they cut a few people every day for 3 or 4 months.

There’s been a lot of buzz about you and Aubrey O’Day and we saw a couple things with Perez Hilton. Can you set the story straight?

Jesse McCartney: Well, the story is we went out one night after a big show in New York – Aubrey and myself and my band and some of her band mates. We all went out to a restaurant and then to a club afterwards and had a good time. But that was about as far as it went. It never really amounted to anything more.

You haven’t put a ring on Aubrey’s finger yet?

Jesse McCartney: [Laughs] I’m not putting a ring on anybody’s finger yet. Trust me, love.

The Maniac Girls would like you to kiss and tell… Who is the woman in your life right now?

Jesse McCartney: There really isn’t one—there isn’t just one

There’s a couple?

Jesse McCartney: I didn’t mean it that way. I’ve been dating arbitrarily. I haven’t really locked anyone down full time or nobody’s locked me down full time. My number one love right now is my record and my music. It might be a little selfish, but hey, I’m young enough that I can be.

Your first single is “Leavin”, what is the next single you plan on releasing?

Jesse McCartney: I think it’s gonna be “How Do You Sleep?” It might be “It’s Over”, but I think it’s gonna be “How Do You Sleep?” I think we wanna catch one more upbeat, summer song before we go in for a ballad.

You’re getting ready to kick-off a tour with Jordin Sparks, what can fans expect from this tour?

Jesse McCartney: I think the one thing they’re gonna get out of me, even if they are a fan and they’ve been to my show before, I’m gonna be moving around a lot more than I have been. I’ve been working with a choreographer from Lifestyles who is an unbelievable guy and a great dancer. Myself and a couple of the guys on stage, my singers-it’s gonna be a choreographed show. A little more production and it’s high energy. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m a little nervous.

Gotta break down those moves. Get those moves down pat.

Jesse McCartney: You got it.

The video for your single “Leavin” is definitely more mature than anything you’ve done before. What has the response been to it?

Jesse McCartney: There was some shock value there at first. I think overall people adjusted and are supportive of this new look and this new sound. The fans certainly have been incredibly positive, and I’m very happy with it. I’ve worked with that director before. He directed a song on my first album called “She’s No You” and so I knew that he’d be perfect for this video. I’m really happy with it and the actress Nicky did a great job.

Yeah, she’s really, really pretty.

Jesse McCartney: Stunningly beautiful. She just had a way of grabbing the audience.

Awesome. So we can expect some really sexy, cool videos from you then in the future.

Jesse McCartney: Possibly…

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