Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Nick Jonas goes on solo campaign

If teenage girls chose the president, Nick Jonas would win by a landslide.
"Thank you," chuckles the 17-year-old heartthrob down the line from Los Angeles. "You know, I've always joked about wanting to run for president ... I don't think I'm actually planning to run for president anytime soon. But maybe in about 2040. We'll see what happens."
While all those screaming fans wait for Jonas's political administration, they can enjoy his musical one. The youngest Jonas Brother has just tossed his hat into the solo-career ring, releasing the album Who I Am with his new side project The Administration, a band featuring several former members of Prince's New Power Generation. True to the band's handle and heritage, the disc is a bipartisan document that melds get-down funk-rock licks and grooves with politically tinged titles like Rose Garden, Conspiracy Theory and State of Emergency.
And true to Jonas's status as one-third of America's biggest teen-pop brother act, he's been hitting the campaign trail hard, playing everywhere from the Grammys nomination TV special to the Santa Monica pier to plug the disc.
Shortly after finishing three nights at L.A.'s Wiltern Theatre and taking part in the re-recording of We Are the World to benefit Haitian earthquake relief, Jonas stopped rocking the vote long enough to discuss his hectic schedule, hanging with Prince's band and sibling rivalry. If the diplomacy of his answers are anything to go by, Barack Obama better watch his back.

You seem crazy-busy these days. And all of this is falling on your shoulders, without your brothers to share the load. Is that harder than you anticipated?
You know what? It's been all right. Each moment has been a learning experience, and I've had a fun time figuring it all out. And the fans have been absolutely incredible and made me feel very competent and comfortable in this new setting. So I have to say thank you to all of them.

You originally set out to be a solo artist before you teamed with your brothers. Does it feel like you're finally getting back on that track, and what's it like to be up there without Joe and Kevin?
It is much different. And at first, it was kind of interesting to get used to. But once I got used to it, it was awesome. And the shows were unbelievable. The fans were so supportive and so passionate, which is always cool to see. They make it all worthwhile.

You say you had to get used to it. Can you elaborate? What did you have to get used to and how did you get used to it?
The main thing was the travelling. It was so different than anything I've been used to in the past. I really needed to take the time to get used to being accustomed to being on my own a lot more and being away from the family and all that. But once I did, it was OK. I really got into a groove about three or four shows into the tour.
All the guys in your band are much older than you. How do they treat you -- as the boss, as a younger brother?
I think we all have an equal level of respect for each other, which is important when you're trying to make music together. Having them be there and be supportive is great. I'm learning so much from them and I'm really just trying to soak it all in because they are all so talented and they really inspire me in so many ways.

Most of them used to play with Prince. Have you heard some cool Prince stories?
They have told some really great stories about Prince -- about how cool the guy is, and how much fun they had playing with him. But what's funny is that they just say it in casual conversation. If I had any type of Prince story, I think I'd be jumping off the walls excited. But they just kind of say it as if it's -- well, I guess it is one of their buddies, but it's kind of hard to believe.

You and your brothers work well together. But do you have a friendly sibling rivalry too? Isn't there a part of you that wants this CD to be great and successful so you can tweak them?
Not really. I wouldn't have done this had they not been supportive and had I not felt like this was about me making a project that was in my heart. In no way was this a poke at them or anything like that. That would be a bit disrespectful after all the years that we've been working hard together. It's just about me making this record and trying to be honest with the songs I was writing.

Given that you're trying to take a more mature direction with this material, are you starting to get tired of the screaming?
For me, it's their way of showing their appreciation for what I do. I'm thankful for them and for the response that they give. And I know that it's from the heart and that's what matters. It can be loud and a bit hard on the ears sometimes, but it's all in good fun. I know they're just being supportive.




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