Whether it’s recording albums as a solo act or appearing regularly on best-dressed lists, Nick Jonas knows exactly what he’s doing. The singer has managed over the last few years to cement himself as a real fashion player. And nowhere is this more apparent than with his new 1410 collaboration with upscale sneaker brand Creative Recreation: a collection of six sneakers (dropping soon) bolstered by two new videos that we’re sharing with you exclusively.
We spoke with Jonas about designing the collection, how he got into sneakers, and why you should absolutely get your suits tailored.
On working with Creative Recreation:
“I decided to work with Creative Recreation because I’ve always been a fan of the shoes, and when I met with them they had real enthusiasm about the idea of collaborating on something. [I’m] giving my fans, people that were familiar with my work, a piece of who I am through this sneaker collection.”
On getting into sneakers:
“I’ve become a sneaker guy more so the last couple of years. My stylist, Avo, has done a great job of introducing me to a lot of great stuff—kind of putting a collection of things I like together, showcasing my personality through that.”
On Milan Fashion Week favorites:
“I was with Armani in Milan and it was a great trip; their whole team is incredible. They took great care of us and showed us the history of the brand as a whole. Just incredible to go there and see what a staple Mr. Armani is not only in the city but the fashion community in general.”
On how to wear a suit:
“Great tailoring is the key to suits: knowing the cuts that you like and the things that look good on you. The key for me is always just making sure that it’s tailored right so that I feel confident.”
On how to upgrade a casual look:
“I think that the way that I elevate the dressed-down looks is by adding elements of bold statements within what are pretty classic statements for menswear. You know, little pieces just to mix it up and keep people on their toes, but also to showcase personality in a different way.”
Nick Jonas flew in to Milan to sit front row at the Emporio Armani show this morning. Before the Armani Teatro curtain came up, Vogue Runway grabbed an espresso with Jonas backstage. After admiring his narrow shawl-collar jacket, almost ceremonial judo, and learning that his last wheels down was at a golf tournament in Hawaii, we asked the roving Jonas how he gets dressed, plus some other trifles, too.
“I really like a classic look no matter what it is, whether it’s tailored and buttoned-up or loose and casual,” said Jonas. “But I do like real classic elements to menswear: some bold statement pieces but within something that keeps it grounded and that feels like a representation of my personality as well, which isn’t too over the top.”
Do you find it hard to source clothing that represents your personality?
It’s not easy. It took me a number of years to figure out what I liked, first of all, and what looked good. So now I work with Avo Yermagyan, my stylist, and I have for about four years now.
How was your night at the White House for the Obama farewell party?
It was beautiful. One for the books. A night to celebrate a beautiful family and someone I’m a huge fan of and am blessed to call a friend. It was really special.
And you have a new song coming out on the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack?
Yeah! They just announced it like two days ago. The soundtrack is stacked with amazing performers. Nicki Minaj and I teamed up for a song, and it’s a fun one! I haven’t seen the film yet, but from what I’ve heard, it’s in a really good spot at the movie . . . at a moment where two characters have a real sexual moment, as it were!
As you’d expect in that franchise! What are you up to with the rest of your day in Milan?
Well, I’m in the process of shooting the series Kingdom, which I’m on the third series of. So while really enjoying amazing Italian food and fun times, I’m training pretty hard for the show. I play a fighter. I’ve been in the gym this morning already, and I’ll be in the gym later today. So a decent balance of fun but also some work.
That sounds grueling. Any opportunity to eat carbs?
A little bit. I do eat some carbs. But nothing too intense, nothing fun, no bread or pasta.
Povero! No pasta in Milan? That’s dedication.
The 24-year-old singer-songwriter Nick Jonas has called Shania Twain his first celebrity crush and thanks her for “breaking barriers of genre to allow other people to think outside the box and push the envelope.” Here, his favorite tracks by the woman he calls a “true inspiration.”
“Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)” 1997
This is the first Shania song I ever heard. I remember the country-pop feel of the song was unlike anything else out there at the time, and I became a lifelong fan in that moment.
“That Don’t Impress Me Much” 1997
Shania was always so incredible at making iconic visuals for her music, as well as being cutting-edge production-wise. This video and song are, in a word, legendary.
“Forever and for Always” 2003
This song has been a major source of inspiration to me melodically. Back in the day, my brothers and I would warm up to this with our band, getting our harmonies locked in before the show.
“I’m Gonna Getcha Good!” 2002
The production and vocal performance on this are next-level. My brothers and I covered this song in 2008. I played drums and sang my favorite part, the pre-chorus, so the rest of the time I could rock out.
“You’re Still the One” 1997
I got the chance to see Shania’s Vegas show, and when she performed this song onstage with a white horse at her side, it really sealed the deal for me: Shania Twain, lifetime crush.
This article originally appeared in the Dec. 10 issue of Billboard. Billboard’s Women In Music event takes place on Dec. 9 in New York City and airs on Lifetime Dec. 12
One month and one day before the November 18 release of their eponymous debut album, DNCE are huddled together in Manhattan’s Root Studios. Since releasing their debut single, “Cake by the Ocean,” in September of 2015, they’ve been moving nonstop, hopping around the United States and Europe for a string of headline shows and opening performances for Selena Gomez’s Revival tour, infecting small towns and big cities alike with their own brand of funk. Now, the four-piece band—composed of frontman Joe Jonas, bassist-keyboardist Cole Whittle, guitarist JinJoo, and drummer Jack Lawless—finally has a chance to sit down, but not for long. In an hour, they’ll head to a photo shoot and then straight to their album release party, where they’ll finally play DNCE for friends, family, and label execs. In the greater scheme of their lives, and possibly the pop-music landscape, it’s the calm before the storm.
“When I listen to it, I think of it like a house party,” says Whittle of the album. “You go in and you walk around, and you go into all the different rooms. Some of them are dark and sexy, some of the rooms are crazy, and some of the rooms have locked doors and some real stuff going on inside.”
Adds Jonas: “It’s a feel-good record that has some quirky lyrics, and may bring you back to an era of music that you grew up with or your parents played in the house.” DNCE melds sonic elements from the last 50 years, from ’70s funk to ’90s pop. Similarly so, the band’s cited influences—Hall & Oates, Earth, Wind & Fire, Weezer, Led Zeppelin, and Prince—are across the board.
The one constant, though, is that their music will compel you to jump around (or, at the very least, sway from side to side). And that’s exactly what has led to their instant appeal. “Last year around this time, the music was just starting to connect,” says Jonas, recalling the virtually overnight success of the band’s first single. “We all kind of felt it. We weren’t even sure what the lyrics meant, but the world seemed to react to it. People were falling in love with the music before the band.”
