Jesse McCartney Interview -- JJJ Exclusive

Jesse McCartney Interview -- JJJ Exclusive

Jesse McCartney reads an excerpt from “The Very Busy Spider” by Eric Carle at The Wonder Of Reading’s Explore-A-Story: A Celebration Of Books held at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood on Sunday afternoon (April 19).

JJJ recently caught up with the 22-year-old musician and chatted about music, funny YouTube clips and what he does to stay healthy. Check it:

JJJ: When you start on a new song, what do you start with ” lyrics, instrumentation, both?

JM: Depends. I usually like a chord progression or something to go off of so I can put a melody in there. But a lot of times you’ll start with a concept ” saying something that everyone knows but just differently and then you sort of go from there.

JJJ: How did you get into show business?

JM: I was born here in Manhattan and was living in Chelsea with my parents in an apartment til I was like 3. Then my parents moved out to the suburbs to raise a family.

(Click inside for more of JJJ‘s interview with Jesse McCartney…)

JJJ: Do you have any siblings?

JM: Eventually my mom popped two more out. I have a sister who’s now 17 and a brother who’s 12 named Tim. My mom essentially quit her job to take me down to the city everyday after school to push this career of mine.

JJJ: What made you want to pursue a music career?

JM: Well, my parents were both musically inclined. They both played piano and both were singer/songwriters and both were kind of theater addicts. They met in the theatre. My mom went to every school you can imagine ” she went to Julliard, she went to UCLA Berkley. Some families were into sports, mine was into music. I started in theater, on Broadway and off-Broadway doing a bunch of shows, musicals mainly. That’s where it all sort of began.

JJJ: Which instruments do you play?

JM: I played piano for like three or four years when I was younger and then I quit, which was a big mistake. But it was enough that I could read and write music. My chops aren’t there but I can read the charts and I can write a song. I mess around with the alto-saxophone. When I was younger, I wouldn’t have bragged about that but now I think it is a really cool instrument. I think there was a year in there where I played violin because my mom made me. It allowed me to sit down and write a song. I can fiddle around on the guitar a little bit if I practice. I have a good memory and good hand-eye coordination so I can play by ear. So I can sit down and fiddle around and get it. Plus I’m playing with some of the best musicians. My band is just like…it’s so great to have a band like them. You dream of playing with people like this as a little kid. We’re about to go on tour in December which we’re really excited about. A bunch of R&B cats.

JJJ: Do you have any rituals that you hvae before you go out to perform?

JM: We do a little huddle, we do a little prayer. We do a word of the day type thing where whatever idiotic thing was said earlier in the day or whatever comment that was really funny, we’ll make it the word of the day. I don’t know, it’s just a thing we have. I’m not a very superstitious guy, I don’t have any mantra or anything before I go out there. I just get out there and let the adrenaline takeover.

JJJ: What was the word of the day for your NFL Thanksgiving performance?

JM: It was actually lions. But it didn’t really help. They got their [butts] handed to them by the Titans but it was a fun game. I had never performed at a NFL game before. It was pretty overwhelming. I was a little nervous to tell you the truth.

JJJ: How was that experience?

JM: It was crazy. I think the realization that 40 million people were watching on television ” next to the Super Bowl ” the biggest football game on TV, it’s a little unnerving and can definitely throw you a little bit. I didn’t realize either that when we got there, we had like a four hour rehearsal the day before. I didn’t realize that it was going to be 300 dancers on the field, dancing to the songs. I had no idea that was happening, but it was pretty cool. It was quite the production.

JJJ: What was it like touring with Jordin Sparks

JM: Oh, we became great friends. Jordin ” that’s my girl. She’s awesome. It was a great tour, we had just the best time. She is so unaffected and just amazingly talented and the sweetest girl. Her whole band and crew ” her whole team is just real fun to work with. I’d love to do it again, it was great.

JJJ: Would you ever work on a song with her?

JM: Definitely. I talked to a couple weeks ago actually at an after-party and asked her about her new album. She says, ‘I don’t know. You wanna be a part of it?’ I said, ‘Yea.’ She said, ‘Alright. I’ll let you know.’ So we’ll see.

JJJ: Are you writing songs for a new album?

JM: Yeah, I’ve had the last month off to sort of sit in the studio and mess around. I’m working right now on Toni Braxton’s new album which is coming out the beginning of next year. Yet, another big pop diva. It should be fun. She hasn’t put anything out in about five to six years so we’re trying to write some stuff that is relevant.

JJJ: What’s the sound like for your new album?

JM: It’s so hard to think about now. I’m still knee-deep in Departure right now. I don’t know, it’s hard to say. Maybe it’s more rhythmic, maybe more R&B, it’s hard for me to say right now. I don’t know what mindset or head space I’ll be in a year from now. So far, it’s been two years in between each record and a lot has gone on in those two years, each time. It’s hard for me to be decisive right now.

JJJ: How did you celebrate your 21st birthday?

