Jesse McCartney

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

With his current single, “How Do You Sleep?” climbing the charts and a tour with New Kids on the Block on the way, heartthrob Jesse McCartney’s life has been pretty busy as of late. It can’t hurt that the singer/actor/entertainer has been hailed “The Heir to Justin Timberlake’s Throne.”

McCartney, like Timberlake, first rose to fame as member of a boy band. Eventually branching out from Dream Street to a solo career, McCartney has proven his prowess as a songwriter. Remember hit Leona Lewis song “Bleeding Love?” Turns out McCartney along with frontman Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic co-wrote it. Are you convinced yet?

McCartney took some time out Saturday to chat about his growing popularity, new single and his idea of a romantic date. Let the swooning begin.

It’s been a year since you released Departure. What have you been up to?
I’ve been in the studio. I’ve been writing. I’ve been working with some other artists. I did a TV show on ABC called “Greek.” Other than that just cooking, hanging out at the house watching the Food Network.

Are you excited about touring with New Kids on the Block?
I’m looking forward to it. Natasha [Bedingfield] toured with them and she told me how great it was. It’s an opportunity for me to play my music for a little bit of an older crowd which will be nice.

What’s going to be your next single after “How Do You Sleep?”
It’s a new record I just finished. I’m very excited about it. It’s with T-Pain and is called “Body Language.” I did a re-release of the album about a month ago Departure: Recharged. It’s one of the records that I added onto the album. It’s like a “Leavin’ Part II” is how I sum it up and hopefully it’ll be another summer ’09 song.

The girls love you. How do you handle all the attention?
It’s interesting. It’s kind of overwhelming. You never get used to that I guess. The fans have been unbelievably supportive. It’s been an interesting ride, this whole music career. I started at kind of an awkward age and somehow made it out okay and I owe a lot to them [the fans]. They’re the heart of my career and the reason I can get up onstage every night.

Do you feel being in Dream Street has helped out with your solo career? What do you like better acting or singing?
Dream Street was definitely a big chapter in my book and I had certainly an unbelievable learning experience. I was very green to how it all worked and the whole recording process and touring process and it opened my eyes in a big way and it prepped me for what was to come. I don’t really have a preference. I like to consider myself an entertainer in whatever outlet it is, whether it is music or film or acting.

Where’s the most romantic spot for a date?
I have no idea. I think just good food. Maybe my house.

What was it like working with the cast of “Greek?”
It was great. I had a great time with all those guys. Scott Michael Foster became a really good friend of mine throughout the process of filming and even after. We shoot pool together now in Hollywood sometimes. That whole cast, the writers, they really do an amazing job and the actors know how to bring it off the paper to life.

What are your predictions of big songs for the summer?
I’m really excited for the Black Eyed Peas. I think that did it again and I’m very excited and anxious for the album. I heard the next single that they’re going to push and I think it’s going to be huge. I’m going to pat myself on the back a little bit. I’m hoping “Body Language” is going to be the next summer ’09 record. I’ve been working on making summer records and I really want to see it go.

Concert Reviews

Zootopia Brings Diverse Lineup to New Jersey

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

Before I give my full report on Saturday’s Zootopia concert I have to preface this entry by explaining that I grew up listening to Z100. It was always my dream in middle and high school (I’ll admit in college too) to win tickets and attend a show. In fact, I can’t even count how many times I called the radio station in hopes to be caller 100!

Whether it was the Backstreet Boys in the 90s or the Jonas Brothers last year, Zootopia is one of the biggest concerts showcasing today’s hottest music and being behind the scenes always seemed so glamorous to me. Never in a million years would I have imagined I’d be attending and sitting in the press room interviewing the artists I grew up listening to. But, that’s exactly what I was doing Saturday night and loved every minute of it!

Upon arrival at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ, Wendy and I were ushered into the press room shortly before 6 p.m. The back wall was lined with video cameras while the front of the room had a dozen or so photographers vying for the perfect location to capture the best shot of each artist. We made our way to the seats and shortly after none other than teen heartthrob Jesse McCartney entered the room. After his photo opp. he made his way to the mics for a quick Q&A.;

I realized right away how aggressive you have to be in a press conference set up and by the time the third artist came in, I made sure I got a question in. While one-on-one interviewing will always be my favorite, this set up was definitely a learning experience. I plan on typing up the Q&A;’s from each artist so you can have complete access to what was discussed. Each night this week I’ll post a new interview for you — how does that sound?

As much as I enjoyed the interviews, I had to catch some of the show. While I’ve seen the All-American Rejects numerous times in concert, their live show is always a treat. Whether it’s frontman Tyson Ritter making peculiar comments to the crowd or funny facial contortions, AAR’s energy and stage presence is undeniable. Playing a solid set of crowd favorites, “Dirty Little Secret” and “Move Along,” they switched gears up a bit by ending with latest single, slower ballad “The Wind Blows.” Riding the waves off chart topper “Gives You Hell,” “The Wind Blows” is sure to do the same. The guys talked about touring with Blink 182 this summer, so be sure to catch them soon!

Kelly Clarkson is another must-see live. Her arena friendly pop rock is solid and her vocals are always impressive. Not to mention, she had everyone around me singing along to “Since U Been Gone” (yes, even the guys). “I’m all about quality over quantity,” Clarkson told the crowd. “My personal philosophy is I do not hook up…unless it’s Hugh Jackman or Russell Crowe or someone really hot,” she joked before introducing current radio hit “I Do Not Hook Up.”

Jesse McCartney opened the night and most likely had all the girls swooning in the crowd. While I watched most of his set from the press room, his dancing and singing style was impressive. Having recently been hailed “The Heir to Justin Timberlake’s Throne,” while McCartney definitely has big shoes to fill, I’m rooting for him. As if that’s not enough, he’ll be touring this summer with New Kids On the Block and will surely win over the older women if he hasn’t done so already.

The rest of the night included appearance by Sean Paul, LMFAO and Taylor Momsen as well as the hosts for the evening — Z100’s radio station djs. Ciara’s performance made me wish I paid more attention in dance class, as her moves were like no one I’ve ever seen while Flo Rida and Soulja Boy wowed the crowd and surely increased the energy for Black Eyed Peas’ closing set.

If anything is certain from their performance Saturday night, the Peas will have the album of the summer. While “Boom Boom Pow” is heating up the charts, next single, “I Gotta Feeling” undeniably will to do the same. The band proved the breakup rumors to be false and their show demonstrated that they’re in it for the long haul. Playing past chart toppers, “Where Is the Love,” “My Humps” and “Let’s Get Retarted” the Peas had concertgoers at the IZOD Center on their feet, dancing and partying along until the last beat of “Boom Boom Pow” was played.
Stay tuned this week for interviews with each of the performers!


Zootopia 2009 – What Do You Want Covered?

I’ll be covering radio station Z100’s infamous Zootopia concert tomorrow night at the IZOD Center. For those of you that don’t know the line-up, Kelly Clarkson, Jesse McCartney, All-American Rejects, Ciara, Soulja Boy, Flo Rida and Black Eyed Peas will be performing along with some unannounced special guests.

I’ll have access to the press room where I can ask each artist questions as well as tickets to cover the show. My question for you is, what do you want to know? What are you dying to ask one of the artists?

I’m going to have to juggle the press room and the performances from the looks of it, so what would you rather read about — an exclusive interview or concert review? Let me know! Question submissions always welcome. For more information on the show and for last minute tickets, click here. I’ll be reporting live via Twitter so if you don’t yet, make sure you follow me for up-to-the-minute coverage!