When we’re ready, we open up at just the right time and share who we are with the world.
Maintaining a career marked by platinum success, performances for two U.S. presidents, sold out shows worldwide, a quarter-of-a-billion streams, and dozens of film and television appearances, Jesse McCartney opens up more than ever on his 2021 fifth full-length album, New Stage. The New York-born and Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, artist, and actor deconstructs his signature style with no-frills instrumentation, eloquent songcraft, and heightened lyrical vulnerability.
In fact, the record represents the convergence of numerous personal and professional strides as well as natural artistic progression.
“The album reflects on the journey through my late teens and twenties,” he explains. “In many ways, it was very therapeutic. I got to discuss some of my own insecurities, let my guard down, and be vulnerable — which was difficult for me in the past. For the first time, I felt okay being honest with myself and the audience. I was able to pull back the curtain and reveal pretty much everything. The album talks about what it’s like to have an all-consuming career and also what it’s like to be madly in love. It’s everything from the last few years of my life.”
Over the past few years, he underwent a conscious evolution. After a bout of writer’s block, he stole away to Nashville for a songwriting camp. At the camp, he experimented with different genres such as country and more. The experimentation rekindled his passion for songwriting as he eased into the pocket without personal attachment and stepped outside of himself. Ultimately, he drew inspiration from the experience. Upon returning to Los Angeles, he started to assemble what would become New Stage, incorporating the lessons from the trip and adopting a fresh perspective.
“I immediately got the bug and wanted to make an album,” he states. “The trip was really the catalyst. I didn’t have a blueprint, but it was very special. Country music is all about storytelling. That was what I fell in love with. I decided to apply this style of writing and storytelling to the pop world. I wanted to do a feel-good record with timeless and classic elements.”
In order to do so, he anchored the sound with straightforward guitar, piano, organ, and percussion “with no tricks or gimmicks.” The music doubled as a conduit to transmit feelings at their purest. Take the first single “Yours.” Backed by solo acoustic guitar, the track gives way to candid confessions. His voice instantly enchants as he admits, “Yeah, I’ve been a singer, yeah I’ve been a smoker, yeah I’ve been the face in every bedroom on a poster…there’s another side of me no one ever gets to see…”
“I wanted to come out of the gate with a song that’s reflective and hopeful,” he goes on. “It looks forward, yet it’s cognizant of what I’ve gone through and what it means to be an artist who also happens to be obsessed with his fiancé. It’s a wild ride to be in this relationship with somebody who I truly love and admire. Of all the things I’ve done in my 34 years, the most enjoyable moments are with her. I wanted to distill that down to three minutes in a true story.”
Elsewhere, “Friends” sends a dedication to his close circle of buddies with a buoyant chant, “Thank God, I got my friends,” above a Latin-style beat. Over this swaggering swing, he tackles a new style of love song — just dedicated to his friends this time around. Then, there’s “Kiss The World Goodbye.” Soft piano gives way to an impressive vocal performance. Handclaps build towards a heavenly hook inspired by his future wife. As he notes, it catalogs a “Bonnie and Clyde moment about me and my lady ready to take on anything and everything.”
The title track traces his journey from a “young kid with a family on his back” to “playing shows with the crowd screaming my name” and “standing on a whole new stage” upheld by delicate delivery once more.
“I’ve reached a fresh phase in my life and career,” he states. “I’m getting married. My music is thriving. I have an incredible fan base that continues to support me. I have so much to be thankful for. Now, I’m thinking of the future. It’s the beginning of the next chapter. It’s a new stage.”
He diligently worked to reach this stage. Since his debut as a solo artist, Jesse has built a catalog of instantly recognizable anthems and captivated audiences on the road and on-screen. His first three albums — the platinum Beautiful Soul , Right Where You Want Me , and Departure  — consecutively bowed in the Top 15 of the Billboard Top 200 with the singles “Beautiful Soul” minted gold and “Leavin'” certified platinum. Plus, he collaborated with T-Pain on the cross-genre banger “Body Language.” Meanwhile, Spin touted In Technicolor among its “Top 20 Pop Albums of 2014.” Along the way, he performed in arenas alongside the likes of New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys in addition to packing global headline tours and hosting shows for both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. A sought-after songwriter, he notably wrote the quadruple-platinum GRAMMY® Award-nominated “Bleeding Love” for Leona Lewis. In 2018, the one-off single “Better With You” racked up nearly 30 million cumulative streams and paved the way for his fifth offering. Simultaneously, his acting credits grew to include everything from Chernobyl Diaries and Fear The Walking Dead to Alvin and the Chipmunks, and even voicing the character Roxas/Ventus in gamer favorite Kingdom Hearts.
