Nick Jonas Out On His Own With New CD
Understandably so — the 17-year-old singer-songwriter has, along with his brothers Kevin and Joe, accomplished more in the past three years than some musicians manage in a lifetime.
The brothers put out three studio albums, each a worldwide multiplatinum juggernaut; went on four world tours that have grossed millions of dollars; and filmed a fistful of movies and TV shows.
If all of that were not enough, Nick Jonas is adding one more line to his resume — solo act.
With his new band, the Administration, at his back, Nick Jonas recently embarked on a monthlong promo tour for his new solo album, “Who I Am.”
“It was great for me to go home, and go from my house to rehearsal every day,” says Jonas. “Every show we play in Dallas is always a lot of fun, and the fans are the best there. So it’s always good to be home.”
Recorded hastily, with minimal overdubs, over eight days at Nashville’s Blackbird Studios with Jonas Brothers producer John Fields, “Who I Am” is culled from three years’ worth of unused songs.
The label declined to make available an advance copy of the full record, slated for release Feb. 2. But the lead single, and title track, will be instantly familiar to anyone who has heard a Jonas Brothers tune in heavy rotation these past few years. This brand of pop is more inclined toward shaking hips than making tweens scream.
Part of the reason it feels more mature has much to do with personnel. Fields, with help from Jonas, recruited drummer Michael Bland and keyboardist Tommy Barbarella, both of whom played with Prince’s acclaimed New Power Generation.
To think the distance between one of pop music’s most visible cash cows and one of the genre’s most influential minds has shrunk significantly is nothing less than brain-bending.
“Stevie Wonder was a big influence on this record,” says Jonas. “Prince was a big influence, especially since the guys on the record played with him at one point. I think fans will also detect my usual influences like Elvis Costello and Johnny Cash. A lot of different things came together to make my sound.”
There is, of course, an elephant in the room: What do brothers Joe and the recently married Kevin think of Nick’s decision to strike out on his own? Ever circumspect, Jonas responds with all the poise of a seasoned diplomat.
“I think each one of us has individual dreams and ambitions,” says Jonas. “For me, personally, this project fell into my lap and fit a time slot that worked out to set it up properly. I think Kevin and Joe both have things in their hearts as well.
“As far as the future goes with the Administration and the projects that I have, we’re going to see how it all rolls out.”
The reception for “Who I Am” is, as yet, unclear. Aside from the band’s debut at the Grammy nominations concert Dec. 2 and the single’s release to radio, Nick Jonas and the Administration haven’t had much face time with the public and the critics.
Indeed, it’s hard to picture many critics cracking open the disc and divorcing the songs from the Jonas Brothers’ slick, carefully groomed image. To an extent, it’s out of Nick’s control, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t on his mind.
“With this project, it’s just about me being myself,” says Jonas. “I was able to go make a record I’m really proud of, and I hope people listen to it with open ears and open minds.”
Regardless of the outcome, one senses that Jonas is already looking ahead, relentlessly moving toward the future as he pauses for a backward glance.
“You definitely do need to take a moment,” Jonas says, “and look back on the kind of year that you’ve had and the experiences you’ve had. You remember the times you were playing in front of 10 people and you’re very thankful for what you have now.”