GQ Hype with Nick Jonas Cover Feature
Nick Jonas knows you play his music when lovemaking
A seasoned veteran of the entertainment world, Nick Jonas talks romance, dadbods, and his new album, Spaceman.
Nick Jonas is a seasoned veteran when it comes to the world of entertainment, with his career on stage, screen and streaming services recently ticking into its 22nd year. Which is all the more incredible when you remember the man born Nicholas Jerry Jonas in Dallas, Texas has only been on Planet Earth for 28 years.
In that tie he’s evolved from the super driven seven-year-old appearing on Broadway to the de facto leader of Disney-promoted, purity ring-wearing family boyband The Jonas Brothers to, more recently, the buzzcut and bomber jacket-sporting solo star. In-between all that has been acting roles (Jumanji) and TV judging spots (The Voice), as well as a hugely successful Jo-Bro reunion and a high profile marriage to actor Priyanka Chopra.
His third solo album – well technically his fourth if you count 2005’s Christian-leaning self-titled debut, which most people don’t – the sleek electropop of Spaceman, released last month, charts his journey through lockdown and specifically being separated from Chopra while she was away working. It’s also a record that touches on shared experience – there are lyrics about face masks on the title track, while the album booklet mentions the dreaded “new normal” – even if some of the references skew extravagant: “This is caviar with some Pringles,” he sings on the loved-up “Death Do Us Part.” That’s just the life of Nick Jonas in 2021: a heady mix of the mundane and the magnificent…
Do you remember what was in your schedule at the start of 2020?
We [the Jonas Brothers] had just wrapped up our tour, so we were looking forward to some downtime, although we couldn’t have imagined it would go on as long as it did. It’s been bizarre. I’ve spent so much of my life travelling and doing different things. That part of it I was OK with [losing], because I understand the importance of all of us staying home, but I also just really missed the action, things happening. It’s nice that it’s starting to feel like life is getting back to a version of normal now.
The Jonas Brothers reunion was hugely successful. Do you like the risk element of going back to the solo work, of having to carry it all on your shoulders?
I suppose I could always blame the other two guys in the band if things didn’t pan out [laughs]. But no. You carry the same responsibility as a solo artist as you do in a group, I feel. I just love to create so perhaps the volume of my solo output is more reflective of that, rather than making a conscious decision to do more solo stuff over Brothers stuff. There are certain creative instincts I have as a solo artist that are just inherently different when I’m recording with the group.
When did you start working on Spaceman?
Last summer. I was kind of bored at home. It’s a true reflection of what I was feeling and the experiences I was having navigating this strange time. Also having spent some time away from my wife while she was shooting and talking about that in the music and bringing it to life.
Parts of the album are very sex-focused. Are you conscious people use your songs to soundtrack sweet lovemaking?
I am and I think it’s flattering. It’s important to have a good playlist and I certainly have mine. I wouldn’t include my own music on that playlist though.
No. Quite off-putting, I imagine.
It is. But I would be thrilled if someone used my music on theirs for that experience.
Are you romantic in general?
I would like to think so.
Didn’t you propose to Priyanka the very first time you met her?
Kind of. It was a sort of proposal. I did get down on one knee and say, “Where have you been all my life?” But I didn’t say, “Will you marry me?” That came much later.
Did Priyanka give any feedback on the album?
She’s the first person I play stuff for. Her input and opinions mean a lot to me, especially when it’s something so directly tied to our experience and our relationship. She loved it, which was great.
If she hadn’t liked a song would you have taken if off the album?
It’s important to have that natural dialogue. If there was something she was working on that I didn’t feel was 100 per cent what it could be, and vice versa, we would share that with each other out of love and respect for one another.
Do you think it has taken a bit of time for you to be taken seriously, given the Disney and boyband tags?
Yeah, I think so. That’s just naturally come with age and with continuing to evolve and grow. Lots of factors have helped that. And you look at that graduating class of our Disney days [Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato all came from that era] and everyone’s continuing to do pretty well. I don’t think working with [Disney] has the stigma that it did in our day, thankfully. I think it’s wonderful what’s happening with [Disney+ star] Olivia Rodrigo and others who have been launched on programmes that are targeted towards teenagers but are still being taken seriously. I think one of the biggest misconceptions about [The Jonas Brothers] in the early days was that first of all it was manufactured, which is just impossible because, well, we’re brothers. The second was that the music we released as The Jonas Brothers was manufactured in some ways. It truly wasn’t.
Do you think how you look, objectively attractive, has meant people have perhaps been dismissive of your work?
I don’t know if I’m at liberty to say that or not because it’s something about me. That certainly doesn’t affect my ability to appreciate someone else’s work. But we don’t all think the same way, so I’m not sure. I can understand that it is a thing.
How do you feel about being considered a sex symbol?
Er, I think it’s flattering, but attraction is such a nuanced thing. I don’t take it too seriously. I just learn to laugh about it and think about the fact that my parents are probably reading some of the comments. It’s not something I wear as a badge of honour. I tend to try to not think about it, because it would make me feel a little embarrassed.
A few years ago there was a lot of talk about you having a “dadbod”. Was it weird to have your body discussed and critiqued in that way?
I think when it’s comments attached to things like appearance and body image, that’s when it can become quite dangerous, because no one ever knows what someone is going through or how it affects them personally. They’re very sensitive topics. But in the same way, you live a public life and therefore parts of your life are going to be talked about and it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s fair. It’s just a part of your reality. I’m always hopeful that people will think about whether they would say it at a dinner party if the person was sitting opposite you and I’d guess that 99.9 per cent of people would say they wouldn’t
Do you ever google yourself?
I don’t really google myself any more because Twitter is pretty helpful in that regard. It feels way less self-absorbed just to go and look at your mentions as opposed to what Google is saying. But there was a time when I would probably have googled myself because our life is so public. If there is something you should be aware of that’s out there it’s good to have a heads up. It’s not because I want to read about myself. I prefer when it’s quiet.
If you could only use one social media platform for the rest of time which one would it be?
I feel like Instagram is my favourite. It’s the one I feel is used less for hate [laughs]. Twitter generally is such a platform for negativity. It’s also had brilliant things that have come from it, of course. But Instagram just feels fun.
You mentioned Twitter and negativity and last year that was tied into Trump and the US elections. Do you feel more positive about 2021 in that regard?
I feel very hopeful. I feel optimistic. I feel a sense of peace that I didn’t feel before because the tone of communication now seems more reasonable, more balanced and more appropriate. And that’s encouraging. There’s still so much that we’ve got to figure out. And that’s not limited to American politics; that’s globally. I feel like things are starting to get cleaned up but there’s a lot of stuff every day that is saddening and disheartening to consume. And that’s on top of what’s been going on this last year with Covid. I’m hopeful that we’re turning that corner after 2020, which I think was one of the worst years ever
Spaceman is out now. Nick Jonas hosts the Billboard Awards on 23 May.