Whatever Happened to Jesse McCartney?
VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu
WRITTEN BY: Val Namaki
Whatever happened to Jesse McCartney? Let's find out! This video includes "Right Where You Want Me," "Departure," Dream Street, and more!
Whatever Happened to Jesse McCartney?
Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re looking at Whatever Happened To Jesse McCartney?
For this list, we’ll be looking at this former teen heartthrob’s career and life, from his early days in the industry to what he’s currently up to.
Make sure to comment below and let us know your favorite Jesse McCartney song!
Born in 1987 in New York, Jesse McCartney loved entertaining from the start. Passionate about storytelling as a child, he didn’t wait to pursue his dreams and started acting in local productions at a young age. He even toured with the "The King and I" when he was only ten years old. And it wasn’t long before his talent was widely recognized. He booked the role of J.R. Chandler on the hit soap "All My Children” and played the character from 1998-2001. Thus began McCartney’s rise to fame.
Around the same time, he began his singing career. Like many, he got his start as part of a group. He started off singing with a band called Sugar Beats. Then, more notably, he joined the boy band Dream Street in 1999. They were quite successful, even earning a gold record. The group was together until 2002 before splitting up after the kids’ parents filed a lawsuit against the creators of the band. They alleged that their sons were being exposed to environments that were inappropriate for underage kids, and they won. Following member Chris Trousdale’s tragic death from COVID-19, the band virtually got back together for a tribute performance to honor him in June 2020.
McCartney’s stint as part of Dream Street was not for nothing. He effectively leveraged it into a solo career. He signed with Hollywood Records, and in 2003, released his first EP. A year later, his first studio record was released. The album’s title shared its name with its lead single, “Beautiful Soul”, which found success on the Billboard charts. It is arguably the song McCartney is best known for. Other singles from this album include “She’s No You”, “Get Your Shine On”, and “Because You Live”. His popularity rose and he started winning Teen and Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, thus cementing his place in popular culture. The album was a hit on all accounts, with the record itself being certified platinum. He also toured to promote it in 2005. Just like that, a teen heartthrob was born.
In 2006, he released his sophomore studio record. "Right Where You Want Me" was both the title of the record and its first single. Thematically, it was considered a bit more mature than his first album. It started out strong, making it onto the Billboard charts. However, it wasn’t as financially successful as his “Beautiful Soul” era. In fact, the video for his second single “Just So You Know" was never officially released in the US, reportedly because the label didn’t back it. However, it found some success in Europe. “Just Go” was released as a third single, but only in Italy. As such, he didn't do a big tour for this album and instead got back to work in the studio.
His third album “Departure” was released in 2008. His single "Leavin'" was a smash hit, and is actually his highest charting single on the Billboard charts. The song is also certified platinum. Afterwards, the track “It’s Over” was marketed as the second single. Following the release of this record, he co-headlined a tour with Jordin Sparks. A year later, a new version of the record called "Departure: Recharged” came out. It contained 4 new songs: "Oxygen", "Body Language", "Crash and Burn", and "In My Veins". He also collaborated with T-Pain on a reimagined "Body Language"and recorded a remix of "How Do You Sleep" with Ludacris. Those served as the album’s second and third singles, respectively. All in all, this era was a good one for McCartney.
It’s perhaps a little known fact, but in addition to singing and acting, McCartney is also a talented songwriter. To this day, he has a hand in writing many of his own songs. And that’s not all: he also co-wrote Leona Lewis' smash hit "Bleeding Love" with Ryan Tedder. His work on it even earned him a Grammy nomination. And while he gave the song to Lewis, he still recorded his own version of it that can be found on certain editions of "Departure". In other words, he’s talented both on stage and behind the scenes.
