Sometimes young superstars fade from glory when they grow up. Not so with Nick Jonas.
The pop-R&B and soul singer – who found early success through the ever-churning Disney teen machine with the “Camp Rock” franchise and alongside brothers Joe and Kevin in the heartthrob trio The Jonas Brothers – is hotter than ever today at age 23, thanks to a killer falsetto and looks that graduated from cute kid to GQ-cover hot.
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Jonas is also stretching his acting chops, with prominent TV roles in “American Horror Story” and “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy’s new Fox series “Scream Queens” and DirecTV’s mixed martial arts drama “Kingdom,” among other projects.
Jonas hits the Fillmore Miami Beach on Sunday in support of his self-titled breakout album, featuring the smash hits “Jealous” and “Chains,” plus the new “Levels.”
He talked to the Miami Herald about going solo, his falsetto, his experience with Disney and his somewhat reluctant status as a sex symbol.
What can we expect from this show?
I worked very, very hard with my amazing team to create some really unique and special visuals for each song, so I’m excited for my fans to see that.
Back when you were in the Jonas Brothers with Kevin and Joe, did you feel that you had it in you to break out and blow up solo?
I definitely felt like it was something I really wanted to do – it was just a matter of the timing. I had to be smart about when that was gonna be, and my brothers and I had an amazing run together, and I had to wait until it was the right time to close that chapter.
You’ve been a performer since you were a little kid – has it always felt natural to you, and did you always want to be a star?
Yeah, but I think it was more just loving music and performing – I genuinely just love to sing and perform for people, and if people wanted to listen, that just made it that much better. But I’ve been singing for longer than I’ve been talking, it feels like.
You’ve got an amazing falsetto – how did you discover that?
Over time, you just try out some different things and see what feels right. My falsetto is something that I’ve been really passionate about and wanted to spend time to build that up and become a better vocalist. It’s something that I’ve had to work on pretty hard.
Is it harder and riskier to sing falsetto, because there’s a chance that it’s not going to work?
Yeah, it’s a pretty vulnerable spot for a vocalist, but once you kind of lock into it, it’s a really interesting approach to singing and emoting.
How was the recent MTV VMAs experience for you?
Being nominated was really special, and the whole vibe was a lot of fun – there’s so many things going on that it can be really insane, so you just have to find a way to have a good time and enjoy yourself.
Any comment on Kanye West’s rant? Are you going to vote for him for President in 2020?
[Laughs] Actually, I’m still mad at myself, because I went to the restroom right when he went into his speech. And when I came back from the bathroom, they said you can’t come back into the room yet, so I had to wait on the side. So I couldn’t watch it – I had to watch the highlights of it afterward.
Are you glad you did the Disney thing?
Yeah, I think my Disney days bought me some of the best training I’ve ever had and a great work ethic. I’m grateful to have had that experience, but happy now to have grown and to have pushed myself beyond that first introduction people had to me.
You’ve also grown as an actor, with “Scream Queens” and “Kingdom” and other stuff. But are you actually into mixed martial arts?
A little bit now, because of the show. I started getting more and more into it – I don’t necessarily consider myself a fighter [chuckles], definitely more an actor playing a fighter, but I got to work with some amazing trainers and learn that skill set and work hard in that way as well.
Is it strange being a sex symbol?
Yeah, it’s weird. Sometimes I don’t think I’ll ever really get used to it. And also, I don’t really know if it’s the best thing for me to think of myself in that way – I think that kinda immediately makes it unsexy.
What’s next for you musically after this tour?
Basically after this tour, I go back into production on “Kingdom.” But I’ve already got a single ["Levels”] from the next album, which will be out at the beginning of next year – that’s the goal.