JM: Vegas. It’s kind of cliché but there’s a reason we all go to Vegas at 21. It was fun. We partied like rock stars and did a little bit of gambling which was a mistake because I’m terrible at it.

JJJ: Were you up or down?

JM: I was down. It was worth the entertainment I guess. But myself and a bunch of my friends flew down and we were there for a weekend, which is plenty of time and then we flew back to L.A. It was a good time, it was a great way to celebrate your 21st birthday.

JJJ: Do you watch what you eat to keep healthy?

JM: I’m sort of an extremist. It’s either all or nothing. A whole pizza or no pizza. I’ll go a couple months where I won’t even eat any carbs like I’ll stay on a healthy diet and go to the gym and I’ll be focused on staying in shape. And then there’s just, when you’re on tour, it’s just impossible. You’re eating habits just go array and it sort of becomes a rhythm. You’re on the tour bus, you’re eating junk food. You get off, you go to the airport and it’s either Burger Kind or McDonald’s. It’s sort of tough.

JJJ: Do you skiing or snowboarding or both?

JM: I’m a skier, I used to compete when I was younger. I never switched over to the board. I only had so much time on the mountain and I was pretty good on the skis. I never wanted to fall on my face in the three days I had on the lifts. I never gave it up. I’ve always been a skier. I do extreme sports. I love water sports. I water ski too in a major way. Every summer, my grandmother on my dad’s side lives in Connecticut on a lake and every summer we’d go water skiing and wake-boarding and all those crazy, extreme water sports.

JJJ: Did you ever injure yourself or wind up in the hospital with stitches?

JM: Never injured myself. Knock on wood. Never broken a bone or anything. Lake water is never fun, going up your nose. There’s meningitis and all that stuff. But so far no broken bones.

JJJ: Do you keep up with blogs? What are the top three sites you visit?

JM: Top three sites I visit ” I go onto my MySpace page just to see what my fans are doing pretty frequently. At least a couple times a week just to see what’s going on. I have help running it because there’s a lot of upkeep when it comes to a site like that. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t go onto your site every once in a while but you’ve been blogging about me which you said some nice things and everyone’s like ” ‘You gotta go on and check it out.’ I’ve been on there. I’m a YouTuber, like non-stop. I like all the comedic YouTube videos. I’m constantly searching [for them].

JJJ: What’s one YouTube clip that you enjoy?

JM: Seven Year Old Steals Car. Have you seen that one? Look it up. I’m serious, you got to see this. It’s hysterical. You should put it on your site. Everyone should see it. It’s sort of sad but…it’s old, but it’s just too funny. This seven-year-old kid steals his grandma’s car and crashes it. It’s hilarious. They don’t even know what to do, the cops. They’re just dumbfounded. Those are pretty much [the three sites I go on]. It’s hard for me to stay tapped into what’s going on with constantly traveling.

JJJ: How do you keep in touch with your friends? Facebook, MySpace, Blackberry, iPhone?

JM: I’m a Blackberry guy. I never switched over to the iPhone. I’m about to get the new one [Blackberry]. The Bold I guess. I really like the new one. I’m pretty much on the phone a lot, more so than I am on e-mail or on the internet.

JJJ: Do you have any favorite childhood memories?

JM: Yeah, growing up in a small town ” Ardsley, New York ” is one square mile. It was a pretty laid back town. I graduated from a public high school in a class of 150 students. I think just the smell of the fresh, New York air like in the suburbs and playing baseball every fall. I eventually played for my high school team. I miss all those memories, I miss that as a kid. Every time I come home, I try to shoot up to back where I grew up to get a dose. Brings me back to the good ol’ days. Now I live in smog-infested Los Angeles.

JJJ: What do you do when relax at home in L.A.?

JM: I have a lot of friends. A lot of musician friends, a lot of writer friends. If we’re not in the studio, we’re doing something. I love being by the beach. During this time of year, there’s not much to do at the beach. I love to entertain, I love to cook. I’m a big foodie, so anytime anyone comes over, I’m trying to get them to eat.

JJJ: What’s your favorite cuisine?

JM: French cuisine. With the French cuisine, you have to be politically correct. I love duck. I love cocovan. I just like the fact that they [the French] eat everything. It’s one of the oldest cuisines, it’s really refined. They use everything. If they’re going to cook an animal, they’re going to use every part of it which I really think is cool. It’s definitely one of the most fattening meals too.

JJJ: Is there any truth to the rumors about you and Danielle Panabaker?

JM: Yeah. She and I are really good friends and family friends too. I’ve known Kay, her younger sister, forever ” from Summerland. We were just out one night; she had went to some party or something ” the GQ Party and I literally wasn’t even planning on going out that night. I just got out of the studio and drove over there to meet her for a drink. She’s a good friend of mine.

JJJ: All of the girls you hang out with are just friends. When you going to get yourself a girlfriend?

