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ATP! Interview: Jesse McCartney

It’s been four years since pop singer Jesse McCartney has released an album, and the now 27-year-old is ready to make it back onto the scene in a big way. His latest album, In Technicolor, released July 22nd, is a retro-inspired R&B romp that is lightyears away from the singer’s Beautiful Soul days and showcasing his growth over the past 10 years. With tour kicking off on July 25 in Charlotte, NC, the actor/singer has a busy few months planned. Taking some time out to talk to us before heading back in for some more studio time, McCartney chatted with us about his tour, album and the creation of his record label, Eight0Eight.

ATP: You just finished up rehearsals for your tour, which kicks off on the 25th. Can you tell us what fans can look forward to on this tour?

Jesse: Yeah, I just finished production rehearsals as of like, two days ago, and the setlist is pretty locked in. We’re going to do most of the new album, so you’re going to hear a lot of new material and of course we’re going to play all the old hits and stuff as well for the fans who have been around for years. It’s just a very fun, energetic show. A lot of dancing, an amazing live band that has a couple of guys that I’ve been playing with for 10 years. It’s just going to be a nice and intimate show. It’s at the House of Blues so I’ll really have a chance to hangout with the fans and talk to them. Sort of be up close and personal and they can just expect a very fun and energetic show.

ATP: There are also a lot of cool VIP packages for fans to get a chance to meet you before the show, right? 

Yeah! We’re doing this sort of VIP thing where one package, the diamond package, where fans will get the chance to come backstage, hangout, meet me in the dressing room, come say hi to the band, take a tour of the tour bus and see what life is like on the road as well as take pictures and get autographs. Everyone gets this really cool speaker box like one of those [Beats] Pills. They’ll also get to go to a soundcheck party, so yeah, they get a lot of face time and backstage time before the show starts.

ATP: That’s awesome! I really like that you incorporated the tour of the bus.

That was my idea, actually! I take full credit for that. [Laughs] I thought it would be cool because most people don’t get to see the tour bus, and they’re cool.

ATP: And I know it’s been four years since your last release, so it’s going to be really cool to see you get out there and play that new stuff, especially since the new album drops three days before the tour starts. So, with that in mind, can you tell us a little bit about the album?

Well, the album is called In Technicolor, and I chose that title because it had sort of this retro ring to it, and this album is just that. It has this big retro flair. You know, music that influenced this album was music from the latter part of the 70s, early 80s and there was a lot of pop funk going on. Earth Wind & Fire, Prince, and so this album was recorded, for the most part, with live instrumentation. It’s a very musical album, so for anyone who is really into music, or any musician that hears it will know that it’s a very musical record. One of the hardest things for me, and one of the reasons it was such a long period of time between albums was because I really wanted to take a step back and evaluate what it was I wanted to say, and what it was I wanted the album to sound like. I didn’t just want to put out another album that didn’t mean anything or just kind of was a record with a whole bunch of singles and with no cohesiveness to it. I wanted it to sound like an album that you could hear from song to song and hear that they were tied together in one way or another. So I really spent a lot of time on the writing and working with the producers experimenting in the studio.

ATP: Yeah, if it’s anything like the In Technicolor EP, you can definitely hear the retro feel to it. And I think it’s great how you can listen to your music from when you started to now and hear the growth of it.

Thanks! Yeah, I’m really excited about because this is like my proudest musical achievement. It’s a very personal album for a number of reasons. I’m also putting this out on my own record label, Eight0Eight Records, which is my first time doing something like that outside of a major record label. It’s a lot more work, but it’s a helluva lot more rewarding.

ATP: What pushed you to decide to create a label?

It got to the point where it felt like I’ve been doing this so long that I put my 10,000 hours in not just creatively, but on the business end. I’ve seen how it’s been done for four albums with a major record company. I had an amazing team behind me and I thought, “This is something we could totally do on our own.” I was very fortunate to be in a place where-- you know making an album is expensive and for most artists, the best thing about having a major record label is that they have deep pockets and they can fund everything and that is certainly one of the advantages-- but when you get to a place where you can fund it on your own, and you can make that investment, there’s a higher return at the end of the day. [Laughs] Also, creatively, you can do whatever you want without having to answer to anybody, you know? Because it’s the risk you’re taking. So I think that’s what made the lure of me going for the independent record company.

ATP: If there was one song off In Technicolor that really embodied what the album is all about, which one would it be?

That’s a really good question! I think the title track "In Technicolor." I have this theory that we’re all on this planet just living out the short amount of time that we’re here and we’re all here to search for that one person that really kind of sees you and values you for who you are and until you find that person, you’re life is just black and white and that person puts the color in your world and brings that technicolor. The lyrics in the song say just that, and so I think that that song really embodies what the album is all about. And I think that most people will be able to relate to that.

Words by Vicci Patneaude

In Technicolor is available now via Eight0Eight Records. Dates and ticket information for Jesse's upcoming headlining tour can be found here.

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