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Interview:
Youngest Jonas brother turns soul man for solo release
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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The Jonas Brothers are in the rearview mirror, and Nick Jonas isn't spending much time looking back.

The youngest member of the trio was, in fact, the first to go solo with his Nick Jonas & the Administration side band in 2010. Now he's prepping for the release of a new self-titled solo album on Nov. 11, as well as the premiere of a new TV show, "Kingdom," on Oct. 8.

"I think it's really important to approach this next phase in my career like I'm starting over," Jonas, 22, explains by phone as his tour bus heads into San Francisco, coming in with no expectations and sort of putting my head down and going to work. I'm definitely approaching this go-around like I'm a new artist."

Jonas is, of course, anything but. Born in Dallas, he was on the fast track to stardom, appearing in Broadway productions from the age of seven, including "A Christmas Carol," "Annie Get Your Gun," "Beauty and the Beast," "Les Miserables" and the "Sound of Music." He also released a solo album in 2004.

During his tenure with brothers Kevin and Joe, meanwhile, the trio sold more than 17 million albums worldwide and scored five Top 20 singles, along with two "Camp Rock" films for the Disney Channel. The Administration's "Who I Am" album, meanwhile, debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart in 2010.

The first two singles from "Nick Jonas" -- "Jealous" and "Chains" -- indicate a musical sea change, embracing an array of R&B flavors that should not be foreign to his fans but are explored more directly this time around.

"I kinda had the sound of the record already set in my head and walked into it with a pretty clear idea of the kind of album I wanted to make," says Jonas, who co-wrote two songs for the album with Birmingham Groves High School graduate Mike Posner and duets with Demi Lovato on a track called "Avalanche." says. "The main thing I was after was infusing the soul and sort of R&B element of what comes pretty naturally for me as a vocalist. I've been inspired by Stevie Wonder and Prince and all that, but more recently by the Weeknd and the more modern, alternative R&B thing.

"So I was just trying to create a sound that has all those influences. It's about trying to be as honest as I could be and sort of settle into that sound and create without any fear."

And that includes not being worried about his fans will make of the change.

"I don't think it's a complete departure from things I've done in the past," Jonas says. "In a lot of ways it complements the music I've done in the past. It's just a growth and evolution. 'Jealous' and 'Chains' give a pretty good idea, and I'm really excited for people to hear the rest of the record."

"I feel like any time you start something new it's important to give it the time to settle with the audience and give it the time to grow and everything."

Jonas also returns to his acting roots this fall -- without the singing. "Kingdom," airing on DirectTV's Audience Network, stars Jonas as an extreme prizefighter, for which he spent a year training with the MMA and came out looking "a bit like an animal."

"I was at a point in my life last year where I was really prioritizing and wanted to do some acting," Jonas recalls. "The show came up and I was blown away the writing. I had to work really hard and prove to people I could handle it, 'cause it's a really intense acting role. But after the audition process was done and I actually got the role, then we went to work, and it's been really incredible.

"Hopefully people will like it and we'll get to do a second season."

Nick Jonas

Sunday, Oct. 5. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac

Tickets are $29.50 in advance, $35 day of show

Call 248-858-9322 or visit www.thecrofoot.com

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Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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