He’s Still A Jonas Brother
Nick Jonas is all too familiar with his fans’ concerns. The teenage heartthrob’s behemoth fan base didn’t take the news of Jonas’ solo project, Nick Jonas and the Administration, all that well when it was announced late last year.
But he’s here to say it again. The Jonas Brothers are still his focus. This solo outing is just for fun.
Or is it?
“From Day One, I wanted to make sure that everybody knew this is just a side project,” Jonas said.
The Jonas Brothers, he said, remain a family act.
“We’re going into a second season of ‘Jonas’ for the Disney Channel, and after that ‘Camp Rock 2′ will come out. Next fall, we should have a Jonas Brothers world tour.”
For the 17-year-old Jonas, the next two years are already mapped out in TV, film and, of course, music. And so it’s not surprising that the junior businessman and pop star talks with a hurried excitement about Nick Jonas and the Administration, his current “side project” that plays the Paramount Theatre on Saturday and Sunday.
Jonas and his band have yet to release more than a few songs, but that hasn’t stopped many shows from selling out. (In Denver, Saturday is sold out, but Sunday tickets are still available.)
The full-length “Who I Am” comes out Feb. 2, but it’s preceded by the single that gives the record its name. The song is a funk-rooted, middle-of- the-road soft-rock track that showcases Jonas’ young, if overly emotive, affected tenor begging “someone to love me for who I am.”
It’s hardly new ground, but it’s fresh territory for Jonas, whose songwriting for his other band hasn’t hinged much on self-reflection. The underlying theme of “Who I Am” could be summed up as “Who I Want to Be”: Hard-core fans are familiar with Jonas’ obsession with the United States presidency, but that news might surprise others.
“This isn’t a political record, but politics and the presidency are very different things,” Jonas said. “When it comes to politics, I don’t like to give my opinion or get involved, but when it comes to his role and all that he does to lead this country, that interests me.”
Jonas has been to the White House multiple times — most recently to visit with President Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha — and his time spent at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. fueled his interest in the position.
How serious is Jonas about his obsession? He named his band the Administration and drops hints throughout the record (with songs named “Rose Garden,” “Olive and Arrow,” “Conspiracy Theory” and “State of Emergency”) about his fascination with the most powerful man in the world’s job. He even jokingly tossed out to this reporter, “Consider a run for it, 2040.
“It’s been great each time I’ve gone,” Jonas said. “I’ve been able to see the last two administrations at this point, and being able to play at the White House, for Obama’s daughters, was awesome.”
Jonas started writing these songs in November 2008. Not long after, Jonas found himself surrounded by a band he’d long revered. Three members of Prince’s New Power Generation band — drummer Michael Bland, keys player Tommy Barbarella and guitarist Sonny Thompson — became appointees of Jonas’ Administration, under the guidance of producer/bass player John Fields.
“When I started to recognize that these were different from the Jonas Brothers sound, I came up with the idea of going to Nashville and forming the Administration,” he said. “I’m learning a lot from the band. Just hanging with them for 20 minutes, I’d learned a lot. They’ve played with somebody I really admire, and it makes for a great learning experience.”
But is it weird for Jonas, given that most of the guys in his band are more than twice his age?
“It’s important as a band to have that dynamic of mutual respect,” Jonas said, “and we have that. Plus, we’re having a good time together.”
But ultimately it’s his brothers’ respect that has made this all possible, Jonas said.
“It’s been different, and I can feel that every night when I get up there on the stage,” Jonas said. “It’s been interesting getting used to it, but it’s the right move, and knowing that I have (my brothers’) support going into it makes me more confident. Everybody’s been very supportive. They know that I have a lot of dreams in my heart and that I have a lot of music coming out of me.”