At that point, they were as fresh-faced as a band of mischief-makers with impressive résumés could possibly be. Lawless was the drummer from Jonas Brothers; JinJoo was playing with the likes of Charli XCX, CeeLo Green, and Jordin Sparks; Whittle was in Semi Precious Weapons—and Jonas had gathered them all to concoct DNCE. “From that moment on, we knew it wasn’t just a project,” says Whittle.
The swift nature with which the band originated likely contributes to its explosive energy. No matter the setting—a small, overcrowded basement of a hidden venue in New York’s Meatpacking District or an arena in Cincinnati—DNCE always bring a contagious, entropic enthusiasm to every performance. They enter the stage to Queen’s “We Are the Champions,” litter venues with balloons and cardboard cutouts of various celebrities, run directly into the crowd, and shred their instruments to bits.
While their live shows haven’t cooled since their debut, they certainly have developed. “We’re still as wild and crazy as you saw us on the first day, but I think we kind of lock it in now, too,” says Jonas. “On top of being able to run around like maniacs, we also want to be great musicians.”
The group’s liveliness could also stem from its dynamic. “We’re like superheroes who came together from different backgrounds of life to bring some funky rock to the world,” the lead singer says. And, as Whittle suggests, it’s the wide range of their personalities that allows them to explore all of their creative outlets: “Some days, we’re like four grandmas going on a cruise together and Cuba Gooding Jr.’s there. Some days, we’re like the new Ninja Turtles movie. Others, we’re like The Goonies—a bunch of 11-year-olds that don’t know anything and just cause trouble all day. And then sometimes we’re like Striptease—really sexy.” After spending nearly every moment together for the better part of 16 months, their bond has only grown stronger. “I can’t even imagine life without these guys,” says JinJoo. “Sometimes I ask myself: ‘How did I live without these three guys, like, around me all the time?’”
But maybe the reason behind DNCE’s infectious energy is even simpler: “There’s no ego involved,” says Lawless. “We’ve all been in bands our whole lives, and we’re all really happy to still be doing it. That’s why when we go on stage, we give it 100 percent every time.”
Their debut EP, Swaay, caused a frenzy among fans. The accompanying videos for their singles “Toothbrush,” a sweet ode to the beginning of a relationship, and “Body Moves,” an innuendo-riddled song that Maroon 5 probably wish they had written, both racked up eight-figure views on YouTube. Plus, they were awarded best new artist at the VMAs, an honor previously given to Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, One Direction, and Tyler, the Creator. But while expectations for their debut album have inevitably been high, DNCE aren’t sweating it. “Starting this [band], we had the great support of just working on music without any pressure,” says Jonas. Instead of nerves, there are troves of excitement. “We’ve always had a blast together,” adds Whittle. “The only difference is that in the beginning we slept six hours a night, and now we sleep two hours a night.”
It’s late afternoon, and I’m at a public driving range watching Nick Jonas smash golf balls by the bucket. We’re outside Portland, OR, where tonight he’ll be playing before a sold-out crowd at the giant Moda Center alongside pop megastar Demi Lovato.
But for now, gripping his driver in his hands, he’s all about golf and nothing else. Each time he tees up a ball, he squares up to it with steady, McIlroy-esque cool, then…ping! 250 yards. Seconds later: Ping! Another 250 yards. As time wears on, the titanium-to-Titleist collisions get louder, harder, pingier, but Jonas’ focus doesn’t waver.
Which is all the more impressive when you notice the people crowding near him—mostly young females who have just discovered who that guy is, over there!, wielding the sizable drive, and who are being held back by his security detail.
Of course, none of this is remotely surprising, given that Jonas, the 24-year-old actor, singer, and global celebrity phenomenon, makes noise pretty much everywhere he goes—and usually with far less effort. These days, when he’s not splashed across tabloids obsessively chronicling his dating life (no, he’s not seeing anyone), his abs (more on those later), and the meaning of his slightly mystifying new single, “Bacon” (it’s more or less an ode to the single life), Jonas is celebrating his thriving acting career.
He wowed indie festivalgoers earlier this year with his brooding performance as a conflicted college student in the film Goat, a horrifying indictment of frat hazing. He’s also great as a tortured, gay brawler on Kingdom, a binge-worthy series about a family of MMA fighters.
To top it off, he’s currently in sweltering Hawaii filming some decidedly more lighthearted fare: Jumanji, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, otherwise known as the biggest movie stars on earth.
Meanwhile, Jonas the pop star is keeping plenty busy. In 2014 his eponymous solo album drew comparisons with another blue-eyed falsetto, Justin Timberlake, and his single “Jealous” leaped to No. 1 on the Billboard dance chart. This year his new release, Last Year Was Complicated, won him critical raves. And he can even pack arenas: When I meet him, he’s currently in the middle of a 42-date North American arena tour with his good friend Lovato.
To top it all off, when he isn’t impressing critics, he’s hobnobbing with all manner of royalty—music and otherwise—as when he was invited to President Obama’s birthday bash at the White House last August and got to pal around with Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney. When the night was over, he humble-bragged to his 10.9 million Twitter followers: “Tonight was a night I will never forget. #BarackObama #happybirthday.”
OK, we know what you’re thinking: Nick Jonas? What the hell?
After all, we’re talking about a member of the Jonas Brothers, the mid-to late-aughts boy band that got their big break on the Disney Channel and eventually rode their fame to more than 20 million albums in sales. At the end of their ride, however, the group—consisting of Kevin, the business-minded eldest; Joe, the one best known for dating Taylor Swift; and Nick, the shy and broody youngest—ultimately gained as much fame for their abstinence awareness (see: ordained-minister dad) as they did for their music. South Park had a field day with them, devoting an entire episode to skewering their “purity rings.”
Frankly, no one would blame you for figuring that a guy like this would be sharing the bill at Chili’s Summer Concert Series with Hanson and 98 Degrees, doing occasional stunt-casting walk-ons on sitcoms, and signing autographs for $25 apiece at has-been teen-idol music conventions.
But that’s not how Nick Jonas wanted it to go down.
NICK JONAS WAS RAISED IN AN AFFLUENT SUBURB OF NEW JERSEY,
where his father was an ordained minister who encouraged all his boys to pick up an instrument. At age 7, Nick was discovered at a local barbershop, and soon he was performing on Broadway in Les Miserables. After he recorded a Christian pop album, featuring his brothers on background vocals, in 2004—a project that fizzled— the head of Columbia Records recast the mop-topped clan as a trio. In 2007, after a series of appearances on the Disney Channel, everything changed. Suddenly the Jonas Brothers were making a cameo on Hannah Montana, performing at awards shows, and launching sold-out world tours in which they hired decoy SUVs to evade paparazzi.
