It looks like 2019 may be the year in which fans get a genuine peek at Jesse McCartney’s “beautiful soul.”
Four years after his fourth studio album In Technicolor, the former Dream Street member broke his lengthy musical hiatus with the two 2018 singles “Better with You” and “Wasted.” And with his ongoing 2019 Resolution Tour and an upcoming studio album, more is yet to come.
The Daily Texan had the chance to speak with McCartney about his musical journey before his sold-out, Jan. 12 performance at Austin’s Historic Scoot Inn.
The Daily Texan: How does your musical style now differ from that of the past?
Jesse McCartney: In many ways, I think it’s come full circle. Actually a lot of the songs you hear, like “Better with You” for instance, is very reminiscent of the early stuff. Melodically, it has a lot of the same tone. Lyrically, too. That’s maybe why this last project has connected because it has a nostalgic feel to it. But (my music) has evolved, too. At the end of the day, I love making pop music and new, cool current sounds. It’s a hybrid, this latest project is music that has a timeless feel melodically but also has elements of what’s fresh in today’s pop music and pop culture.
DT: You’ve had a musical career spanning two decades. How do you maintain success in a rapidly changing entertainment industry?
JM: There’s been a couple of things, but just the eagerness that always wants to create new material and stay creative is what drives me. I’m an artist. Just constantly pumping out music for the fans is something to satiate them in this culture we have of never-ending consumption. Also, social media has changed the game a lot. Now I have direct access to my fans at any given time of the day. I can just pick up my phone and see what they’re into. It’s pretty eye-opening and now giving them direct access to my life, even outside of music — it’s really given some insight into who you are. The curtain has been pulled, and now you’re revealing more of your personal life. Back in the day it wasn’t so much like that, but now it’s good for longevity in a career.
DT: I remember reading that now’s the chapter in your musical career when we’ll get to know “the real Jesse McCartney.” How would you define “the real Jesse McCartney?”
JM: What you’re seeing on stage now is just a lot more of my personality and comedic side. Whenever I start a conversation, I look forward to the funny part of the conversation. I see that happening now a lot more on stage when I interact with the fans in between songs. I’m always looking for a joke and to make the laughs happen. For me, I’m a pretty laid back guy with a funny bone.
DT: You’ve booked around 60 concerts at college campuses nationwide. Why reach out to this particular demographic?
JM: There’s been a demand for it. A couple of years ago I was basically dormant in the college world. I wasn’t doing any colleges. And then my agents were like, “You know, I feel like you have a lot of fans in colleges.” And we got one offer from a school to come in and I went on social media and went on Penn State, for instance, and I would post about it and post me on the campus. It was a domino effect. It just became this business there in the college world is booming. It’s nice to know I have so many fans that are at universities. I love those shows.
DT: Are there any projects fans can look forward to in 2019?
JM: My goal is to finish this tour and try and finish an album this year. At the very least, several more songs. I’ve already done that between the summer and this tour. I’ve just been doing a song at a time, just doing it my way. It seems to be working. I like to tailor the song until it’s perfect in the studio and then shoot a video that’s conceptually all my ideas for that song. Rather than just do a bunch of songs, throw them on a CD that no one’s going to buy. It’s been fun, going into the studio with no expectations. If it works, great. And if it doesn’t, go back tomorrow. That’s been my motto this past year.
DT: What do you want fans to get from The Resolution Tour?
JM: I just want to put a smile on everybody’s face. I want them walking out feeling like we hit all the right chords. That I hit all the right spots. For that it has a lot to do with the setlist. We’re not ever going to not play “Beautiful Soul.” That brings everybody to their 12-year-old, ten-year-old, eight-year-old self, however old you are. And then, sprinkle in some of the new stuff so people can see where I am today.