In the end, Jesse McCartney ultimately shows who he is on New Stage.
“This is the most intimate album I’ve ever done,” he concludes. “I’m leaving it all out there. I want listeners to know what it was like for me to grow up — all of the negative and the positive. I want to share how I feel about my relationships with my friends and my soon-to-be wife. I want to share a sense of hopefulness. I’m still the same guy, but I’m a little wiser and bursting at the seams creatively. At the same time, I still make pop music…and it should make you feel good!”
Soul translates everywhere. Whether in front of a computer microphone, in the driver’s seat of a car, sitting up on a couch, presiding over a sold out venue, or in front of a television camera, Jamie Miller packs raw conviction into every performance. Often inches from tears, yet intensely confident, the Wales-born and Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, and artist leaves everything on stage and on tape. Putting up nearly 20 million views across various platforms and earning praise of everyone from P!nk to Jennifer Hudson to Kelly Clarkson, he transfers this emotion into his upcoming debut on Atlantic Records in 2020.
“If you watch a video of me singing on Instagram by myself or see me in-person at a show, I always give it my all,” he affirms. “Every time I sing, it’s an opportunity to show people who I am, so I try to do 110%. I’m at peace knowing that.”
Growing up in the working-class city of Cardiff, Jamie publicly shied away from his natural talent. Worried about what his rugby and football player friends might think, he downplayed his passion and ambition. At the same time, he harbored an obsession for gospel, R&B, and soul fostered by mom and dad. His parents introduced him to Motown classics and the catalogues of Donny Hathaway and Michael Jackson at home — even though he often hid under the table in choir class, “so no one could see I was there from the outside,” he admits. After high school, Jamie took a job in a call center as he quietly honed his voice and listened to Bruno Mars, Sam Smith, and more.
“I knew I wanted to do music forever,” he goes on. “I never had a ‘Plan B.’ I come from a really small town. If you walk down the street, you’ll know everybody. It’s one of those places where you keep to yourself though. People have office jobs; they don’t become singers. I kept it a secret, because I was afraid of what everyone might think.”
Nevertheless, in 2017, at 18 years old, he mustered up the courage to leave home, temporarily move to London and appeared for the first time on broadcast TV in the UK, which led to an explosive online presence and viral displays of his incredible talent. Signing to Atlantic Records soon after, he relocated to Los Angeles and dove into writing and recording new music. A change of scenery, just the right amount of culture shock, and countless sessions shaped his signature soul-pop style.
“My sound crystallized when I moved to L.A.,” he admits. “When I was living in the UK, I was in my comfort zone. I knew my surroundings. I never really experienced anything I was afraid of. When I got here, I was in the studio every day. I had to write about my feelings. I didn’t know many people at the time, so I put everything into my music. I figured out what I wanted to do as an artist. I was such a shy and nervous kid. I’d put myself down. I didn’t really feel like I deserved the opportunity because of where I came from. L.A. can be a tough place, but it made me realize dreams do come true. It feels like home now.”
In the end, Jamie’s truth shines anywhere and everywhere as much as his voice does.
“I want everyone to know my music comes from a real place,” he leaves off. “It’s my life. I aim to give them three minutes of happiness. I came from a town where there wasn’t much opportunity, but I was willing to get out and move to the other side of the world. I’ve gotten strength from the journey. I hope to share it in the music.”
Throughout her life, music has been Casey Baer’s ticket to freedom. The LA native pop artist has overcome a childhood of debilitating anxiety and blossomed into an inspiration for others by writing about her feelings, relationships, and personal experiences. At the young age of 20, Casey has built up a wildly loyal and engaged following on TikTok (300k followers) and Instagram (140k) while amassing several million streams as an independent artist. She has been championed by outlets like Billboard, Radio Disney, Sweety High, Just Jared, iHeartRadio, PopularTV, & many others, while working with world renowned producers like Jordan Omley and Michael Mani (Lady Gaga, Tori Kelly, JoJo). Her latest single “Hollywood Hills,” out 2/26, chronicles the struggles of navigating the social world of LA.’
For fans of: Tate McRae, Madison Beer, Olivia O’Brien