In honor of the 10-year anniversary of the Jonas Brothers' breakout self-titled album (their first with Hollywood Records), we're celebrating with a week full of JoBros features for our readers. This exclusive interview originally ran in its entirety in a 2007 issue of Life Story.
In the world of pop music, the norm has been for an older brother or sister to serve as the inspiration for their younger siblings. We’ve seen that play out time and time again, with Britney Spears preceding Jamie Lynn in the media spotlight, Nick Carter as a part of the Backstreet Boys inspiring little bro Aaron, and Jessica Simpson’s success proving an irresistible lure for younger sister Ashlee. In the Jonas family, however, things were a little different.
Nick Jonas was the first of the clan to have the desire to be a star, which eventually led him to Broadway and the shows A Christmas Carol, Annie Get Your Gun, Beauty and the Beast and Les Miserables. It was also Nick who was signed for a recording contract, but when he and his older brothers Joe and Kevin wrote and recorded a song together, the solo act became a trio and the rest, as they say, is history. In the following exclusive Q&A session, Nick reflects on his life so far, the success he and his brothers have achieved and the differences between performing in front of a theater audience and a concert crowd.
J-14: Overall, how is this experience for you, considering where you started and where you are now?
Nick Jonas: It's just so amazing for all of us. I think we're just having a great time and living the dream.
J-14: It's hard enough to be a teenager under normal circumstances without the spotlight. Is it tough adjusting to life in that spotlight?
NJ: We just really enjoy it. A lot of kids may wish for what we have, but the fact that we're able to have it is something that we're just so grateful about.
J-14: Didn't you, in a way, kick off this whole thing musically?
NJ: I recorded a Christmas song and a record label wanted to sign me. Out of that solo project I wrote a song with my brothers for it, it became a group project, we started recording together, we went to Columbia Records and then over to Hollywood Records and we started getting played on the Disney Channel.
J-14: Was there ever a moment of conflict over the fact that you had been signed to a solo project, but then it suddenly became a group project?
NJ: For a minute it was a little tough, and then it was all good when I realized how cool it would be to tour and record with my brothers.
J-14: Could you describe to me the sort of evolution of your career; how it got started and how it changed?
NJ: It probably started when we were signed to record together, but I think it really started to happen when we signed at Hollywood Records. That's when things started to pick up with the Disney Channel playing our music, and at that point we really knew who we were as the Jonas Brothers. We kind of took a hold of that and started writing some really cool songs while we were on the road. Then we realized that right after the video started playing on the Disney Channel, a lot of people started showing up at the shows. It was just a different thing. It was a pretty cool moment. We suddenly had an average of 2,000 people at our shows, whereas before that we were lucky if it was 200. It was pretty cool and things are still really happening now.
J-14: What are your reflections of the whole Broadway experience?
NJ: I did A Christmas Carol, Annie Get Your Gun, Beauty and the Beast and Les Mis. It was really cool, I had a great time doing it and I felt that it was sort of training for what I’m doing right now and kind of a “get ready” kind of thing. I really enjoyed it and maybe one day I’ll go back, but right now, I’m just really enjoying what we’re doing as a band.
J-14: The Broadway experience had to have been different than what you’re doing now – there are parts to play, things to do, and so on. For you personally, what are the differences between doing a concert and doing a Broadway show?
NJ: When you’re performing in a band, there’s a lot more on you personally than there is with a full cast of people. You have to set the mood of the show, you have to make it great. But if you’re down on a Broadway show one day, there’s this other person who can pick the show up for you. Whereas being in a band, it’s you and your two bandmates and you’ve just got to rock it out.
J-14: Did the energy of the audience and the connection between the cast and the audience help prepare you for the whole concert thing?
NJ: I think it definitely did in terms of learning how to connect with the crowd, though working the crowd is a whole different thing. In Broadway you don’t have to work the crowd and get them hyped up; it’s more about just your character connecting with them as well as the music and the story itself. But with a band you have to learn how to work the crowed, how to get them pumped up, and how to have them leaving saying, “Wow!”
J-14: You mentioned that you did four different Broadway shows. I’m wondering if each of those shows brings their own distinct memories for you.
NJ: Each one has its own specific memories. A Christmas Carol was my first Broadway show, so there was a whole lot of nervous energy going on. With Annie Get Your Gun, I was still getting used to the whole Broadway thing, and by Beauty and the Beast, I was getting accustomed to it all. I was actually there for a year, which was my longest show. And by Les Mis I was totally confident about the whole Broadway thing and it was very cool.
J-14: I would imagine that getting signed by Hollywood Records and becoming a part of the whole Disney “machine” must have been extremely important to you guys.
NJ: Oh, most definitely. Disney is the best thing that has happened to our career so far, and we believe that it can lead to all sorts of things.
J-14: Do you feel that there is a big difference between albums one and two just in terms of the songwriting?
NJ: I do. I think that the lyrics on the new album are filled with a lot more personal experiences and things like that. For that reason, I think that people will really be able to connect with it, and that’s really cool.
J-14: In our look at the Jonas Brothers albums [see separate stories], we discuss the track “When You Look At Me In The Eyes,” and how it was intended for your solo record but ended up on the group’s second album. What is the difference between your solo sound and the group’s sound?
NJ: I think my sound was a little more adult contemporary. If I were to release a solo record, it would probably sound a little more funky than a Jonas Brothers album, a little more R&B and Soulish. I love that kind of music and I would say that that’s my style.
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