God Bless America for sending such sweet treats as super-cute American-o, Jesse McCartney to the UK shores for me to meet! Jesse, who released his first album at just sixteen years old, is now back with a completely new sound, I caught up with Jesse for BFF on his recent trip to London to chat about music, food and the British weather, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m crushing. Hard. Please send him back soon!
Jesse, what are you doing here in the UK?
I’m promoting my new album, “Departure.” I’m on a promo run through Europe, letting everyone know about the album. It’s great to be here!
What will we love about this new album and how is it different from your previous stuff?
Well it’s called “Departure” for a couple of reasons – the main one being that musically, it’s a little bit different to what the fans would have heard in the past. It’s got a lot more R&B and it’s a little bit more rhythmic and the producers that I worked with are sort of known in that world of music.
What and who influenced your new sound?
Growing up, listening to my parents record collection, there was a bit of James Brown and Michael Jackson, Elvis, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles, legends of R&B music and I always gravitate towards that style of music. So suddenly it occurred to me ‘maybe I should make a record that’s a little bit more like what I love to listen to’ and I think I always wanted to, but wasn’t really in the right head space or mature enough to do so.
We think the album has an 80′s style sound to it, do you agree?
Yeah, I used two artists as sort of catalysts of what I wanted this album to sound like, Michael Jackson (“Thriller”) was one of them and Madonna is the other – mainly for the production value. This new record is written on the piano and it’s the first time that I’ve done that, I usually write everything on the guitar. On the piano you can play around with the sound much more and you can infuse those 80′s influences nicely. So it’s a mix of contemporary lyrics with a kind of nostalgic feel.
What are you loving most about the UK?
The weather is amazing! I mean seriously, that’s one of the main reasons I come here! Just kidding, but seriously, I really like the night life, it kind of seems like it has a different vibe, certainly from Los Angeles. There seems to be a lot of different things going on, and the people are really friendly.
For the people that don’t know you, describe yourself in 3 words…
Hard-working, lazy and passionate.
Who’s getting the most airplay on your iPod right now?
Lupe Fiasco’s new album, Maroon 5 and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson is in my top ten, always!
Is acting something you’d like to do more of?
Yeah definitely, at the moment the record is obviously the most important thing, a lot of work goes into putting out an album. Actually, making the music is the easy part, it’s the promoting that takes time. But hopefully I’ll have more time for film stuff next year.
Is it hard to make friends as a celebrity?
It’s easier to have discernment in Los Angeles, because there’s so much fake stuff that goes on but usually you get a pretty good idea of what people are after pretty early on. Especially growing up in the industry, but I have a really solid group of friends and some are involved in the industry and some have nothing to do with it.
You’re rumoured to be dating a certain lady right now, true or false?
I have no time for girls right now, I’m free and flying solo!
Give us the five songs that make up the soundtrack of your life.
“Blue Suede Shoes” by Elvis Presley
“Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor
“Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
“Blackbird” by The Beatles
“My Girl” by The Temptations
What’s your Facebook status at the moment?
I don’t have a Facebook but I do run my own Myspace, so I go on every day and update, blog and talk to the fans. So to be honest with you, I really don’t know how to run the Facebook that well, I’m much more of a my Myspace boy.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I love to cook! It’s always trial and error, it’s not like I’m trained but I make pretty good Lasagne, a pretty good Casserole and I’m good with the grill, steaks and chops and stuff like that!
Who are your heroes?
My dad and James Brown.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Go with your instincts and your gut feeling.
What item could you not leave home without?
Definitely my iPod.
SPEED ROUND! What’s your favorite:
Candy: Dark dark super bitter chocolate
Film: “Pulp Fiction”
Book: “A Cook’s Tour” by Anthony Bourdain
Band: The Beatles
Item of clothing: Jackets
What’s your motto for life?
Happy to be here, easy to work with!
Check out JessMac’s new single “Leavin’” now on the fred flare boombox!
To keep up with Pink Lady Lisa when she’s not hitting on cute popstars, check her out here.