But like all things white-hot, the Jonas phenomenon was bound to cool, and the band called it quits in 2013. It was a rough period for Nick, but he retains a healthy sense of humor about it. He even references one particular scene—“one of my favorite [cracks on us],” he calls it—in the HBO comedy series Eastbound & Down, featuring Danny McBride as washed-up major leaguer Kenny Powers. In one episode a sports agent comes to recruit Powers, but he wants to see the guy’s credentials. The agent responds by holding up his American Express Black Card, to which Powers responds, “What’s that? Is Black better than Gold?”
“And the agent’s like, ‘Yeah. Gold might get you Jonas Brothers tickets. But Black? You’ll have all three of them sucking your dick,’” Jonas says, laughing so hard he can barely get out the words.
Later, when we sit for an iced coffee at a cordoned-off table, I ask Jonas to reflect more deeply on that period.
“I wouldn’t call it rock bottom, but there was some version of, ‘Am I going to be washed up at 21?’ I was living in delusion a little bit, too. Having a great amount of success at an early age—and then having a couple of years where things didn’t go quite right— you get to the point where you can either say, ‘It’s everyone else’s fault. They don’t get it,’ or you can go, ‘I need to make an adjustment. I need to evolve.’ Because it really is evolve or die. If you don’t continue to push yourself, it’s not going to work.”
In early 2014, Jonas was busy working on a new album when he read the script for AT&T Audience Network’s MMA drama Kingdom—and immediately wanted in. The only problem: No one involved would let him audition. Not the network, not the creator, not even the show’s central star, Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Warrior), who shares an agent with Jonas.
Grillo, who plays a retired MMA fighter who runs a gym where his two sons train, told his rep flat-out: No way, no Jonas. “I said, ‘I have a lot at stake here. Forget it,’” Grillo told talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel.
But Jonas wouldn’t take no for an answer, and his agent begged the producers to let Jonas in the room for an audition. Eventually, he persuaded the producers to hire him.
The challenge then: getting himself into fighting shape before shooting began.
Jonas’ security guard introduced him to Gregg Miele, the owner of a private gym in Los Angeles who has trained football players like Reggie Bush and actors like Matthew McConaughey. Miele looked at the calendar, saw that Jonas had three months till filming was set to begin, and got to work. Miele’s goals for Jonas: reduce body fat, increase lean muscle mass, build power without compromising flexibility, and increase cardiovascular endurance.
Simply put, Jonas needed to be “viciously strong, viciously powerful, and shredded,” Miele says.
There was one major obstacle, however: At age 13, despite being active and healthy, Jonas was diagnosed with type-1 (juvenile) diabetes. Though the disease plagued him at the start of his career—“I had wild mood swings,” he recalls—he eventually learned how to manage it. He wears a Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor, which constantly checks his blood sugar, and is hyper-vigilant about his diet. “When I’m on the road,” he says, “I always make healthy choices. I don’t have a meal plan delivered to me, but I know what not to eat. I’m always cautious about the food I put in my body.”
Hardcore strength training, however, can be risky for some type-1 diabetics, because it makes the body more sensitive to insulin and more susceptible to dramatic drops in blood glucose. “So we always keep glucose in the gym,” Miele says. “We’re always prepared for that. And as for diet, we got his blood work done and put him on a specific blood-type diet to make sure he wasn’t eating any inflammatory foods that would hinder his goals or set us back.”
Jonas trained harder than he ever had, and he relished the experience. He especially enjoyed the anonymity of a private gym, where, he says, he could be competitive with the only person who mattered: himself.
“It’s important to stay in your lane,” Jonas says of his Kingdom routine. “One philosophy Gregg teaches that I really appreciate is that everybody’s got a different approach to fitness. No one way is wrong. Being competitive is good, but it can also leave you sore and struggling to recover. Your body feeds off that recovery time, so don’t push yourself so hard just to do better than the guy next to you in the gym.”
His workouts consisted of mostly heavy lifting, and as they got closer to filming, he started doing two-a-days, five times a week. He also upped his diet from 3,000 to 4,200 calories a day.
“I put on about 20 pounds of muscle in a month and a half,” he says. “It was wild. But it was also hard to sleep. I was carrying more weight than I was used to, so I was sleeping very hard.”
As the shoot date grew closer, Kingdom’s official fight coordinator, retired MMA star Joe “Daddy” Stevenson, put the cast through a two-week boot camp: kickboxing, Muay Thai, grappling, jiu-jitsu. The guys lost six or seven pounds of water a day, says Stevenson, who remembers being impressed with Jonas: “The first time I met Nick, he showed me he could do a standing back-flip kick.”
It’s been a year and a half since then. I ask Jonas if he’s been in a real fight using any of his new moves.
“I got close once,” he says.
Last winter, he was with his brother Joe near their ski-in, ski-out home in central California’s Mammoth Lakes. “Basically, we were all merging into one line with different lift passes, and one guy was like, ‘You can wait right there, buddy, we’re going ahead of you,’” Jonas says. Joe was pissed—he never fights, but you can’t push him. He was like, ‘No, we’re already here,’ and the guy said, ‘Why don’t you shut the fuck up?’ It escalated so quickly—I was thinking, ‘This isn’t even my fight, and now I gotta go in.’ ”
Luckily they diffused the situation, and Nick now laughs at the prospect of coming to blows on a ski slope. “It would’ve taken a long time to get out of our gear to fight.”
When Kingdom premiered in late 2014, the critics were impressed, with the Los Angeles Times calling Jonas “very good” and IndieWire comparing the show with another testosterone-laden soap opera, the megahit Friday Night Lights.
And just like FNL, Kingdom is a show in which tough men are allowed to cry. Jonas plays Nate Kulina, a gay man who inches out of the closet into a world that isn’t always accepting; his performance is impressive, especially in the Season 2 finale, where in one scene he sits with his brother in the hospital and reveals the truth about his sexuality. Even the show’s emotionally tough MMA fighters were impressed with his performance.
Well, most of them, anyway.
“You got two sides on Nick,” Stevenson says. Basically, there are fighters who like him, “and then you’ve got the haters. Frankly, they’re just mad that their girlfriends like him.”
WE FINISH OUR DRINKS AT THE RANGE, AND JONAS GETS
ready to head to the arena in Portland for a sound check. But before he goes, there’s something he needs to take care of: a bachelorette party a few tables over, on the other side of a security rope, that’s been staring at him the whole time we’ve been talking. I study his face, and his smile reveals everything: He’s genuinely enjoying it. And why not? Here’s a guy who stared down obscurity and fought his way back to a very successful, very hard-earned second career. Why not revel in it?
Taking the bachelorettes as a cue, I have to ask him: Will he be settling down anytime soon?
“Well,” he says, “I think love and romance happen for some people, and it’s an amazing thing. But right now I’m really serious about my work. I’ve got too much on the agenda to really think about losing myself to love.”
