Nick Jonas steps out of his comfort zone
When Nick Jonas releases the full-length debut from his new band, Nick Jonas and the Administration, in February, it just might squash a few widely held preconceptions — not only of what kind of music a Jonas Brother is capable of making, but of what kind of album can be recorded in country music’s capital.
Jonas recorded the disc, entitled Who I Am, at Nashville’s Blackbird Studios in the spring of 2009, during a two-week break from Jonas Brothers duties. His band is comprised of a team of A-list musicians who’ve backed up the likes of Prince, Backstreet Boys, Switchfoot and Rob Thomas.
We caught up with Nick Jonas during another rare break: while he was out Christmas shopping with his family. He shared his thoughts on the project, the future of the Jonas Brothers and Nashville in advance of his concert on Monday, Jan. 4 at the Ryman Auditorium.
Your Ryman show on Monday comes exactly one year after you performed there with the Jonas Brothers and special guests. We’re starting to get the feeling that you like that room.
“Yeah, I think we’re going to try to make it an annual thing. Every time you’re there, you can kind of feel the presence of the legends that played there. The crowd is full of musicians who are probably better than I am. I try to keep that in mind and have a good time.”
What made you choose Nashville as the setting to record your solo album?
“All of us in the band wanted to step outside of our comfort zone, to go to a place where we hadn’t spent too much time before, where we could get away from our element. We wanted to focus on this record.”
What led to the decision to make a new project? Had these songs been kicking around for years, or did you write them with a new project in mind?
“The writing for this record really started in October of last year. I was writing songs that, stylistically, weren’t necessarily like the Jonas Brothers sound, and I didn’t know what to do with them. I met with my brothers and talked to them about this idea that I had to do a side project, to go to Nashville with these guys and record (an album). I wanted to make sure that they were OK with it first before I made any move on it. They said, ‘We’re excited for you. We know that you have a lot that you’re passionate about, and we’re here to support you.’ So that worked out nicely.”
The Administration’s first live performance was during the televised Grammy nominations concert on CBS. What’s it like starting a brand new project with such a high profile? Is it a new kind of pressure for you?
“It is, but there’s also a sense of newness to it as well. It’s kind of like starting over in a way, although the opportunities I’ve been given to premiere this project have been great so far.”
You made this album during a rare two-week break from Jonas Brothers duties. Do you consider yourself a workaholic? Is it hard for you to take breaks?
“It is. I don’t think I’m a workaholic, necessarily. I know that there are people out there who are much more talented than I am who would love to be able to play with some of these guys and to do what I get to do, so I’m just trying to take advantage of the opportunity, and really trying to enjoy each moment.”
Are fans keen on the idea of you spending time away from your brothers? What has their response been like?
“So far the response has been amazing from the fans. Seeing that they’ve been so supportive and so passionate really shows me that the Jonas Brothers are so strong. It’s true that we have the best fans in the world, so I’m thankful for them and all that they do every day to support us.”
Do you think The Administration’s sound hints at all at where the Jonas Brothers might go stylistically in the future?
“I’m not sure. We’re trying to continue to grow and learn as much as we can along the way. I think that we’re going to take a little while on the next record, really take our time, considering that we’ve released four albums in three and a half years. We all kind of said, ‘Let’s take our time on the next one and really do it the right way.’ That’s what we’re planning to do.”
Would you consider working in Nashville again for any future projects?
“I think so. I love Nashville. It’s Music City. The people there are amazing. It’s crazy to think that you can walk down the street and probably two out of five people you see are musicians or songwriters of some sort. It makes for a good environment to be creative in.”
Source: The Tenessean