Why isn’t Jesse McCartney more famous?

jesse mccartney wood background

Jesse McCartney has it all. He dances like Justin Timberlake, belts piano ballads like Lady Gaga, and writes hooks better than almost anyone in the music industry. He’s stayed in step with fans, grown as an artist, and produced dozens of pitch- perfect pop songs. So why isn’t Jesse McCartney more famous?

Jesse McCartney just wrapped touring for his latest album, In Technicolor, available now.

My friends and I have been fans of Jesse since 2004’s Beautiful Soul. The titular single topped adult contemporary radio and still gets tons of airplay. “Beautiful Soul”’s success could pretty much have set Jesse up as a one- hit wonder and made sure he had money for the rest of his life, but the singer kept going: for three albums, 13 singles, and ten years.  (He also co- wrote “Bleeding Love”, that song that made Leona Lewis famous.)

Chart- wise, Jesse peaked with “Beautiful Soul”- which is remarkable because so many of his songs are so. Damn. Catchy.

Jesse has boy- band roots with the group Dream Street, the slightly younger and cleaner version of The Backstreet Boys. Hollywood Records, part of the Disney Music Group, produced Jesse’s first three albums. EightOEight records, a sublabel of Hollywood Records, produced In Technicolor. Jesse has had a lucrative relationship with Disney, contributing to numerous Disney soundtracks and compilations, guest- starring in live action television, and providing voice talents in Alvin and the Chipmunks (he’s Theodore) and the Tinkerbell franchise.  He also starred in a small independent film called Keith. 

Jesse’s first two albums played to the fancies of teenage girls. They include some dorky tracks. Departure, released in 2008 and re- released in 2009 with remixes and four bonus tracks, explores hip- hop and R&B. Departure has some serious winners but trips over itself in a few places. In Technicolor wins. It like sounds the product of a self- assured artist with pop music savvy and a lifetime of experience.

I can’t help but compare Jesse to the other J- name in music, Justin Timberlake. Both boys got their starts in boy bands. They both make the same kinds of music. They both have backup dancers. They both have tons of experience, and they’re both super talented.

No pop album can touch Justin’s Futuresex/Lovesounds, but The 20/20 Experience disappointed me. In Technicolor filled a void created by the 20/20 experience. I wanted a solid follow- up to Futuresex/Lovesounds full of matured pop/R&B sensibilities. Jesse did it without Timbaland, without Jay-Z and without a shitton of VMAs. Jesse works his butt off. So why isn’t he more famous?

After seeing him on tour, the answer is probably, he’s famous enough. Jesse seems genuinely humbled and honored by the screaming girls who come out to see his shows. “It’s so nice to see people are actually here on purpose,” he joked at last night’s House of Blues gig. Jesse gets plenty of work and still gets to do what makes him happy: making music. He’s had a solid career many former boy- banders should envy. Still, I can’t help but feel like such a talented, hardworking dude should be more appreciated. Still need convincing? Give a listen to some of these tracks from Jesse’s albums.

jesse technicolor tour

In Technicolor

In Technicolor, Parts I & II

Back Together

Young Love


All About Us

Punch Drunk Recreation

Tie The Knot

Goodie Bag

Single- “Shake” 

Departure (Recharged)


How Do You Sleep? Feat. Ludacris

My Baby


Crash & Burn

Body Language feat. T.I.

 Right Where You Want Me

Right Where You Want Me

Just So You Know


Just Go

We Can Go Anywhere


Beautiful Soul

She’s No You

Beautiful Soul

What’s Your Name?

Because You Live

Why Is Love So Hard To Find?









3 comments on “Why isn’t Jesse McCartney more famous?

  1. You’re completely right ; nothing more to add … just ‘Keith’ should be more appreciated too

  2. I have only just come across this article and website for that matter. It’s quickly become my favourite and you’re so on point with this piece. Jesse is so much more talented than most popular artists these days in my opinion. Sure, he had his time when Beautiful Soul first dropped but even since then he’s gotten so much better in everything he pursues and he deserves a lot more credit and recognition for not only his work, but keeping his head through it all. I adore this piece and I’m so happy I’m not the only who sees how incredible and unappreciated Jesse is. Thank you!

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