This could be partly influenced by his current road-trip partner Demi Lovato, who’s not just a longtime friend but also, apparently, one hell of a wingman. Recently she told Billboard magazine, “When Nick was in a relationship, I was like, ‘Get out of that. You could fuck anybody you want right now. So have fun and do that.’ ”
“Yeah, basically, that’s Demi,” he says, laughing. “She’s a good friend.” He pauses for a moment, then adds, “But I’m enjoying meeting and getting to know people. It’s nice.”
And suddenly he’s smiling at the girls, before disappearing out the door.
Source: Men’s Fitness
Ahead of the release of their self-titlted debut album next Friday (November 18), DNCE have covered Client Magazine in a stunning shoot. The band – consisting of Joe Jonas, Cole Whittle, JinJoo Lee and Jack Lawless – who are fresh from winning Best Push Act and performing at 2016’s MTV Europe Music Awards last weekend, speak about their musical direction, crazy dreams and over-production in the music industry in the magazine interview. They feature as both the front cover and back cover stars of the magazine.
On how DNCE formed: Joe: ‘We’ve known each other for a while. Jack and JinJoo I’ve known for about ten years and we have toured on and off together and Jack and I lived together at one point. Cole kind of fell into our lives at the perfect time. We met him early last year and we were trying to figure out why we’d just met him, we kind of felt like he was a long lost brother and quickly we all became a family … it’s been a hell of a year.’
On how much control the band have on their musical direction: Joe: ‘It’s 1000% control. We control pretty much everything we come up with and we really get to collaborate and try to come up with fun ideas. When we’re performing live, it’s really fun for us to really let loose and come up with a full show that makes DNCE the best version of ourselves whether it’s wild and crazy or it’s a song that reminds us of our childhood, we try to showcase that on stage.’
On over-production in the music industry: Cole: ‘I think, like always, there are people who do too much to something that was pure and perfect the first time and I also think there are people that do the right amount, and I think there’s people that don’t do enough so I think it’s just a balance of imperfection being perfection in any art form and I think we’re really happy with our balance of organic versus polished funk spaceship vibes.’
On the writing process: Joe: ‘The writing process is different every time. There’s moments where I’ve written songs by myself for this upcoming album, there’s been times where we’ve all been in the same room and collaborated and it’s been just one guitar chord or a bass line and it kind of grows and grows until we have something that feels like it’s unique, and then we get into the studio and try to put it together.’
On ‘crazy’ dreams: Cole: ‘My dreams are very strange. They’re often ultra sexual and there’s a lot of aliens in my dreams, there’s strange planets that I feel like I’ve been to and there’s a lot of Penelope Cruz.’
On the difference between an ‘artist’ and a ‘celebrity’: Cole: ‘I think the difference between an ‘artist’ and a ‘celebrity’ is that some people are both, some people are neither, but I think it’s an amazing ying and yang win when people find themselves being both. Being an artist that’s being recognised at a level in pop culture in the universe for their art. So I think the difference can be like an empty trash can or a beautiful garden.’
DNCE’s self-titled studio album is available November 18. Pre-order here: https://dnce.lnk.to/DNCEalbum
Pre-order Client Magazine here: http://thezinestand.com/item/client-magazine-16-print-edition
Publication: Client Magazine #16 (@clientmagazine)Release date: 18th November, 2016
Photography: Ian Cole (@itsiancole)
Fashion Editor: Danyul Brown (@danyulbrown)
Hair: Kim Roy at One Represents (@kimroyhair)
Makeup: Crystabel Riley at Stella Artists (@crystabelmakeup)
Published by Ian Cole for Project Ten (@projecttenorg)
CLIENT Magazine is an unconventional British photography magazine that uses menswear as a genre. The magazine was founded in 2010 by photographer & indie publisher Ian Cole and reaches 1.2 million people per month online, with subscribers in six continents. The magazine’s focus is on authentic photography with fashion editorials photographed around the globe. CLIENT chooses real over reality and only focuses on genuine talent and true artists.
Source: Press Party
Can teen idol-turned-pop prince Nick Jonas achieve that (nearly) impossible dream: Hollywood superstardom? He says Yes.
There’s a truism about passing time and shifting generational pop culture that comedian Billy Crystal once pointed to when his daughter asked, “Dad, did you know Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings?” Having emerged in recent years as a solo pop star and increasingly in-demand actor, Nick Jonas today is living his own variation on that theme. The 21st-century take might be, “Did you know Nick Jonas used to be in a band with his brothers?”
“It’s funny that that’s already happening,” laughs Jonas, who just three years ago decided, with his siblings Joe and Kevin, to end their phenomenally popular band, the Jonas Brothers, and pursue individual creative interests, leading Nick to reinvent himself as a chart-topping, critically admired musical artist in his own right. His third and latest album, Last Year Was Complicated, delivered the hit single “Close” and made his current Future Now Tour, which he co-headlines with close pal Demi Lovato, one of the summer’s hottest tickets.
Simultaneously, Jonas emerged as an actor of considerable range and charisma. He made a physically powerful impression in the mixed martial arts drama series Kingdom, deftly handled humor both subtle and broad on Fox’s horror/comedy Scream Queens, and delivers an utterly convincing turn as one of a pair of brothers caught up in a harrowing cycle of fraternity hazing in the new film Goat, out this fall.
“The less and less I’m introduced as ‘Nick Jonas, formerly of the Jonas Brothers,’ [the more] there’s just an awareness of now,” says the 24-year-old. “It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and patience, but it’s exciting when people start to recognize you for what you’re doing in the moment and see you for that.”
The evolution, he admits, was daunting. “I was unsure of what was going to be next,” he says. “I knew that I had a lot of music I wanted to make and a lot of acting projects that I wanted to pursue, but nothing’s ever guaranteed. I was incredibly relieved when some things started to come together. Within two weeks of leaving the band, I wrote ‘Jealous,’ which was a song that would change my life and career, and I also booked Kingdom. So it was all happening!”
“It’s exciting when people start to recognize you for what you’re doing in the moment, and see you for that.” —Nick Jonas
Much of the brothers’ blockbuster brand, of course, was built with their on-camera roles in the Disney Channel’s Camp Rock movies and Jonas series, but Jonas’s own acting aspirations had been fueled since childhood stints on Broadway in productions like A Christmas Carol and Beauty and the Beast. “Acting has always been important to me,” he says. “It was a great foundation, and then as I got older, I found some great roles that pushed me a bit. Once I read the script for Kingdom, I realized pretty quickly that it was something I would have to fight for, but that it would be worth it if I just sunk my teeth in and really tried to challenge myself.”
