In his joyous debut solo album, Jesse McCartney merges his smooth pop-rock vocals with soul inflections, a cascade of infectious grooves, playful dance beats, and countless instantly-memorable hooks. With catchy tracks and an emotive voice, 17-year-old McCartney revs up his musical appeal and unleashes a winning blend of heartfelt love songs and immensely appealing slices of club-friendly, soul-infused pop.
"I guess you could call my style blue-eyed soul," says the green-eyed singer. When asked who his favorite singers are, he answers "I never had an easy time deciding who my favorite singer or main influences are. There are too many." Jesse has blended his own unique sound with inspiration ranging from James Taylor to Stevie Wonder, Prince, Hall and Oates, and Babyface, as well as contemporaries like Daniel Bedingfield and Craig David.
Throughout Beautiful Soul, McCartney's charisma shines. McCartney is instantly endearing, conjuring up a personal yet universal work that delves into both his mature sound and youthful optimism.
It's only natural that the tracks on Beautiful Soul take an autobiographical slant. "Most of the album has to do with my relationships and their ups and downs," says the lanky blond. "It's the main theme on a lot of records, but that stuff happens to guys my age. It's pretty important to us."
Featuring the singles "Beautiful Soul" and "She's No You," the CD makes it clear McCartney wears his heart on his sleeve. "I'm more proud of that song than anything else I've ever done," Jesse says of "She's No You," a rhythmic wonder that melds percolating guitar riffs with swirling strings, while McCartney's insistent lyrics breathlessly plead his case. "When we sat down to write it we were in a really upbeat mood, fully-caffeinated and ready to go, so we wrote a fast-paced beat and absolutely filled it with lyrics."
Beautiful Soul is somewhat of a coming-of-age record for the mature-for-his-years teen. On his solo debut CD, McCartney shows he's an able young artist establishing his own terms with solid songs, great vocals with the collaborative assistance of hit-makers Matthew Gerrard (Hilary Duff, Nick Carter), Robbie Nevil (Babyface, Destiny's Child, Jessica Simpson), Andreas Carlsson (Britney Spears), and Desmond Child (Clay Aiken, Aerosmith). McCartney's co-written songs on Beautiful Soul include "She's No You," the apologetic "That Was Then," the concert crowd-pleaser "What's Your Name," and the dance-floor filler "Get Your Shine On."
For a young singer-songwriter, Beautiful Soul is an assured record with a romantic core. It should come as no surprise that while Beautiful Soul is the singer/songwriter's solo debut, he began singing at age 7 on the stage and later joined the NY-based kids group, Sugar Beats. He then went on to earn a platinum album at 14 as a member of Dream Street, whose self-titled album hit #1 on Billboard's Top Independent Album Chart. But, to quote one of his newest songs, "That Was Then." He's since built a huge, immensely loyal concert following as a solo performer, scored a #1 Radio Disney hit and earned two Emmy nominations for his portrayal of young Adam Chandler, Jr. on "All My Children."
McCartney's signing with Hollywood/Buena Vista Records in late 2003 set the stage for an impressive list of songs in film and TV soundtracks for A Cinderella Story, The Princess Diaries 2, Stuck in the Suburbs, Ella Enchanted and That's So Raven. It was while writing and recording Beautiful Soul that McCartney became one of 2004's hottest actors, co-starring in the WB TV drama, "Summerland," as Bradin, a troubled teenager whose life changes forever after a family tragedy. The Spelling Television-produced show has become the WB's most successful summer launch ever, with McCartney becoming one of its biggest new stars. High ratings have garnered the show a second season to begin airing January 2005.
"I feel like I've found myself," McCartney reflects, having matured since his young foray into the entertainment business. "Now I'm in-the-know about my surroundings and what I'm doing, and realize how I used to be pushed along, kind of spoon-fed ideas rather than having the opportunity to create my own. But those experiences are what you need to grow as a person and find your niche," he resolves.
"I started recording this album two years ago and when I started, it was a little like feeling around in the dark. But then at some point, it was like 'Click,' the light went on, and I could see what I wanted to say musically."
"When I first heard 'She's No You' fully mastered it took my breath away. This is it. There's no where else I want to be."
--- from the official Jesse McCartney website