He still has a beautiful soul. Jesse McCartney is back and better than ever, and he spoke exclusively with Life & Style about his new single, “Better With You.” The Ardsley, New York, native made his return to music last month, and fans are loving it. So what's the meaning behind his new song?

“The song is about finding somebody during those weird or tough or awful, crazy times that's there for you and has your back and is your partner in crime,” the 31-year-old explains. “It’s definitely inspired by my real relationship. We’ve been together for five years. It’s hard not to draw inspiration from your real life in general.”

Jesse McCartney didn't hold back from gushing about his girlfriend, Katie Laura Peterson. “She definitely knows me backwards and forwards. She can gauge what kind of mood I’m in… when I come home, she knows if I’m in a good mood or bad mood,” he shares. “She’s just very gentle and very understanding and very good with feeling me out and knowing the right thing to say at the right time. People don’t have that gift, to know exactly what to say, and know exactly what I need to hear.”

But writing a love song came with its own set of challenges. Jesse took time over the last few years to travel and explore the world, so when he got back into the studio, he definitely felt “a little rusty.”

“Just getting back in and writing something that was decent seemed to be a little bit more challenging,” he says. “Being away for that long… you have to get back in and practice.” On top of writing, Jesse says he had fears about reconnecting with his fans. “I think part of me thought it would be hard to re-engage with fans after being away for a couple of years, but they proved me wrong,” he explains. “As soon as I put the song out, I could tell pretty quickly that they were waiting for music and ready for a new song. They really are the most loyal fanbase ever. They’ve been supporting me for over a decade now.”

It’s true. If you grew up in the early 2000s, you probably blasted “Beautiful Soul” on repeat and had a giant poster of Jesse’s face on your bedroom wall. So how much has Jesse's music really changed over the years? “[‘Beautiful Soul’] was my debut single, so for many people, that was their first memory of me,” Jesse says. “I want people to appreciate all of the new music, and in a lot of cases, I think they do, and if the new stuff tickles the nostalgic bone, I think that’s also a good thing. I think ‘Better With You’ does sound very reminiscent of ‘Beautiful Soul,’ both musically and sonically, it has that sort of feel, so it makes a lot of sense. It’s part of who I am.”

Be sure to check out behind-the-scenes footage from Jesse McCartney’s “Better With You” music video below!