Indeed, although some may have looked askance at the casting of the former teen idol as a closeted gay MMA fighter in one of the grittiest series of the moment, Jonas quickly dispelled any apprehension with his commitment to the material, both physically and emotionally. “So much of these fighters’ lives is played out in a physical sense—their job is to get in a cage and beat somebody up,” he says. “But also, at times, the reason they’re fighting is because they’re running from something. So I have a great time working with my coach and trying to find ways to really show each layer.”
Having been publicly perceived as the archetypal “Serious One” among his bandmates, Jonas surprised even his truest believers, as well, with his facility for straight-faced comedy as seen on Scream Queens. He admits that he chooses his words carefully in his own life, but on Screen Queens he loosened up in his bid to find his own comedic tone: “I have to read a line 100 different ways before I know the way I’m going to deliver it, and just see which one I think is funny and roll with that.”
With the critically acclaimed, James Franco-produced Goat, which garnered glowing nods for Jonas’s performance at Sundance, the actor shocked even himself. “When I first read for it, I thought I bombed the audition. I thought I did terrible! I was really relieved when I got it.” The film’s director, Andrew Neel, however, recognized the elusive but key quality Jonas was bringing to the performance. “For most of the film [Nick’s character, Brett] doesn’t approve of his brother, and Nick was able to do this while maintaining a strong sense of love and affection,” says Neel. “He drew a lot from his relationships with his own brothers.”
Identifiable motifs begin to emerge while discussing Jonas’s professional output: experimentation, challenging oneself, testing limits. “On the music front, I try to grow every day and expose myself to new and exciting things to be inspired by, whether it’s people I’m collaborating with or just new music that I’m getting introduced to. I think that you’ve got to keep an attitude of never wanting to stop growing,” he says. “Then on the acting side, I’m drawn to darker projects, things that are dramatic, intense, and really push me—but also mixing in some of these great opportunities for things that continue to show my comedy side as well. Having many layers to ‘all things Nick Jonas’ is kind of the key.”
He credits the success of his latest music to his commitment to documenting his emotional journey after a breakup that was even more shattering than parting ways with his siblings: his split with model/beauty queen Olivia Culpo after a two-year relationship.
“On the acting side, I’m drawn to darker projects… having many layers to ‘all things Nick Jonas’ is kind of the key.” —Nick Jonas
“Heartbreak is a theme that a lot of people relate to—the challenges of the next steps in your life, and when some doors close, and how you approach the next ones opening,” he says. “I saw pretty quickly that it was a lot of what my fans could relate to.” But it wasn’t initially easy to translate his personal pain into hooky lyrics. “It’s nerve-wracking when [the feelings] are as personal as the ones that I shared were. But I feel relieved when I use my writing as a way to process—it’s very therapeutic.”
These days, dating hasn’t been a priority—but Jonas is still putting himself out there “a little bit.” “I’ve been pretty busy!” he explains. “It’s been challenging to find any time on that front. But it’s also a choice I made to just have this season of my life be solo, so that I can make the most of all I’m trying to accomplish. I’ve got plenty of time, at 24. I mean I hope I have plenty of time!”
As for that other central personal relationship—the one with his brothers—the professional split was “the best thing that ever happened to us. It has allowed for us to just be family,” he says. “Joe and I live together in LA. We have a home there together—we’re very, very close. My brother Kevin and his wife have a baby and another one on the way. He’s now into his next step, which is in the tech world, which is really amazing. It’s all a really healthy change.”
With the reboot of Jumanji next on his slate—his entry into macro-budget, studio tent-pole filmmaking—Jonas realizes how rare his journey from what could have been a disposable stint as a teen idol into a formidable multihyphenate in the entertainment world truly is.
“I’ve been really fortunate to have what feels like a few shots at this, to be in a spot where it’s almost like I’ve gotten [a chance] to restart,” he says. “I was on a rocket ship to the moon with my brothers as part of a teen phenomenon. And to come back and solidify an adult career with real confidence in myself and pride in my work, I think I’ve now been able to see things a little bit differently. And that really does shape who you become as a person, the way you see the world… and the way you treat other human beings.”
Source: LA Confidential
Nick Jonas is one of those rare-breeds of child star who has managed to pull-off a total career 180. The 24-year-old has come a long way from his days as a middle-America tweenster pop star, and is rapidly blossoming into a widely-respected global musician. Just before he went on stage in San Jose for his 28th live show — he’s on tour with Demi Lovato, no less — Wonderland pinned him down to tell us about music, movies, and masculinity. Don’t get jealous.
W: Your most recent album — Last Year Was Complicated — feels like your most personal work to date. Would you agree?
N: I am way more connected to my music when it comes from a personal place, and so I wanted to find a way to present those stories and lay them out. I really want to see this music resonate with people. The great skill with an artist is to make this music and see it come alive live, too.
W: You put out a Tidal documentary earlier this year surrounding the release of LYWC. Tell me your thoughts about this project.
N: Having the opportunity to do that was just really exciting, and going with the theme of getting more open I spoke with the team about putting out a documentary series to complement the music and everything else. It’s helped me learn a lot about myself — looking back, and being able to watch over the recording and the roll out of the record.
W: Speaking of watching yourself back, you’ve dabbled with acting this year, too. You’re in Goat — your film with James Franco — coming out in September right? How was that whole process?
N: Pretty wild. First time I read the script, I was blown away. Anytime I read a script for the first time I put myself in it and think about how I would portray the character, and with that one I knew right away that I really had to play the role. I read for it, and worked really hard to get it and when they cast me I was just so thrilled. And to see the impact the movie had at Sundance and Berlin Film Festival and the conversation around it was just a really encouraging and exciting thing.
W: At the heart of the film is the taboo topic of fraternity hazing. Why do you think now is the time to be talking about this?
N: I think it’s a conversation that is important in this moment because there’s so many of these stories in recent years of young men pushing each other to a point where it’s all just so dangerous. And at the centre of the film, as far as themes go, is masculinity: and what that looks like at 16, and the pressures forced onto these young men, and the stakes that become so high. So being able to tell that story in a way that feels very grounded and very real, and starting a conversation, was important.
W: Speaking of masculinity, let’s talk about how your image has changed so drastically through the years. You’re an international sex symbol these days…
N: It was an interesting thing to go through. Part of it, I guess, is that it’s just my life now. It will have been 12 years of doing this all professionally. I think I have a balance of it: that I accept and understand that my circumstances and my life have been pretty unusual, to a certain degree. But also embracing it as my normal; I’ve gotta grow, make mistakes, in the way that everybody else does, only with a few more eyeballs on me. I don’t think like it’s been forced, and it feels like I’ve grown naturally.
W: How does it feel about having gone from chaste teen to being gay icon, too?
