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Jesse McCartney on how Kingdom Hearts changed his life

The musician and voice actor describes how the game began as "just another voiceover job" and morphed into something awe-inspiring

Image credit: Square Enix

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"At the time," says musician Jesse McCartney, "if I'm being honest, the first one I did was just another voiceover job [...]"

The "first one" McCartney is referring to is the second entry into the wildly successful Kingdom Hearts franchise, the collaboration that brought together Disney and Square Enix, changed the history of video games, and, as McCartney recounts, forever altered the course of his life.

In case you don't know, McCartney provides the voice of Roxas, a major character appearing in the Kingdom Hearts series. In a recent interview with Popverse's own Veronica Valencia, McCartney expounds on this life-changing game, admitting that it started out as nothing more than a job - "That's how I make a living," he says - that became something more the more he paid attention to it.

"[...]when I saw what it was becoming," McCartney tells us, "I was like, 'Oh wow, this is an important thing for a lot of people.' I started getting more and more into it. Now it's just insane what it's become."

And that involvement has only grown. When Kingdom Hearts III came out 14 years after its direct predecessor, McCartney was back on as Roxas, and fans couldn't have been more thrilled. In fact, reports McCartney, his stints on Kingdom Hearts have turned those fans of his voice acting onto his other, even more prominent passion - his music.

"I have people showing up to my concerts now that don't know my music," McCartmney explains, "They're simply Kingdom Hearts fans, with their Kingdom Hearts outfits on. They have all their air gear, their key[blades]. It's just wild."

And with McCartney producing more music every day (his latest album, All's Well, drops April 5), those new fans have plenty of his work to look forward to. As to his future with the Kingdom Hearts franchise, McCartney hopes to be called back, but can't guarantee it.

"I hope they make another one," he says, "I have no idea if they're going to. They never tell us. Yeah, it's just another thing in my career that took on a life of its own, and I'm just along for the ride."

It's a ride, we'd bet, that those keyblade-waving concert fans are happy to stay on as well.

Can't get enough of Square Enix and Disney's classic teamup? Check out the Kingdom Hearts panel from MCM Birmingham Comic Con 2023.

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Grant DeArmitt avatar

Grant DeArmitt

Contributing writer

Grant DeArmitt (he/him) likes horror, comics, and the unholy pairing of the two. He has written for Nightmare on Film Street and Newsarama, despite their better judgement. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Kelsey, and corgi, Legs.