Jesse McCartney Talks New Music, Reinventing Himself and Wedding Planning Amid Quarantine (Exclusive)

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Jesse McCartney is ready for the world to see a whole new side of him.

ET exclusively caught up with the 33-year-old singer via Zoom this week, after he was crowned the season 3 runner-up of The Masked Singer, behind the show's first female champion, Kandi Burruss. McCartney spoke about how he hopes his experience in the competition, along with his new music, will reintroduce fans to the artist he is today.

"I'm not gonna lie to you, when you get that far into the competition, you wanna win," he told ET's Deidre Behar. "It was a bit of a disappointment when I didn't win, but ultimately it still felt like a win. I feel like I got a lot of support from all of my fans and everyone on social media."

"This show was an opportunity to show my growth over the years, vocally and musically, that I developed, and I think we achieved it," he added. "I came in the industry at a very young age and my vocal chops were just not what they are now when I was 16, 17. At that age, you're still developing so much, and to break out at that age, I think people expect you to stay at that level."

Jesse McCartney on The Masked Singer
FOX via Getty Images

McCartney first gained fame as a child star in the late 1990s, appearing on the daytime drama All My Children, and kicking off his musical aspirations with the pop boy band Dream Street. The New York native's music career then skyrocketed when he branched out as a solo artist in 2003, releasing hits like "Beautiful Soul," "Don't You," and "Why Don't You Kiss Her."

A lot has obviously changed for McCartney since then. He told ET that he can personally relate to Taylor Swift’s relationship with fame, as she, too, grew up in the spotlight. 

"I was watching Taylor Swift's [Miss Americana] documentary recently, and she said something along the lines of, 'People will always remember you as the person [you were] when you came onto the scene.' When you were first famous, that's the image that people have burned into their minds," he said. "That really spoke to me because I feel like so often people are like, 'Whoa, dude, you look so different.' And I'm like, 'Duh, that was 16 years ago.'"

"It is incredibly hard to break down these walls that people have built and compartmentalized you in," he continued. "But ultimately a show like The Masked Singer allows you to do that, and this new album that I'll be putting out ... I think pulls people back in and reintroduces them to who I am today."

McCartney dropped his latest single, "Friends," this week, which couldn't have come at a more perfect time. With lyrics like "Thank God I got my friends, I don't even wanna know where I'd be without them," it's a feel-good track that gives his fans some comfort as they continue to quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"I actually wrote and recorded it nearly a year ago when I was making this album. I had no idea at the time that we'd be facing a worldwide pandemic," he revealed. "It does feel like a great morale boost for right now to release it during these times where we're all stuck inside, missing our friends more than anything."

As for his personal life, McCartney -- who got engaged to Katie Peterson last fall -- is eager to solidify his wedding plans. He shared some of their wishes for their big day, along with the challenges they've faced due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

"We were hoping to get married next spring," he shared. "We almost pulled the trigger for September of this year, which would have been terrible because it would have had to be postponed. Hopefully by next spring we'll be OK."

"I do want an outdoor wedding for sure, and I gotta have live music. I want a huge band ... I want the works when it comes to live music," he continued. "Luckily, one of the first places we saw, we fell in love with. In Northern California, we found an area that we really love, but until we know what's going on with COVID, we can't really set any plans or reserve any dates."

Hear more in the video below.

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