Jesse McCartney Talks "Have It All," The Holidays and Cooking
Mon, 06 Dec 2010 06:41:42
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Check all your assumptions and misconceptions about Jesse McCartney at the door and leave them there. Don't come back to reclaim them, because they are erroneous.
McCartney, who shares his name with an incredibly talented British legend and his dynastically talented family, is the real deal. He is not that 15-year-old kid in the boy band Dream Street anymore. He's long since passed that point; he has honed his skills as a songwriter and his undeniable, God-given talent as a singer; he's occupying than white space vacated by Justin Timberlake while he's off making movies!
McCartney's blue-eyed soul has ensnared lots of young girls, but it's also been attracting a wider cross-section of fans in the past few years. This kid–pardon me, this young man—has it all: talent, skill, good looks, the moves, oodles of charisma. He's the kind of boy you bring home to mom but one that isn't afraid to flash a little edge. He walks the tightrope between both worlds without a net. He's fearless and it shows on Have It All.
This singer-songwriter has established himself as a legitimate and edgy songwriting talent, having co-penned Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" and many of the songs on his forthcoming effort, Have It All. His fans have responded as he has grown and matured, a process that begin with 2008's Departure, which birthed "Leavin'," the feel-good hit of that summer. Fans rewarded McCartney with 2 million digital download purchases.
ARTISTdirect.com contributor Amy Sciarretto considers McCartney her my personal favorite of all the post-boy band success stories. His voice is warm and inviting, and his songwriting carves itself into your cranium. You can take it that to the bank!
McCartney spoke to ARTISTdirect.com on the eve of the release of Have It All, which is now coming out in early 2011, despite three release date switches! McCartney drew parallels between his then and his now; he spoke of his love for his core audience – that means you, 18-year-olds; and his love of getting his hands dirty in the kitchen.
Did you get off the road and go right into the studio?
I came home, settled down and got back to the studio. I've been writing and putting this record together for a while. I was in the studio for a year and I wrote 50 songs before we got it down to an 11-song album. It took some time to put it together, to get the right people on board, to manage schedules and it's a process, but we got it done! I can't believe it's my fourth studio album. That blows my mind still.
Can you draw some parallels between your banging new single "Shake" versus your super summer of 2008 smash, "Leavin'" With this song, it sounds like you picked off where you left off, even though the rest of Have It All explores new terrain.
"Shake" is the most reminiscent of Departure and the most sonically close to "Leavin'" and some of the songs I put out from that album. It was the move I wanted to make to get fans reacquainted with my sound. A couple songs sound like that, but the album moves into a more dance-oriented and rhythmic sound. With Sean Garrett and Kevin Rudolf producing, we were able to push the envelope on the rhythmic side. "Shake" opens the record and reacquaints fans with sound they heard two years ago.
I interviewed Kevin recently and he had nothing but good things to say about you and said that you have so much talent that people probably don't even realize it. What do you have to say about him?
He is awesome. He instantly became family with me in the studio. We hit it off right away. I was equally surprised with his talent as a producer. I sat in the meeting with him and I had heard this guy could produce and was thinking, 'What can he bring to the table?' He played me tracks that knocked me off my chair, that were perfect for my album. I said, 'Please hold these for me' and he said, 'Yeah, I am holding them for you.' We were working together for 3-to-4 months, chopping stuff up, writing records for myself and other artists. He is a real talent and is someone I would trust to put out records for me for years to come. He is growing even more.
J Kash [Jacob Kashner] is one of my co-writers on ''Shake" and he did "We R Who We R" for Ke$ha. He is super talented and from Virginia Beach. He is hungry and people are going to be after him for a while, after they hear these two records. Ammo is also a producer, under Dr. Luke and his whole camp. It was an amazing group of guys who helped to crystallize my goals for the record.
You also act but singing seems to be your first love and preferred outlet, since you do more of it. I remember reading that you turned down a role in The Last Airbender because of your music schedule. What do you prefer about each medium?
You can do plenty of acting in both arenas, let's be honest. Onscreen acting is taking a back seat, for sure, in the past few years, since my music career is the forefront. That was a choice and the way it happened. I have not been forcing that move to more acting. I have been going along with it. By next year, after the album, after we tour it, I am going to take the opportunity to jump back into acting on camera. I am having plenty of fun acting behind my music, being on stage, back on tour. There is some level of acting there, so I am not complaining.
Will Have It All take you beyond the target, boy band audience of young girls that has embraced you so fervently for so long?
There are a lot of records on the album for the core audience, but there are also songs that are not necessarily directed towards my regular crowd. You have to hear it. Once you get to track 5, 6, 7, you might be like 'Huh? Jesse took a left.' That was done purposefully. At 23-years-old, at this point in my career, my fans are growing up as well. They are going from their late teens to their early '20s, and I need and want to say something they can relate to, as well as sharing music with anyone and everyone. It's okay to branch off and do something you wouldn't normally do.
What is on Jesse McCartney's holiday wish list?
I am going to go with a vacation. I am not sure where I'd go. Maybe Colorado or Utah. My family is full of snow skiers and we love winter. We're skiers, snowboarders. Maybe Utah or Colorado? For just a couple weeks.
Tell me something about Jesse McCartney that's not "entertainment" or career related?
I am a big fan of food and cooking. My father was an amazing cook growing up, and watching him cook every night, I learned a lot from him in the kitchen, so I have taken on the whole cooking thing. I am getting good, entertaining more at my house, to bigger crowds. Slowly and surely, I can now entertain a bigger crowd. I am behind the stove, with my chef's knives, getting it down.
You still "entertain" off stage, with food! What's your signature dish?
I have a few special dishes, so you would have to come over and eat them!
Sign me up! It's a date. I just had this funny image of you, wearing big white chef's hat!
It's great. I don't wear the chef's hat. I admit I might have apron and it might be in my top left drawer. Overall, I am a big fan of French cuisine. It's the most refined in the world. I have traveled to France a dozen times by now, and I have the most amazing experience with foods there. I learn something new there and it's a passion of mine. I love learning more and more about my side hobby.
What does the legion of Jesse McCartney fans need to know about Have It All? Here is your chance to speak directly to them!
This is my fourth studio record and Have It All is a play on words in the sense that I do have it all. I have an amazing career and fanbase and I get to make a living doing what I love, so I have it all. But it is also a giving term. You can have it all. It's a giving thing. I think that fans will be pleased how far I've come, specifically with the vocals. This was the most vocally challenging of all my records. I am excited for them to hear it.
Are you excited for Have It All?