JM: Exactly. Nothing’s ever materialized. I’ve always been traveling; working so much that it’s hard to be in a stable relationship right now. I just try to have as many friends as I can.

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Photos: Todd Williamson/WireImage
Posted to: Jesse McCartney
  • Lisa

    i hate his personality and attitude now

  • Mandyluv

    love him the gorg boy!!!!!!!!!

  • Kenzie

    post it (:

  • jo

    @Lisa: what are you talking about? he sound fine, he’s growing up

  • Bru Dugrey

    I loved the interview! He’s amazing as always! I didn’t know Jess used to play a violin! That’s pretty cool!

  • emily

    I love that book!!! lol

  • Michelle

    I loooove J-Mac. He’s been my favorite male sing for years! I really hope he comes to Oregon on his next tour! He and Danielle should date! I always liked him with his ex, Katie Cassidy, tho.

  • niki

    haha he should have as many friends as possible. i would definately like to be his friend. haha

  • V….4ever

    I am more and more falling in love with him. And departure bangs. Keep up the good Jesse.


  • priiscila

    love jesse mccartney!! his so sweet!! now he is 22!! i wonder what does he did for his 22 birthday? does anyone know that?

  • Danii

    aawww..loved the interview…… and really like his personality..thanks jjj for this… love jesse

  • bree

    that book looks more like ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’…

  • ashley

    JM: Exactly. Nothing’s ever materialized. I’ve always been traveling; working so much that it’s hard to be in a stable relationship right now. I just try to have as many friends as I can.

    jesse said that because he has a new gf but he’s starting tour and working a lot right now. they’ve been together for almost two months and it’s private but he’s practically falling in love with her. no1 knows who she is and u wont find her. she’s a huge fan and his best friend; they’ve known each other for over a year. after hes done working he’ll be with her. he went to Vegas for his 22 birthday


    I LOVE JESSE <3 he is amazing <3

  • Kimberly

    ashely…hwo do you know that??

  • tori

    hes become so caught up in hollywood that hes starting to sound like a jerk. i met him in new york and he seemed like he didnt even want to do a meet and greet, like he was too good for it. he was just lucky i was happy to be meeting him, or id give him a reality check…

  • Melanie mccartney

    wow. if you all were truly dedicated fans, like myself,
    then you would support his career and what he’s been
    doing lately. so what if he doesnt want to do a meet
    and greet, he doesnt have to do anything if he doesnt
    want to. he doesnt have time for petty non celebrities
    so suck it up. ive been to a lot of jesse concerts and he
    is a very talented person, something that you dont see
    too often in hollywood. hes got a good head on his
    shoulders and hes headed in the right direction with
    music and acting. so lisa & tori, please come back to reality
    and realize that he is doing the best he can to please his
    fans and to also stay true to himself. thanks.

  • Kimberly

    well said melanie! I dont see how he sounds like a jerk at all in this interview.

  • Maria

    Jesse is amazing. And i get the whole “stand offish” aspect you guys are trying to say, but its because he really does care about what he does. and he cares about his fans. Otherwise he wouldn’t be keeping up with myspace or his fans or all these meet and greets. Theres a reason he has soo many fans.
    He’s gorgeous and talented. I met him too and he seems very down to earth. Hollywood has not made him egotistic. He’s amazing. =D

  • christine

    you’re hot ! (=

  • maii

    his personality is grate ok¿
    hi is beautiful
    he dosent say nathing bad

  • Viki

    Jesseeeeeeeeeeee !!!!!

    Hey,I’m from Macedonia and I just wanted to all of you guys to know that here (in Macedonia) are the biggest fans of Jesse!
    He’s just THE BEST….
    We’ll love if he come here,because if he does,I don’t think that there’s gonna be inaufe place for all of his guys,and I know that his concert here’s gonna be THE BEST CONCERT EVER!!!

    Love you Jesse <3

  • Angel

    Jesse doesn’t have any gf that hes falling in love with. Thats just another rumor but unless I hear it from him or a family member we can trust I don’t believe it or there is exact true evidence!

  • Zoha a.k.a jesse mccartney


  • Ashley

    its no1s business and yeah its strue i wouldnt lie about that i’m not retarded. if u know him which i doubt you do then ask him yourself or his sister dumbass

  • http://Yahoo ALma

    wow calm down there turbo@Ashley:

  • http://Yahoo ALma

    that was a bit rude dont you think? If you know him than good for you noone has that luxury..if you know that for a fact than what would be your source? unless you are his sister relative or that gf we cannot find?or cannot find .there is no need to be defensive in this situation…jeesssh @Ashley:

  • Marion

    finally an american who likes french cuisine ! lol
    i can make u

  • Marion

    anything you want i’m french ! =P

  • fai ahmed al dallal

    hiiii omg i love u jesse mccartney ((J MAC))
    plz can u add me on my email i love and i wish u can come and do a concert in kuwait i wish u would it is an arab country btw plz if u can i want ur blackberry messenger pin plzzzz
    and do u have a FACEBOOK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!