By Brian Mansfield, Special for USA TODAY
Instead of referring to Nick Jonas as the "serious one," maybe Jonas Brothers fans should start calling him the "workaholic one."
In the spring, while his older brothers vacationed, the trio's youngest member went to Nashville and recorded a solo album.
Nick Jonas & the Administration, which features former members of Prince's New Power Generation, will release their album, Who I Am, on Feb. 2. The group will make its live debut performing a single of the same name on the Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! special Dec. 2 on CBS.
"I had written five or six songs that were on my heart, things that were just pouring out of me with this new and exciting sound," says Jonas, 17. "They weren't necessarily right for the Jonas Brothers, but I thought they could be perfect for something else."
Jonas cut the album in eight days with producer John Fields, who also played bass. Additional members of the Administration include drummer Michael Bland and keyboardist Tommy Barbarella, both of whom played in the New Power Generation. Guitarist David Ryan Harris played on the album, but a third former NPG member, Sonny Thompson, will replace him for live shows.
Jonas describes the sound as "Heart & Soul." "It's a cross between my roots in R&B and soul with a kind of rock/pop music behind it," he says.
"We would set up in individual booths and play simultaneously," Jonas says. "There are very few overdubs on the record. Some songs are full live. It has a raw, late-'60s/early-'70s rock/soul sound."
Drummer Bland calls the solo material "more rootsy" than a Jonas Brothers album. "It's a very organic record," he says. "We weren't really thinking about format or whether a song was going to sound like a hit or not."
The name of the band, as well as song titles such as The Rose Garden, Olive & An Arrow, Conspiracy Theory and State of Emergency, plays off of Jonas' much-publicized fascination with the presidency.
World War III, from the most recent Jonas Brothers album, Lines, Vines and Trying Times, initially was intended as an Administration song. Who I Am includes a remake of the Jonas Brothers hit Tonight.
When word of the side project surfaced a few weeks ago, breakup rumors followed.
"It's kind of funny when you hear the breakup talk and you're gearing up to have a really busy year," Nick says.
Both of his brothers support the project: "Nick has made such a fantastic record, and we are so proud of him," says Kevin.
"We can't wait to check out his live show," adds Joe.
Nick plans an Administration tour in early 2010 before the next season of Disney Channel's JONAS begins production. Those concerts, yet to be announced, might also include some familiar material.
"We're going to play the record and a couple of covers, songs that we all like and want to play live," he says.
"I've thought that I would play some of the songs that I've written for the Jonas Brothers, things that are personal to me."
Source: USA Today