Pop artist finds his indie side

Now that he's not on a major label, Jesse McCartney — who'll perform in Irvine this week — hopes to have "full control" over his next release.

August 31, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Singer Jesse McCartney will open for the Backstreet Boys on Friday at the Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine.
Singer Jesse McCartney will open for the Backstreet Boys… (Handout )

It's a bit like the chicken and egg predicament.

What comes first, lyrics or melody? There's no empirical answer for Jesse McCartney — the process varies.

Although his songwriting is embedded in personal experiences and others he witnesses, McCartney sometimes wonders about the genesis of his tunes.

"Is it that the music I listen to goes in and makes an impression and gets all stirred up with other songs and comes out as something completely new?" the Los Angeles-based musician and actor said via email. "Or are some melodies just imprinted on a person when they're born?"

McCartney will perform a medley of old and new numbers Friday at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Along with DJ Pauly D, he will open for the Backstreet Boys.

Prior to leaving the dressing room, the singer, who last performed in Irvine with The New Kids On The Block in 2009, plans to join his band and crew in a huddle. This tradition, which starts with a prayer and ends on a cheer, unites the entire group, he said.


Born to Scot and Ginger McCartney in Ardsley, New York, he was first exposed to local community theater when he was 7. He picked up singing since his parents, both actors, loved the sound of music in their home.

Accompanying them to auditions, where he watched other youngsters try out for roles, McCartney knew intuitively that this was the path for him.

"I was really lucky at such a young age to find I had a talent for something that I could get paid for," he reflected. "As I kept doing it, the roles just got bigger and better until I was making a living. It was a natural progression."

Growing up, McCartney starred in "Oliver," "The King and I," "A Christmas Carol" and "A Salute to Broadway," and sang with the singing troupe Sugar Beats. These opportunities led to the role of Adam Chandler Jr. on the popular TV show, "All My Children," and a spot in the pop boy band, Dream Street.

Nearly two decades later, the 26-year-old hasn't had his fill of performing. Acting and singing come to McCartney fairly easily, he said, but it takes hours and hard work to perfect a role or song. Watching the final product come together in the end is the "best reward," he said.

While his 2003 EP — featuring "Beautiful Soul," which soared to No. 15 on the Billboard 200 — made McCartney a household name, the breakthrough represented a confluence of fortunate events.

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