Jesse McCartney on touring, Wisconsin and his first cheese curd

By Mia Sato

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Early-2000s pop sensation and actor Jesse McCartney made a stop in Madison on Jan. 29, much to the delight of longtime fans (including a few Emmie staff members). In an Emmie magazine exclusive, McCartney answered our questions via email despite his busy touring schedule. Here’s what he had to say about Wisconsin and our cheese curds, getting back out on the road and more.

Tickets to your show in Madison sold out incredibly quick, and a Change.org petition was even created calling for additional shows. Did you expect such a strong response from fans?

It’s great when a show sells out super fast, but I am bummed for the people who didn’t get in. I wish every fan who wants to be there gets to come to the show. I guess I’ll have to come back!

The announcement of your show took a lot of people by surprise. How did the decision to tour again (and visit Madison) come about?

I’ve been touring colleges the past few years because that’s where my best and most loyal fans are these days. The choice to do UW Madison came about because the school made an offer I couldn’t refuse! My team has booked more college shows this year than any other.

Have you ever been to Wisconsin? What are your impressions of the state, its people and the culture?

I’ve been to Green Bay before but this trip we did a lot of driving between cities and I got to see much more of Wisconsin, including Madison for the first time. Madison just felt like a fun town! I saw some people ice fishing and ice kiting on the lake. Next time I come I want to try some of the cold weather sports out there. Also, a fan at the Stevens Point meet and greet brought me some cheese curds so I discovered how delicious and weirdly squeaky they are.

You stepped away from music for a bit to pursue acting. Which do you prefer?

I get this question a lot and I’ve never changed my answer which is “both.” When I’m working as an actor, I love every minute of it, and when I’m singing onstage I also love every minute. It’s a little harder to say every minute of songwriting is easy, but when I know I’ve written a great song there just is no better feeling.

Many of the people coming out to your show in Madison grew up on your music. How does it feel to be reunited, so to speak, with long-time fans?

It’s always amazing!! Thank you UW-Madison for inviting me!

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