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Exclusive: Jesse McCartney talks new single 'Superbad' and upcoming album

Singer/songwriter Jesse McCartney visited Z100 Studios on June 10, 2014.
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Yesterday on June 10, 2014 was invited to hang out with singer and actor Jesse McCartney at the Z100 Studios the promote his new single “Superbad." Z100 has helped to launch the careers of many artists and continually supports them as they have grown and established themselves in the industry. Jesse McCartney returned to music late last year with the four-song EP "In Technicolor Part 1," which teased a full-length album, "In Technicolor," due out this summer on his own Eight0eight Records. Read our exclusive interview with Jesse below:

Congrats on “Superbad”! What was the inspiration behind the song?

Jesse McCartney: “Superbad” was inspired by a number of artists, but I think mainly I wanted to make the lead off single something very simple but retro, and something you could hear completely. In pop music today, you hear a lot of production that just sounds like a wall of music, especially in the EDM and dance world, and I kind of wanted to steer completely away from that and just do something that was very basic, simple, and had a lot of live instrumentation. And I think “Superbad” is just that, a lot of heavy bass and awesome funk guitars and just a simple drum pattern. I think that’s all you need for a great song. That was kind of the idea.

Cool, and who produced it?

JM: The production team that produced the majority of this album, including “Superbad”, was The Eleven and they’re based out of New York.

What was the concept behind the video?

JM: I just wanted to make a video that complimented the song, very simple and classic looking. Nothing too trendy. This whole album has kind of this classic feel in my opinion, so I just wanted to make sure that we stayed away from anything that would’ve marked a moment in time, that’s like 2013 or 2014. So that was kind of the idea. I worked with Jacob Owens, who's a young and up-and-coming director, and he and I both collaborated and banged our heads together and came up with this concept. It took place in Beverly Hills, we rented this amazing mid-century home and it was sort of a day in the life of me and my girl just hanging out, coming home from shopping and she trying on all these amazing clothes for me. It’s really sexy and simple.

What’s your songwriting process generally like?

JM: I mean, it just depends. It’s always a different dynamic from producer to producer, writer to writer. It’s an individual experience each time. Most of the time, however, I do come into the studio with a either a lyrical concept or a melody line, or even a chord progression. I’m not the best player, but I can at least hack something out on the piano and say, “Hey, you know, I think this is what we should be doing.” So it just depends on who I’m working with. Sometimes I walk in and the producer has a full track and they’re like, “What do you think of this?”, and so sometimes I just write to that. So it just depends.

So on July 22, 2014 your new album "Technicolor" hits shelves. What’s your inspiration behind the title?

JM: Well I talk about this on the album, actually, in part one of Technicolor. I have this theory that all of our lives are black and white until you meet that person that makes you feel validated or just loves you for who you are kind of thing, and whoever that is in your life when you find them, they put the color into your world, and everything before that is just black and white. You're just kind of living until you find that person. And so, it talks about that in the album. That was sort of the concept. I also just love - I was really into that title. Early on, I remember I was thinking, “in technicolor” is very retro-sounding and has a very cool potential for artwork. So once I had that title, I just started writing and figured out what I wanted to say that incorporated that title.

What can your fans expect from this project?

JM: Just a really fun, upbeat [record] for the most part. There’s a couple of ballads, but really an up-tempo record. This is probably the most up-tempo record I’ve done in my career. If they like live instrumentation, if they like music of that time (the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s), that’s funky sort of pop R&B, then I really think they’re gonna dig this album.

Who are your musical icons?

JM: I mean, there’s so many, but if I had to pick a couple I would have to say Michael and Prince.

Tristen Yang contributed reporting.

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