Two decades after he exploded onto the pop scene with his debut album, “Beautiful Soul,” everyone’s tween crush, US singer Jesse McCartney, is all grown up and better than ever.
The 32-year-old is gearing up to give Aussie and New Zealand fans a hefty dose of ‘90s and ‘00s nostalgia as part of the So Pop! concert tour in 2020.
Last year’s shows were headlined by iconic acts AQUA, the Vengaboys and B*Witched but, in an exclusive chat with Yahoo Lifestyle, the chart-topper is confident he and his fellow musicians can fill those big shoes.
“I’m very much up to it and I think everyone on the bill is up to it, The Pussycat Dolls, Smash Mouth, I think it’s going to be bigger and better than last year,” he says.
The native New Yorker is ‘excited’ to head back down under 14 years after his very first visit as a fresh-faced teen star.
“I had such a great time on my first time down there and it’s always nice to see people on the other side of the globe singing along to your songs,” he says.
While Jesse released a few new singles including "Better With You" in 2018 and is planning to drop his fifth album in the ‘first half of 2020’, So Pop! punters can rest assured his early hits are firmly on the setlist.
“We’re going to play the oldies and goodies as well as some new stuff but we can’t leave out all the songs that got me here,” he says.
Jesse remembers his “Beautiful Soul” era fondly but dig a little deeper and you’ll find there’s so much more to the star than a “16-year-old kid with long blonde hair singing PG-rated pop music”.
The multi-talented singer, actor and songwriter is the real deal, with writing credits on multiple Disney soundtracks and also the worldwide smash hit Leona Lewis song, “Bleeding Love”.
“Yeah, I wrote ‘Bleeding Love’ with [fellow singer/songwriter] Ryan Tedder back in 2008 which was quite a big success for me as a songwriter,” he explains.
The song became the best-selling single of 2008 globally and was a ‘special’ moment of validation for Jesse, allowing him to “bridge that gap from tween singer to establish publisher and songwriter”.
Unlike many of his contemporaries such as Aaron Carter and Amanda Bynes who have struggled with life in the spotlight as adults, Jesse puts his two-decades-and-counting career down to one thing, hard work.
“I’ve been able to stay in the game by just keeping my head down and focusing on the work,” he says.
Jesse’s big year
With So Pop! and a new album on the way, 2020 is ‘definitely another big music year’ for Jesse but also in terms of his personal life after popping the question to his girlfriend of seven years, Katie Peterson, in September.
“I just got engaged a couple of months ago so my fiancé is coming with me. I’m going to show her the ropes, we’ll do all the touristy things like the Opera House, maybe see a show,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“Unfortunately, we won’t have a ton of time off but as long as I get to go out and have a few pints and some great food I’ll be super stoked,” he adds with a laugh.
Looking ahead to the couple’s wedding, Jesse reveals he’s pretty hands-off.
“I told Katie that the only thing I get to be in charge of is the live music and she agreed happily,” he says.
“She gets to pick out all the linens, the cake, the dress, she can tell me who gets to be in the wedding for all I care as long as I’m in charge of the band, I know I want a big, big band with live music all night”.
“She’ll let me know if it’s not great, trust me,” he jokes.
So Pop! 2020 tour dates and tickets
So Pop! will return to Australia and New Zealand in April and May 2020, with shows in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne.
Acts include The Pussycat Dolls, Steps, Jesse McCartney, Smash Mouth, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Alice DJ, Whighfield, Reel 2 Real and Samantha Mumba.
The Frontier members pre-sale begins 1 pm Wednesday, December 4 and ends 1 pm Thursday, December 5 (Local Time).
Tickets go on sale to the public at 11 am on Monday, December 9.
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