Nick Jonas Reveals The Jonas Brothers Were Almost A Punk Band
The singer charmed Oxford University during his frank discussion about "resilience". Here are the highlights.
Last week Nick Jonas appeared at Oxford University to talk about his life growing up in the public eye.
And the singer showed just how laidback he can be by answering every question that was put to him and even jumping in a minibus back to London with BuzzFeed afterwards. Nick discussed everything from the scrutiny into his sex life as a 13-year-old, his faith, his ambitions, secret songwriting games with Demi Lovato, and the fact that the Jonas Brothers were ~almost~ a punk band.
Here are the highlights.
I think that the night of the Grammy performance with Stevie Wonder was really number one. I've now (also) performed for all of the US presidents since I've been alive. ... Those ones were great.
There was this weird old story for a while that my brothers and I – someone took the time to write a whole two-page article – that we had a mannequin that we travel with that we would dress up in clothes that we would wear the next day. And we got very specific and we had to match them to our underwear. That would be so self-obsessed!And there were other things like that I was getting engaged or that I'm ... dead. News to me!
I wrote music with my brothers and myself, so there was this element of, 'Who is this song about?' I found ways to place peoples' names in songs without them knowing. I have a good friend, Demi Lovato, and we wrote songs together and that was like our goals. 'Let's find ways to slide these references in and only the person listening will know.' And it was fun.
There was something [that I wanted to do]. ... I really believed that I could walk on to a baseball team and be on the team. I was like, 'I'm definitely going to do this,' and I actually believed this so much that Joe Torre, who was the coach of the Yankees for a long time and is now the coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he invited me to come and join the Dodgers once and actually live the life of a baseball player for a few days. ... And, you know, I love the game and was actually considering going to university in Chicago to see if I could play there and study as well ... but my life just took a different turn.
Yes, I think so. I think that I have a relationship with God. ... I feel like some of my views may not fall directly in line with all people's views of the Christian faith but I do have a very solid relationship with God and it's important to me. My journey with him will continue to grow. ... I think it's important for us to go on a journey and discover who we are.
6. On the first song he chose to audition with at six years old: one by Celine Dion.
Things started to change at the label we were at, so the key players started to move out. New people came in and they saw a different vision for us. It went from Jonas Brothers that is 'positive and encouraging' to 'we're going to be a punk band'. Positive and encouraging...to punk band.
The moments that are tough are more so: the travelling and interviews and things where you rely on other people. The performance aspect of it I think is the exciting part because I'm singing about things I'm passionate about and I feel like comes from a true and artistic place. And so that bit's great.
We were in Germany ... and we got to the hotel and the security went to get our bags out of the back and there was a man stowed in the back. It was actually kind of frightening. That was one experience, but there was a couple.
I love Paris, I think it's an amazing city and I love every time I go there. I also love London. ... I also love some of our American cities as well. Chicago is one of them, and San Francisco, and New York is my favourite. I lived there for two years and I'm very interested in getting back there.
My brother Kevin had done some commercials. … Some really, really embarrassing commercials. Please search 'Kevin Jonas commercial', it will make your whole life.
Living your life in front of other people is incredibly hard: Your hair looks really dumb, you're wearing Ed Hardy T-shirts. ... For me the hardest part of all of it was the emphasis on sex and sex life, and how at 13 or 14 years old, because of the attachment of us being seen on screen ... it was OK to comment on a 13- or 14-year-old's sex life. That wasn't appropriate, you wouldn't normally do that, but public life and celebrity life take that away. ... And it was hard for us, we all went on our own journey. ... Sex and other things – you're supposed to go on that journey on your own.And then there was the whole dating thing. Which, wow... Google Images is painful! I had a few public romances and it was strange. It still is. I thought it was pretty boring.
I think it's about how much you want to see and how much it will affect you as well. So I was of the view that you can't control what people are saying about you or your friends or your girlfriends, whatever it is. So you have to live your life and know you're on your own journey. ... I feel like for me I just tried to stay in with my family, and you know, once I was comfortable enough with who I was as a person and how I feel about sex.
I think it was very important to my journey. I don't know if it was a distaste. ... It's just that it's been 14 years of this and my nose was too big for my face! But I think it's important for what it is and it's important to the overall project.
15. On the fact he once played Chip the teacup in a Broadway show of Beauty and the Beast:
After he admitted it and everyone cooed "awww", he joked: "I knew that would happen!"
I think Prince is one of them, I think Stevie Wonder, I love The Beatles – Paul McCartney specifically. ... And some recent influences too that were really important for this record. ... People like Frank Ocean, Drake.
As we were writing [our first song together] I was fighting this feeling that I had. This feeling that this could actually be something amazing. There was some magic and I didn't quite know what it was about it that could be so great, because I was fighting it. Because at 11, 12 years old I was living in fear that this opportunity that I had would be taken away and it would become three instead of one. ... Selfish, very selfish.Once I accepted it that this was the right thing, because there's that moment when you have to grow up and accept and acknowledge that there's a magic in something. ... And it felt right.
I was out with my girlfriend one night and we were having a good night out, having some drinks, having some dinner, and I was looking around thinking, 'Hey, this must look like a nice date' (joking), and I said it just like that. ... And I was in the middle of filming this TV show, bearing in mind I was about 15 pounds bigger [in muscle] than I am right now, which I'm currently putting back on. But I was also fight-training all day ... and this guy in front of my girlfriend was just staring at her, and I kind of noticed it once or twice. By the third or fourth time I was like, 'Come on dude, this is not OK.' And I found myself getting jealous. I got stuck on this experience and was going on about it so [my friend] said, 'You should write a song about that.' I needed to get it off my chest, so I wrote the song.
I think [screen acting and stage acting are] both very different. The on-screen stuff, you have to wait for a reaction for months, and the stuff you can do and say on TV is very different to being on a Broadway stage or West End stage. But I do love both. ... I'd love to write, it's my next goal. So hopefully that will happen in the next couple of years.
20. On the fact he doesn't get to see his girlfriend, Olivia Culpo, much at the moment:
Jonas told BuzzFeed after the talk that he's not seeing her all month because he's travelling and she's in Indonesia on a modelling job. Although he revealed that she flew in to see him on Valentine's Day for four hours. Aww. "It's tough, but it is what it is at the moment," he said.