Jesse McCartney biographyJesse McCartney Lyrics
've never felt the need to lose control / Always held on back and played it slow / But not this time..."
With these words from the title track to his second album Right Where You Want Me, an older, wiser Jesse McCartney is most certainly back. It's been two years since the release of Beautiful Soul, the platinum-plus selling album and Top 5 single which topped the charts in Australia, Italy, the Phillippines and Taiwan and made "Jesse Mac" a household name in the teen world. And in that time, the singer-songwriter and actor has seen more than his share of award shows, movie sets and sold out venues (Jesse garnered an American Music Award nomination for Best New Artist, an MTV Award nomination for Best Pop Video and three Teen Choice Awards, including Choice Male Artist, Breakout Artist and Crossover Artist). But in between his professional obligations, McCartney also took that time to reflect on how far he'd come.
"It's been a long haul, but it's exceeded every expectation on every front," says the now 19-year-old Jesse. "The last couple of years have been a roller coaster. It was mind-blowing and so fulfilling and, to be honest, I put every ounce of energy I had into it. "
That sense of exhilaration can be heard all over Right Where You Want Me, which combines Jesse's life-long love of R&B artists like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles and Lauryn Hill ("Just Go") with a newfound rock urgency ("Blow Your Mind," "Running Away," "Can't Let You Go"). "I wanted to take my music a step forward from 'Beautiful Soul,' to show some growth and maturity," he says. "It's the difference between being 15 and almost 20. At the same time, I think the fans have grown up as well and those that liked my first album, I truly believe will like this one even better. I'm really proud of it."
Another source of pride for Jesse was the fact that he co-wrote every track (except one), many with his guitarist and musical director Dory Lobel, as well as Adam Watts & Andy Dodd, the team behind "Beautiful Soul." "Adam and Andy were totally undiscovered when they wrote 'Beautiful Soul' for the first record," says Jesse. "But just like my co-writer Dory, they understand where I'm coming from musically. I definitely hit a stride with them and it was pretty effortless." That synergy can be felt on the title track, a sultry dance number which showcases Jesse's trademark blend of soul-inspired melodies with a distinct pop sensibility. "It seemed like a strong statement," says Jesse of the single. "It's about a girl who's in control showing me how to step up to the plate and be a man. And I'm right where she wants me to be."
The album also includes contributions from such hit-making writer-producers as John Shanks ("Blow Your Mind"), Kara DioGuardi, Greg Wells, Drew Ramsey, Shannon Sanders, Marti Fredricksen and Eman. But make no mistake, this is Jesse's project through and through, as one listen to the deeply personal "Invincible," which features a sparse vocal backed by a 15-piece orchestra, clearly demonstrates. "It's a really heavy song about a buddy of mine who died in a drinking and driving accident three years ago," Jesse explains. "I felt like I had to put that on the record because it contains such an important message for kids my age, which is to think before they drink and drive. It's so powerful that they'll have to listen."
Though Jesse exhibits equal talent in his acting, whether on a TV show like "Summerland" or a feature film like the forthcoming indie flick "Keith," this need to express himself is what has always drawn Jesse to music. It's also what made writing and recording this album all the more satisfying. Jesse elaborates: "People are always asking me, 'What do you like better, acting or singing?' I love them both equally, but the fact is, acting and music are very different. With a movie, so much is in the hands of other people, which is nice in its own way. But with my music,
I have much more control over everything. It's a little scary, but I loved the challenge. At the end of it, I like that I can say 'these are my choices.'"
After 12 years in "the business," Jesse has obviously made a lot of wise career decisions. Born in Westchester, a suburb of New York City, Jesse began performing at local community musicals at the age of seven, making his Broadway debut in The King and I when he was 10 and later appearing
with The Who's Roger Daltrey in A Christmas Carol. In 1997, Jesse joined kid group Sugar Beats as a vocalist, earning a Grammy nomination for best children's album for their 1998 release How Sweet It Is. He then joined the band Dream Street where, at the age of 12, he was presented with his first platinum album. By 16, Jesse was launching his solo career, creating songs for his first record while performing on dozens of sound tracks. The album Beautiful Soul was released in 2004, and the first single of the same name burned up the charts and sold over 1.5 million copies. His first solo headlining tour of the same name exploded that spring with a stop in 56-U.S. cities, and continued on to thrilled fans in Australia, Japan and Europe. Jesse then teamed up with The Backstreet Boys for seven sold-out concerts in Europe last fall.
All of those experiences, says Jesse, can be heard on Right Where You Want Me. "After being on the road for eight straight months, traveling the world, being inspired by different cultures and taking it all in, the songs just started flowing out of me. I became more aware of people,
the world and how it works. It was a challenge and ultimately satisfying to put that to a melody."
To that end, Jesse is truly enjoying every moment of his journey, and, to his fans" delight, the self-confessed workaholic has no intention of slowing down. "This is what I want to do the rest of my life," he says. "I can't imagine anything else." In that sense, Jesse McCartney truly is right where he wants to be - here to stay.
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