Jesse McCartney

Theo Wargo/

Jesse McCartney may sing "Leavin," but he's not going anywhere anytime soon.

The song, his first single off his third solo album, Departure, has pushed the 21-year-old former teen star to the top of the charts. And now he's about to kick off a 16-city North American tour with American Idol winner Jordin Sparks on Aug. 5 in Sacramento, Calif.

I caught up with McCartney during a rehearsal break earlier today. We talked Miley Cyrus, Natasha Bedingfield and whether he's romancing Danity Kane's Aubrey O'Day...

There have been rumors out there that you're dating, or were dating, Aubrey O'Day. Are you dating her?
We went out one night. My whole band and all my friends where there. Her friends were there. We went out that one night, but it never really amounted to anything.

Miley Cyrus told me she's thinking it may be time for Hannah Montana to come to an end sooner than later. You made the transition from teen star to young adult. Do you have any advice for her?
As long as you're honest and not forcing anything, you'll be fine. Miley's gonna be fine. She's so good. She's gonna be just fine.

You cowrote Leona Lewis' hit "Bleeding Love" with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic. How did that come about?
We were building up my catalog for [Departure], and that was one of the songs that came out. We decided that it's a good song but it's not gonna be right for this album. We felt it was a really strong record, but we said it should be a female. It should be for a girl. I hadn't even heard of Leona at the time, and then Simon Cowell came and said, "Look, I have the X Factor winner." I was like, "All right!"

Who are you going to work with next?
I recently had a radio gig with Natasha Bedingfield, and we were backstage, and we were talking, and we swapped numbers. I was like, "Let's get together and write something. Let's do something. Let's go to the studio and jam." She was down…I would love to do something with her. She's an amazing vocalist.

What are three things you must have with you on tour?
I usually bring my laptop for music and communication, a photo album of family and friends and my pillow. I always bring my own pillow. I don't sleep on anybody else's pillow except mine.

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