Throughout his career, he’s been affiliated with multiple Disney shows and movies, with “Beautiful Soul” being featured in “That’s So Raven”’s soundtrack and performed on “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.” And his covers of classic Disney movie tunes, like “When You Wish Upon A Star” from “Pinocchio” and “I’ll Try” from the Peter Pan sequel “Return to Never Land” are featured on various Disney compilation albums. Those are just a few examples of his magical work with Disney. While not a Disney film, but still loosely based on a fairy tale that the company is highly associated with and featuring a teen Disney star, the “A Cinderella Story” soundtrack also features two of McCartney’s tracks. Plus, he recorded a cover of the 1976 tune “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart” with Anne Hathaway for “Ella Enchanted,” a comedy that parodies fairy tales.
We know about the records stars release, but what about the albums that never see the light of day? McCartney's fourth studio album was going to be called "Have It All". Its lead single "Shake" was released in September 2010. However, the album’s release was repeatedly delayed for various reasons. At one point, he said they were waiting to see whether his upcoming show "Locke and Key" would see its pilot get picked up - it didn’t. Then, in 2012, his mother said changes within the label were to blame for the hold up. Yet after all that, the record was simply never released. Ultimately, McCartney parted ways with Hollywood Records. We’ll never know what might have been.
But he didn’t let that setback stop him from making music. After touring with the Backstreet Boys and DJ Pauly D on the "In A World Like This" tour, he dropped his single "Back Together". This would go on to be the lead single from his next album. He initially released an EP version of the record called "In Technicolor (Part 1)" as a preview for fans. Then, he released a second single, "Superbad". The full album, "In Technicolor", came out in 2014. Some of its other songs include “The Other Guy” and “Young Love”. And he did this all independently with his own label.
Then, after a lull in his singing career where nobody really knew what he was up to, McCartney returned in 2018 with new music. His song "Better With You" was his first track in four years. Later that year, he embarked on the tour of the same name. The next song he put out was called "Wasted.” It was followed by another tour and the subsequent “The Resolution Tour Live” album.
While he may be best known as a singer, McCartney got his start as an actor. And his love for it never wavered. In fact, he continued to pursue it in parallel with his music career. Notably, he starred in the WB show "Summerland" as Bradin. He also had a six episode stint as Andy on “Greek”. Plus, he was the voice of Jojo in "Horton Hears A Who”, and of Theodore in the live-action "Alvin And The Chipmunks" movies. He had his first major role in a feature film in 2008 with the premiere of "Keith.". Not to mention he’s also lent his voice to video game characters, namely in the "Kingdom Hearts" games. And those are but a few of his acting credits. However, he has dealt with his fair share of rejection too: he was cast in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Last Airbender", but was replaced reportedly due to scheduling conflicts. He has recently said that he hopes to act more in the future though, so keep your eyes peeled!
After a couple of years of flying relatively under the radar, Jesse made waves again in 2020. He captured the attention of audiences everywhere when he competed as The Turtle on the hit FOX show "The Masked Singer". On the show, celebrities dress up in costumes and sing as panelists try to guess their identity. He made it to the final week of the competition thanks to some great vocals and captivating performances. He finished in second place, behind the Night Angel, Kandi Buruss. In an interview, he said that competing on the show was a way for him to "pick back up", reconnect with fans and show people who don't know him what he's capable of. Well, mission accomplished!
That same year, McCartney also began releasing new music. In April, he released a single called "Yours", described as his "life in a pop song". It chronicles the different roles he’s played throughout his life, landing on his favorite one yet: his part in his relationship. Then, on the day before "The Masked Singer" finale, his single "Friends" dropped. It's described as "an homage to the people who became chosen family". Its video even features some of his "Greek" castmates in a clever way! Excitingly, his next album is set to be released later in 2020. He says he feels like things are clicking into place for him and that he's excited for this new chapter of his life and career. And so are we!
Throughout all this, big things have also been happening in his personal life. In 2019, he got engaged to his long-time girlfriend Katie Peterson. Unfortunately, wedding planning had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite this, they are staying positive and even lifting each others' spirits with their comedic "Quarantined Couple" videos. Released on Youtube and Instagram, they're short comedy skits about life as a couple in quarantine and published to bring people some laughs. It looks like Jesse McCartney, once a dreamy teen pop star, has grown into a funny and well-rounded adult. We can’t wait to see what’s next.