Taking a step in a new direction with blind faith that fans will follow you, is what most artists should be doing, but are scared to do. Jesse McCartney took a leap of faith on recording ‘Departure,’ going the opposite from his initial Disney background for an urban-pop sound. The combination of working with the Dream, Tricky Stewart and Sean Garrett added to his swagger; and his personal relationships fuel his pen with lyrics that reflect what he’s going through. Get to know the new Jesse.
Singersroom: This album you made a transition from pop to a more urban sound, how do you think fans perceive the change.
Jesse McCartney: There is definitely some shock value to this record. It is definitely a big change musically, something I’ve been trying and wanting to do for a long time now. I just wanted to change it up visually as well as musically and I think the fans are just catching on and jumping on board.
Singersroom: How do you define urban?
Jesse McCartney: I don’t even know the answer to that. I would like to hear somebody else’s answer to that. Pop, I can explain it is popular music; music people enjoy listening to and stuff that is top forty friendly. When I hear R&B I think rhythm & blues, I think a little bit more bluesy or soulful. The term urban is so new age and modern I am still trying to figure out what that meansâ¦To me this record is a big step forward vocally and as far as production goes it’s different. This record is written on a piano which is unlike anything I have done; I have always written my records on guitar. It definitely opens the world up for change and crazy synth sounds, which are pretty prevalent these days in pop music.
Singersroom: With the title being ‘Departure’ what have you left personally?
Jesse McCartney: This record is written for that of a twenty-one year old. I think that is something I made clear on this record, that ‘Beautiful Soul’ was made when I was fifteen/sixteen years old; it is a little bit more lighter now. It [was] a bit more surface, this one cuts a little deeper and it’s made accessible for those people who are my age that have been through the same things I have been through. That for me, including a lot of my personal experiences, especially in relationships with woman; I have been in and out of relationships these last few years, has made for great songwriting. That is partly why this record is called ‘Departure.’
Singersroom: A little pain with the ladies helps.
Jesse McCartney: (laughter) A little bit of pain, a little gain; it has been interesting especially living in L.A.
Singersoom: I guess you didn’t maintain any relationships through the recording of this record.
Jesse McCartney: I was in a relationship for about three years of my life and it ended about a year ago. It was [my] first real long term relationship. So I definitely had a lot to talk about and then being single makes for good songwriting.
Singersroom: I hope your Ex isn’t mad about any records on the album.
Jesse McCartney: I hope so too. She knows what’s up. She can definitely single out some records and knows what’s going on, but we are still really good friends. She is a great girl, [and] at this point in our life it has to be the way it is now.
Singersroom: On the song “Leavin” you sing “Go on shorty/Tell him you found a new man” are the words and lyrics natural to you?
Jesse McCartney: Definitely. For me the terminology that is used is stuff I say with my close friends. The truth is that it is a fun song. I’m not trying to write Bob Dylan lyrics, it has a fun laid back vibe to it. It is understated, I don’t think it is trying too hardâ¦I feel comfortable. I think when anyone sees the uncomfortability level or see that you’re not comfortable they get uncomfortable. I think with my close friends it is definitely the terminology I use.
Singersroom: With your music changing, you said earlier your look changed but has stayed the same?
Jesse McCartney: My personality through the music is still laid back and still has that soulful vibe. There is a little bit more I guess you can call it “swagger.” When you work with people like Sean Garrett that’s gonna happen, those guys are out of their minds and Tricky [Stewart] and the Dream.
Singersroom: As a former child-star maturing to young adult celebrity, how do you keep your phone and camcorder locked so people don’t bust into it?
Jesse McCartney: I’m not making sex tapes. I just don’t do it. I’m not looking for the camera to take any incriminating photo. It certainly is not flattering and it doesn’t really help. There are a lot of people that come up to me and say “bad press is still good press.” No, bad press is bad press. I try to keep my social life as private as I can. —— By: Interview By Adeniyi Omisore