N: It’s bizarre! But sexuality is important, as an artist, to embrace and use it as ammunition in your creative life, and understanding that part of your life and how it makes you feel. Anytime I approach writing a song I think about that fact that since I started having sex, my creative life changed dramatically and my ability to write a song with more genuine depth, more reality.
W: As a male sex symbol you naturally appeal to the gay community, but there’s been accusations on various internet verticals that you’ve consciously “gay baited”. What do you say to that?
N: I’m totally aware of my intentions in any and all of my attempts to be an ally to the LGBT community: they are pure, and from my heart, and from my passion to be there for a community that’s been there for me from an early age. Starting in theatre and growing into the performer I am today, I’ve made so many great friends belonging to the LGBT community, and some of the most talented men and women in the community I’d like to pay my respects to.The positive impact is 10 times more important than the negative comments.
W: Do you think there could be more men doing what you’re doing, and showcasing the vulnerable?
N: I think vulnerability on any level, and having the confidence to dive into areas of your own life that are tough to speak about at times, is incredible. Specifically heartbreak and romance, and emotion. Look at Drake: a hip-hop artist who has done an excellent job of being human and being vulnerable, and is seeing it pay off.
W: Just before we finish, in your 12 years of show-business what is it you’re proudest of?
N: Recently I was back at the Whitehouse for our president’s birthday celebration, and it was great moment to be there eight years after the inauguration. Stevie Wonder was there, who thanked me for embracing soul into my music. Me and my brothers played with him back at the Grammys in 2009, and he said that he remembered how soulful I was then, and that he was glad I’d stuck with it. That was pretty cool.
Source: Wonderland Magazine
When Nick Jonas turned up at the Sundance Film Festival this year, the industry cognoscenti was perplexed. What, exactly, was the youngest Jonas brother doing so far from a stage and his legion of screaming fans? Was he hoping to score a free puffy jacket from a swag suite? Shredding some powder on the slopes? Hot tubbing with some snow bunnies?
“I kept getting asked, ‘Oh, what do you have going on?’ Why are you here, basically,” Jonas recalled.
He was there, of course, because he was in a movie: “Goat,” about two brothers whose relationship becomes strained as they rush a college fraternity. It’s a film that grapples with serious issues — hazing, binge drinking, masculinity — the kind of stuff that wasn’t exactly broached in Jonas’ last movie about a teen music camp that aired on the Disney Channel in 2010.
So he got it — the fact that he seemed an odd fit alongside the likes of Werner Herzog, Lena Dunham and Viggo Mortensen. He knew not everyone had heard of “Kingdom,” the DirecTV series about mixed martial arts fighters that he’s starred on for the last two years. That he’s still known as a pop star, and for good reason: This summer, he saw his new album debut behind only Drake on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart and embarked on a 43-city tour with Demi Lovato.
That concert tour concluded at the Forum in Inglewood on Saturday night. Jonas promptly flew to New York for a couple of days of press on “Goat.” And then Tuesday morning, immediately after he touched back down in L.A., he was driven to an empty sports bar on the fringes of West Hollywood that had opened early just for him. He walked in looking bleary-eyed, wearing a black hoodie with glittery palm trees on it. Someone on his team handed him a bottle of cold-brew coffee, a green juice and an egg scramble.
“Can we sit outside?” he asked, settling by a fire pit with flies circling it. He visited a bar like this before he started filming “Goat,” which debuted in 20 theaters and video-on-demand Friday. He was performing in Bowling Green, Ohio, and he asked the audience where he should head for a drink after the gig. When his fans suggested a prototypical college dive, the 24-year-old — who never attended college himself — decided to use the experience as research for his upcoming frat-bro role.
“It was a wild night,” he said. “Shots. Smirnoff Ice. You ever been Iced? It’s a game that you play where someone surprises you with a Smirnoff Ice and you have to chug it on one knee. It happened to me three times.”
Jonas said he wanted to understand “this whole world of drinking to get [messed] up, which is absolutely not the way” he drinks. He was living with his older brother, Joe, when he turned 21, and credits his sibling with helping him safely explore his alcohol limits. (His real vice is cigars, which he was first exposed to when he was 15 and on tour with the Jonas Brothers, because many of the crew members smoked.)
The Jonas Brothers went their separate ways in 2013, but his identity as a member of the boy band has trailed him ever since. When he first told his agent he was interested in pursuing acting, he kept getting pushback: “‘We don’t want a Jonas Brother’ is a lot of what I heard,” he said. “We were no longer the hottest thing, and the acting experience I had in [Disney Channel] movies didn’t really challenge me as an actor. There were a few times where someone would let me read for something, and I’d get down to the very end, and then they’d say, ‘You’re probably one of the best reads we’ve had, but the studio doesn’t feel like we can cast you.’”
James Franco, who produced “Goat,” didn’t share that bias. He’d worked with fellow Disney vets Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens on the edgy 2013 indie “Spring Breakers” and was impressed by their transformational performances.
“Those actresses were known for much more poppy things, and then they threw themselves into their roles and were really serious about them. So I had a hunch Nick would do the same thing,” explained Franco, who also has a cameo in the film as a fraternity veteran. “He already had a career, and if he wanted to do this acting thing, I felt like he was going to work harder than anyone. He doesn’t have to do this — he really wants to.”
Still, director Andrew Neel admitted, “he wasn’t someone you were putting at the top of acting lists at that point.”
“He was only known as a pop star,” the filmmaker said. “So initially, everyone was like, ‘Nick Jonas? What? Is this guy acting now?’ There’s a bias against him, like ‘Oh, he’s just a pop star,’ and in a lot of ways, I think that’s good. Because he was willing to come in and work hard. He wanted to earn it.”
And Jonas definitely isn’t playing around when it comes to his acting career. He’s worked with a coach, Rebecca Kitt, for a number of years, and sometimes she’ll come out on his tours with him to help him prepare for certain roles. He admires actors who have made big transitions in their careers — guys like Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum. He’s completely serious when he says that he’d someday like to achieve the famed EGOT — an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award.
Once he even briefly considered discontinuing his social media accounts — he’s on Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter — because he worried they were hurting his chances to land big parts.
“I think about that — if I didn’t have Twitter or Instagram, would I have more roles that I want coming to me?” said Jonas, who has 10.9 million followers on Twitter alone. It’s a sentiment shared by some of the most serious actors of his generation — Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Daniel Radcliffe — even as studio heads have increasingly begun to gauge box-office potential via a star’s online following.
But Jonas has lived his life in public since his Disney Channel days, where he first learned what it was like to be on a movie set. On the “Camp Rock” films, the most important directives were to be enthusiastic and to hit your mark. There wasn’t a whole lot of soul-searching.
“I didn’t necessarily love the material,” Jonas acknowledged. “But I don’t want to knock that experience. I’m not one of these Disney haters. I’m really appreciative of the foundation it laid for me.”
