Jesse McCartney Comments on His Own Throwback Photos

By Nicole Mastrogiannis

April 5, 2018

Jesse McCartney is back! It's a new era for the Beautiful Soul singer as he's released a brand new single called "Better With You," his first new music since 2014's In Technicolor album. Jesse exclusively explained to iHeartRadio of the new song's inspiration and how it all came together:

"'Better With You' is inspired just the times. Last year there was a lot going on, both politically and socially, and it felt like a very angsty time. Like everybody was at each others' throats and it was just a very contentious time. When I walked into the studio, one of my friends, Brandon, who is one of the songwriters on 'Better With You,' came in and he's like, 'I have this verse, it's kind of like this uplifting kind of message, what do you think?' And from there we sort of expanded and out came 'Better With You' that day. I think we all kind of knew, in the studio, it felt very special. It felt like it's something that everyone should hear. No one was really feeling good, it was kind of a down and out time, and this song just has this positive message. And it's about finding somebody who makes you a better version of yourself and is there through the ups and the downs, no matter what. I think everybody can relate to that."

He adds of releasing his first new music after four years, "I think I was just anxious. It's been a while. It's been almost four years and I wasn't sure what the fans' reaction were gonna be, if it was gonna be super hard to engage with them again. But they made it pretty clear that they've been there, they've been waiting for new music and it's a really good feeling. It's very welcoming."

Jesse has been touring lately at different colleges around the country, and tells us, "It's gonna be a big musical year for me, and I'm thrilled to be back. It's been a while. I took some time off, did a lot of cooking, a lot of barbecuing, a lot of traveling, but time to work."

Speaking of which, McCartney has several new songs in his back pocket for fans. He explains, "I have a collection of four of five songs that I'm really pumped for everybody to hear. Maybe I, probably eventually, will make a full LP, or ... but I haven't set any timeframe on that yet. Just kinda taking it one at a time. I wanna nurture every single song and make it all about that song at that time, before focusing on a whole record."

With the excitement of new Jessy McCartney music, also comes all the feels and nostalgia from previous hits like "Beautiful Soul" (obviously) and "Leavin." So we got a little more nostalgic and pulled out some throwback photos of Jesse. Then we showed them to him, and asked him to comment on the pics from over years. Read on below.

The Dream Street Magnet

"Pretty wild, it's a Dream Street magnet. This was like one of the first, my first memories of recording music. I was in a boy band called Dream Street. We were pretty short lived. We were around for like two years in, I wanna say the year 2000, like '99, 2000. I remember we did a song actually in the year 2000 for Pokémon. So, that's how I have my dates right. I was the youngest in the group. I was 12/13, and this was the ground floor for what would become a solo career later on. But, it was wild. I remember it was my first professional tour. I traveled with Britney Spears for a while and I'm still close friends with one of the guys actually, so, this brings back a lot of memories. I didn't know I was on a magnet though, so that's fun."

Jesse McCartney, Dream Street Magnet

Sugar Beats Autograph Signing

"That's me signing, I think, an autograph. Probably circa 2003 or 2004, and it was developed at 1-Hour Photo. Yeah, no, this was during The Sugar Beats. Again, this was, like ... I don't know, really, the context of this picture, but it's me. I was also in a kids group called The Sugar Beats when I was very, very young. I do kind of recognize that watch, and that was a fake ring, and I remember it used to leave tarnished green, because it was not a real silver ring, because I couldn't afford a silver ring then."

Jesse McCartney Sugar Beats

The All My Children Days with Kelly Ripa

"That's me and my girl Ripa right there. She is, probably, younger than I am now in this photo, but she was just the coolest to work with. That was early on, on my stint on All My Children, and this is a blast from the past. I remember I was kid, we were both kidnapped, we were brother and sister on the show. I think she was my half-sister, and we were kidnapped because my father, Adam Chandler, was super wealthy on the show and they were holding us for ransom. And, it's not bad to be locked in a cage with Kelly Ripa, that's all I'm gonna say."

Jesse McCartney, Kelly Ripa on "All My Children"

The School Yearbook Photo

"I was cheesing real hard freshman year. I remember that sweater. It was a Tommy Hilfiger sweater, actually. I liked that sweater a lot. Good times. Ardsley High, freshman year."

Jesse McCartney Ardsley Yearbook Photo

Rocking One of 00s Biggest Trends: The Von Dutch Trucker Hat

"I mean, I am so cool in this photo, you guys. Come on. Von Dutch was, that was, like, the hat to wear. I remember ... who made Von Dutch famous? I know Paris Hilton was a big Von Dutch girl. I just remember seeing everybody in that hat. That is wild."

Lol. Remember Von Dutch? I’m sooooo cool in this photo, you guys. 😏 #FBF

A post shared by Jesse McCartney (@jessemccartney) on

Using Another 00s Relic: The Portable CD Player

"This is also in Dream Street. I think I did this one time, and then it kinda became a thing so I started doing it, regretfully so. I was listening to CrazySexyCool by TLC until that CD player exploded. I was just emphasizing that I listened to that record a lot, but I still do. Man, I was wearing a lot of jewelry for no reason at all."

Blonde. Platinum Blonde.

"Platinum, platinum, y'all. And that's the way to wear sunglasses, by the way. Just, like, drooped over your head like that. But the, the old fashion, like, boy band microphone. God, I thought I was so cool. I don't know what I was thinking. I mean, that was the thing. This is the mic you wore so you could dance, and you could bust out. Blast for the past. [I] was backstage at a Dream Street concert. I don't remember where. There were many photos like this taken around this time, but, yeah, I was crushing the tank top too with those huge guns. Look at that."

A Potential Beautiful Soul Album Cover

"This was a photo that was taken during the Beautiful Soul photo shoot, and it may have even been in the back of the album, and it was in a muscle car. Which, I grew up loving muscle cars. My dad had muscle cars growing up as a kid, and I was probably like 16/17 years old, probably 17 at this time, and was rocking the flip hair. Crazy, crazy times."

Early #BeautifulSoul album cover ideas that didn't make the cut. #TBT #Throwback

A post shared by Jesse McCartney (@jessemccartney) on

The *Actual* Beautiful Soul Album Cover

"And that's the actual cover. So, this is my debut album, there you go. For all of you who never bought it, that's what it looks like. I had a lot to do with [choosing this photo]. I mean, it was a group ... everybody kind of had their favorites. When you're picking an album cover, you get opinions from everybody. And everyone kind of checks off their favorites, put them in the dropbox, and it's like, 'okay, these are so-and-so's faves, my faves,' and then we just sort of cross reference who all agrees on the same one, and then usually pick from there. That's the look."

Jesse McCartney - 'Beautiful Soul' Album Cover

Backstage with Hello Kitty

"I did not get a campaign out of this either, so. That's Hello Kitty. This probably was taken at a gifting lounge, is my guess. It's like a Nokia ... remember the old Nokia phones, back when Snake, it was amazing if you had Snake on your phone? Yeah, good times.

Jesse McCartney, Hello Kitty

Photos: Getty Images & Rachel Kaplan

Jesse McCartney
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