An instant Top 40 success, Departure is a new and edgier pop/R&B sound reflecting McCartney's growth as a singer and songwriter. “Leavin’ “, McCartney’s first single off Departure, spent five weeks at #1 on the CHR / Top 40 Chart and has gone platinum with more than one million digital singles on iTunes. McCartney collaborated with some of the biggest hit-making producers of today, including The-Dream (Rihanna's “Umbrella”) and Tricky on “Leavin' “ and Sean Garrett (Chris Brown, Usher), J.R. Rotem (Sean Kingston, Rihanna), The Clutch (Ciara, Mary J. Blige), and Eric Hudson (Kanye West). In addition to the success of his own album, McCartney co-penned Leona Lewis's #1 single in the U.S. and Britain, “Bleeding Love.”
"Going into this album I knew that I wanted to head into more of an R&B/soulful direction," he says. "Growing up, that was the music I listened to, and it's what I felt most comfortable with performing live. I made a shopping list of writers and producers that were known in the genre: Sean Garrett, Tricky & The-Dream, J.R. Rotem, and others. We just started writing for probably about a year-and-a-half straight, and collectively we established this new sound. It's the next step for me."
Citing Elvis Presley, Madonna, Prince, and Michael Jackson as some of Departure sonic influences, McCartney has done several large radio shows across the country in recent months. His constant companion onstage is a wireless UR2/SM58 microphone, the latest in a long line of Shure products that he has relied upon.
"I have been performing since...I guess since '04," the pop singer relates. "And I've been using Shure since even before then, probably six or seven years now, and I haven't used anything else. I've never had a problem ever, not once onstage, and I always use a handheld wireless. I never have to worry about something happening. I think there's a lot of comfort in that. When you get up onstage in front of 20,000 people, you want your stuff to work."
Christopher J. Roberts is McCartney’s monitor engineer. “The mic we’re using sounds great on his voice. I love dealing with the UHF-R system. It’s very easy to find frequencies, and it’s really dependable.”
Roberts presides over a stage plot dominated entirely by Shure, with UHF-R® wireless systems used on backing vocals, and a combination of wireless PSM® 700 in-ear personal monitors and PSM® 600 hardwired systems bringing each band member their own mix. Back on the drum kit, Shure’s large-diaphragm KSM44s serve duty on overheads, KSM137s reside on hat and ride, Beta 98s stand-in on toms, and a Beta 52®A/Beta 91 combo is employed on kick drum — usually mixed together to create the desired sound.
“Just like you’d think, the Beta 91 is inside the kick drum,” Roberts explains, “while the Beta 52®A is on the outside. Because of the distance that exists between the two in our setup, in the natural order of things they are usually out of phase with one another. So by simply flipping the phase on the 52, all of a sudden the low-end comes back—the punch, the tone, everything.”
Continuing on a journey through the input list, Roberts reveals SM57s on snare top and bottom, SM57 on guitar, and SM81s out front, working each night as audience mics. Using J5 and H4 bandwidths, the wireless systems count on paddle antennas for the microphones and helical models to keep the wireless in-ear systems working optimally.
McCartney recently premiered the video for his second single, “It’s Over” off Departure, exclusively on MySpace. The video, directed by Rich Lee, has already received more than 500,000 online views. McCartney's platinum-selling status began in 2004 with his first album, Beautiful Soul, selling more than 1.5 million copies. The album’s title track burned up the U.S. charts and topped the charts in Australia, Italy, the Philippines, and Taiwan.
McCartney also had major voice roles in two #1 hit movies this past year, "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and "Horton Hears a Who!" Earlier this year McCartney guest starred on CBS’s “Law and Order: SVU” and can be seen again on the small screen in March 2009 with a multi-episode arc on ABC Family’s “Greek.”
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