Things were far different on the low-budget “Goat,” where he spent a lot of time thinking about what it meant to be a man. In the film, he plays Brett, whose younger brother Brad (newcomer Ben Schnetzer) is rushing a fraternity he’s already a member of. As he watches Brad get brutally hazed by his frat bros — he has to chug endless liquor, grab a banana out of a toilet while blindfolded and physically fight the other pledges — Brett starts to question his loyalty to the organization.
Growing up, Jonas’ father, Kevin Jonas Sr., shaped Nick’s view of masculinity. The family patriarch was a minister and a musician, but he also loved football — “he just kind of let us be who we were without judgment,” said the younger Jonas, who had a similar mix of interests. As a kid, Nick started acting in plays, but he still played sports, even harboring a dream to walk on to the baseball team at Northwestern University. (He visited the campus in 2009, but “it didn’t work out,” Jonas said of how fame affected that decision. “It would not have been as easy as showing up and going to class.”)
Sometimes he wonders what college would have been like, but Jonas said he doesn’t regret sticking to performing. He’s having the most fun he ever has on stage. And he’s slowly gaining acceptance in the acting community too. A few months after the premiere of “Goat,” he got a call about auditioning for Sony Pictures’ remake of “Jumanji” starringDwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart.
“They were like, ‘Are you OK to read?’” said Jonas, who left Thursday to join the cast for the film’s three-month shoot in Hawaii. “And I was like, ‘Of course I’m OK to read!’ I was so used to people saying they didn’t even want to give me a chance to read at all.”
Source: Los Angeles Times
You may have heard their catchy single, Cake by the Ocean, that is still dominating the UK charts at its 31st week in the top 40 – but DNCE are proving that they are more than just a one hit wonder.
Joe Jonas, one third of the teen pop band The Jonas Brothers, has separated with Disney once and for all as he joins with Jinjoo, Jack and Cole to create DNCE – and yes, that ‘A’ was left out on purpose. The band mates collectively each have over a decade of experience in the music industry, having toured with the likes of CeeLo Green, Charli XCX, Jordin Sparks, Semi Precious Weapons and of course The Jonas Brothers, they are no new comers to the stage.
MTV’s 2016 Best New Artist winners are currently travelling the world touring since Cake by the Ocean made its way into the charts, so we met with DNCE ahead of their sold out show at the Islington O2 in London to get to know the one year old band a little better.
You guys have just come from New Zealand, how was that?
Joe: It was great, we were in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and then the longest thirty hours to get here. We kind of hit the ground running which is probably the best way to fight the jet lag. We got here yesterday about six to the hotel, and we started at like eight or nine o’clock, so we had to keep things moving but its been a good 48 hours.
How long are you in London for?
Joe: We’re here for another fours days before we head to New York.
So it’s been about a year since you guys started, how did you get together?
Joe: Well, I’ve known Jack and Jinjoo for almost ten years and Jack I were living together and talked about starting a band; we threw around a bunch of different band names for a while. Eventually it started getting serious when I called up Jack and was like dude this is a reality, this idea that we had. Jinjoo was touring with some friends that we knew, Charli XCX and Ciara so she got off tour with them and then we met Cole through a mutual friend and had the perfect connection.
Obviously having that chemistry is important, when did you guys know that this was going to work?
Cole: The first time that we actually played together, all four of us with all our instruments, I think that movement is a huge thing; some people don’t move well together and some people move the same way. We just started moving around together when we were playing music and were just weaving in and out of each other like it was water or something, and we just all knew it was something really special.
So Cake by the Ocean is currently at its 31th week in the UK charts, how did you come about writing this?
Joe: That’s cool I didn’t know that. It was kind of an accident, a happy accident in a way. We were working in the studio, kind of having writers block with producers that came from Sweden and on a break they were telling a story about having Cake by the Ocean which was Sex on the Beach, the drink, so we were like that could be a funny idea for a song. So we started joking around, writing this fun tune and ending up creating Cake by the Ocean.
So your new single Toothbrush is out with the model Ashley Graham in the video, what’s that song about?
Cole: That song is about the beginning of a relationship when your hanging out with someone new and it’s a good vibe and it gets to that point when you start to think about maybe leaving something at somebody’s place, just to test the water. I think it could be five minutes into someone’s relationship or a couple of weeks, but it’s that cool moment where it might be something real.
How did you come up with the name, DNCE?
Jo: Another happy accident, (they all giggle) we were trying to come up with endings for a while and each one was either taken or we’d sleep on it and think that isn’t the right band name. So a late night, one eye open trying to text each other to get some ideas, and someone miss-spelt dance and ‘dnce’ was written. We liked the way it sat out, its not perfect, it kind of reminds people of moving and that’s what we want people to do with our music.
So Jo, have you found a lot of your fans have moved with you from the Jonas Brothers to DNCE?
Jo: I’ve definitely seen familiar faces. Although one thing we’ve learned a lot from DNCE is that our music lived before the visuals, so I think we were figuring out who we were before they saw a music video attached to anything. So it was really cool to hear stories about how people found our music. The song, Cake by the Ocean for example was being streamed by Spotify and Apple Music for months before the video came out, so it was kind of special how we got to watch a fan base grow organically.
Yes because you were playing secret shows in New York for a while?
Jo: Yes we did, we were playing a week worth of shows in an underground bar. Its really special to us, we still try and go back to that bar just to reminisce. I think we are going to do another run of shows there hopefully, just to go back to the roots of things.
You’ve all come from experienced musical backgrounds. Jinjoo, you are from Korea and started playing guitar, tell us about that?
Jinjoo: I grew up playing with my siblings and having albums in Korea, so I am used to being in a band. When I was 19 my Mum had the idea for me to go to America alone. At time I wasn’t ready, I was afraid as I couldn’t speak English and I was very comfortable making music with my family back home. But I found some courage and faith and decided to make the trip to a music school in Hollywood. About a year later I did an audition for Jordin Sparks and got the gig. Everything happened accidentally.
Jack, I hear you were in college when you first started playing for The Jonas Brothers.
Jack: Yeah, I was two months into college and I got a call from a friend who were with these guys who said (interpreting a low male American voice) ‘you gotta play with these they’re ganna be huge next year.’ I was like sweet. I met Jo the day before our first gig and we just took off on the road and had no idea what I was getting myself into, it was crazy.
Cole, were you classically trained in piano?
Cole: Yeah I was. I started playing when I was six and my piano teacher lived across the alley from me and she was really cute so I think that’s why I wanted to go every week. As soon as I realized that you got to hang out with chicks if you were in a band I was like ok. I forgot everything I knew about piano and started playing base.
So you’re currently touring, where are you going next and how’s it all going?
