The Tuesday after Christmas is typically one of the quietest album release dates of the calendar year, with most other titles out in time to become stocking stuffers. "Have It All," Jesse McCartney's fourth effort on Hollywood Records, is one of the only major releases slated to hit stores on Dec. 28 - but the pop singer is comfortable having that week all to himself.
"Honestly, I don't think it really matters what week the album is released," McCartney says. "I'd rather have a nice, steady build than an immediate peak. I just want to keep saturating the market and radio with as many hit records as I can."
An album with consistent sales and slow-growing singles wouldn't be an anomaly for McCartney, who has become a steady pop presence after breaking out with boy band Dream Street in the early '00s. The title track to 2005 album "Beautiful Soul" peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, while his last effort, 2008's "Departure," has sold 257,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and spawned two singles ("Leavin' " and "How Do You Sleep") that lingered in the top 40.
As bouncy new single "Shake" continues to grow at radio, McCartney has positioned himself to fill a void among male pop artists left by another boy band member-turned-solo star.
"[Jesse] has the ability to push himself into that Justin Timberlake world," says producer Sean Garrett, who worked on three album tracks. "Justin put out records that show his fearlessness, and Jesse has songs on this album that give him that same validity."
After kicking off his career at age 12, the 23-year-old singer says that he wanted his fans to "hear the adulthood shining through" on his fourth album. McCartney started recording "Have It All" in Los Angeles at the beginning of last year, tapping producers like Ammo (Ke$ha, Katy Perry) and Young Money artist Kevin Rudolf for a more mature sound.
McCartney recorded 50 songs for the album before whittling his collection to 11 tracks, which include possible second single "Have It All" and "Undo," a slow jam sung entirely in falsetto. Aside from rapper Tyga on the track "I Don't Normally Do This," "Have It All" doesn't feature any vocal collaborators-a move that McCartney says let the album "not [have] a lot of fat and get straight to the point."
In September, "Shake" was the first song to premiere using the mobile music game Tap Tap Revenge, which lets fans familiarize themselves with beats using their fingers. "Have It All" was originally given a January release date, but Hollywood Records senior VP of marketing Ken Bunt says the label bumped up the release to Dec. 28 partially to capitalize on the bevy of big-box gift cards given out during the holidays.
"We consulted with some retailers, including iTunes, and they're always seeing a lot of activity as a result of gift cards or an influx of cash given for the holidays," Bunt says. "It is an unusual time period, but to have something debut in the marketplace at that time, it's like, 'Oh, look, I've been waiting for this album and I have $20 from grandma.' "
The sexy music video for "Shake" premiered exclusively on E! on Nov. 17, which Bunt says helped "focus on the 18-34 consumer." McCartney will spend the time before the album release on a radio promo tour that has thus far included surprise visits and lounge performances at stations across the United States.
McCartney, who has starred on "All My Children" and "Greek," will also be mulling some new acting opportunities soon, although he says he doesn't yet have any confirmed projects.
As for his songwriting career, which thus far has included credits on Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" as well as tracks for Toni Braxton and Jordin Sparks, McCartney says he has several projects in the works but not yet finalized. He won't confirm the rumor that he's writing for Justin Bieber, but says that he has been "working with some premier artists in the studio."