Joe: We are going to New York, were up for a music video award for MTV, so we’re going to fingers crossed take something home. Then were doing a couple of TV shows and just announced were doing a couple of shows with Selena Gomez here in the UK, which will be rad. We are planning the rest of the year right now; we have the album coming out for November so that will keep us really busy. We want to continue to tour, that’s where we feel the most confidant. We enjoyed the last six, seven months its been so nice to just stay on the road so hopefully we’ll get a big tour going next year and just sleep on that bus.
So is touring your favorite part to the whole musical process?
Joe: Yeah defiantly.
Cole: The reason why we are alive is to play music to as many people as possible. It’s like a drug for us. Even when we are writing that’s the vision for us, to be playing and to feel the energy.
So you’re performing tonight at the O2 in Islington, what can we expect?
Joe: Well its going to be pretty awesome to be able to play a show here, the last time we played was in a small little bar to kind of just announce the band over here. Now we put this show on sale and it sold out really quickly and so these are heard core fans that are coming out tonight and supporting. We’ve been reading tweets from all over the place to come to the show tonight.
Yes there’s already a queue way down the road outside we saw when we came in!
Jo: Yeah we’re really excited and were playing new songs off the record and a few covers, and making a few special adjustments for this show in particular and we just hope that were leaving with some memories.
Describe the band in one word
If all the records in the world were destroyed, and you could only save one, what would it be?
Jinjoo: Cake by the Ocean (giggles).
Cole: I’d do Matthew McConaughey’s Spoken Word and read by Mathew McConanughy. I don’t know if that exists, but hopefully by then.
Joe:I really like The Matthew McConaughey one… Jack, I need to think about mine.
Jack: Trying to think real answer or silly answer. I’ll go real answer, The White Album by The Beatles.
Joe: I am just going to bring an extra pair of headphones because they all said great answers, I wanna see what they got.
Eight years ago, few might have predicted that the fresh-faced stars of the hit Disney Channel musical Camp Rock would go on to freely discuss sex in their work, become outspoken proponents for the LGBT community and, this year, mount a joint tour inspired by Bruce Springsteen.
But the Boss is just who Nick Jonas said he and Demi Lovato had in mind when they conceived their relatively stripped-down road show, Future Now, which launched in June.
Specifically, Jonas explained, it was Springsteen’s run of concerts last spring at the Los Angeles Sports Arena – along with a Billy Joel gig he caught at New York’s Madison Square Garden – that made this former tween idol want to turn away from the pop pageantry with which he’d made his name as part of the Jonas Brothers.
“I left that Springsteen show and was like, ‘We’ve got to think like this’,” he said, sprawled on a couch next to Lovato in a dressing room before a show in Boston, Massachussetts.
“Just to go onstage, no theatrics, and pour your heart and soul into the music – that’s what we wanted,” Lovato added as her small black dog scampered around her legs. In truth, the Future Now tour isn’t exactly a no-frills jam-a-thon.
In Boston, the two performers, both 23, were accompanied by sleek visuals and wore outfits considerably more involved than Springsteen’s faded dad jeans.
And the songs, of course, were flashy in their own way: Stomping electro-pop tunes like Lovato’s Confident and moist R&B come-ons like Jonas’ Chains.
But if it’s true, as Jonas said in a freewheeling conversation, that the pop world “is pretty oversaturated these days” – packed with high-tech arena spectacles from Beyonce, Justin Bieber and Madonna – then this production, with its emphasis on live vocals backed by a muscular band, does feel like a different animal. These are excerpts from our talk.
How often do you think about Camp Rock?
Lovato: I don’t, to be honest, unless somebody brings it up.
So what’s coming to mind now?
Jonas: Schooling. We were both 14 or 15 when we filmed the movie, so they had a teacher on set, and you had to do a certain amount of school each day: four hours of school, six hours of work. By the second (Camp Rock movie), Demi and I had both tested out of high school in California, so we were riding high, enjoying life.
Does a kid in show business learn anything from an on-set tutor?
Jonas: From some of them, no. But there was this girl Laura, who actually really helped me prep for the test, because I was not prepared.
Lovato: Mine was Marsha. But other than that? Some were literally just like, “I can’t help you with anything – let’s watch a movie and say you did some studying.
Talk about moving out of the kiddie phase of your career. Is it a transition you have to manage carefully?
Lovato: I kind of cheated – I went to rehab.
Lovato: A real FastPass.
Jonas: I think we had two very different journeys. I was in my transition from adolescence to adulthood while also trying to manage being a family and having our business kind of fall apart.
So, I made a conscious effort to push myself and collaborate with different people. The word “intentional” is dangerous, but it was about intentionally doing certain photo shoots and things that would give people a better idea of who I am today as opposed to their first introduction when I was 14.
Quest for freedom
As individualised as their journeys have been, one thing that’s united the two singers is the way they’ve handled sex in their work – which is to say, the enthusiasm with which they’ve handled it.
A certain amount of lustiness is crucial for any former kiddie star looking to leave the past behind; it’s part of the script followed by Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus and plenty of others.
Still, Jonas and Lovato have gone further than most, in songs like his comically lewd Bacon and in revealing photo shoots like the one Lovato did last year for Vanity Fair that had her naked in a hotel bathtub.
Yet it’s not mere titillation or shock value that they appear interested in but something deeper, something almost philosophical about the nature of desire – and of being desired.
Is it part of this overall quest for freedom?
Lovato: It’s definitely liberating. I mean, for someone who’s had body image issues to be able to go onstage in a thong – it’s not just me trying to be sexy. It’s “Look how far I’ve come – I can now show off my whole body and be confident.”
Jonas: As a songwriter, the minute you start having sex, you can totally see the difference in the writing. You become an adult – that’s kind of the whole backbone of it, really, your identity as a person and what sex means to you.
Because you both approach sex candidly, you know the experience of being ogled. The idea of your body becomes public property in a way.
Lovato: I look at it as I’m sharing my experience with my body with my fans, and that’s why they relate to me so much.
Does that encourage people to expect certain details and images from you?
Lovato: There’s an expectation today because of the access to celebrity that this generation has. When I was dreaming about becoming an artiste, there weren’t camera phones; now people get offended if you say no to a picture. The reaction people have when a celebrity enters a room, it blows my mind.
Do you think about the effect a specific act might have? “If I post X on Instagram, then Y will happen.”
Jonas: Of course. When I was younger, that used to really shake me. I was kind of living in fear.
Fear of what?
Jonas: Disappointing people. I didn’t ask to become a role model, but it was thrust upon all of us, regardless of whether you acknowledge it. You have to come to a decision as an adult and say, “I’ve got to live my life.”
There’s nothing wrong with thinking ahead and being aware of how it might affect somebody – everything from a post to where you have dinner to who you’re with. But these aren’t things you can let consume your life.