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Pop pin-up Nick Jonas has been generating ample heat over the last year thanks to his Platinum flavored jam ‘Jealous’.
Lifted from his self-titled debut, the track has helped establish the former Jonas Brothers staple as one of the industry’s hottest new solo stars.
Currently gearing up to hit the road with Iggy Azalea on The Great Escape Tour, the 22-year-old chatted it up with That Grape Juice about his meteoric rise, racy image, gay fans, the media scrutiny of Azalea, his current music and his next project.
Check out the EXCLUSIVE interview below…
Sam (That Grape Juice): Hey Nick! Welcome to That Grape Juice!
You’ve had a whirlwind year! How would you describe the last 6-12 months?
It’s been pretty wild. You know for me it is a little nerve racking at first, taking a step out of my home and take that chance but I think it really paid off and it has been really rewarding in a lot of ways. I am just so excited about the next chapter of my life.
Within you, how has the transition been between from a member of a collective to a solo artist? Did you have any apprehensions?
Definitely. I think that there always a fear that a step out that you are taking might not be received, or you don’t have the will. I wanted people to feel the music and really try to embrace it in that way. I am thrilled that they did and that they are continuing to trying to grow with me in this.
We love ‘Jealous’ and enjoy your self-titled album. For those who haven’t heard the LP, how would you describe it sonically?
It’s a real cross between a little Soul and Pop. I kind of tapped into some of my older influences, people like Stevie Wonder, Prince and sort of that side of things but also the newer things like Frank Ocean and The Weekend. Just really tried to pour out some of those influences and create my sound.
Which three tracks would you say best capture the project’s DNA?
I think that ‘Jealous’ definitely does that. There is a song called ‘Push’ which is one of my favorite songs on the record, gives you really good representation of the kind of songs that I am going for. And then I think ‘Teacher’ is another song.
Your image is much edgier these days, as seen with a lot of the skin baring photo-shoots. Was this a conscious decision going into this project?
I think for me it was more about just really trying to evolve, and get out (of a box). Something that gave people a better idea of who I am today as opposed to what they are familiar with me from the past. I do feel people have a better idea of who I am and it’s a great feeling. I am just hoping that it continues to evolve in that way and that I can continue to grow and that people grow with me.
As you mentioned, the album has quite a pronounced Urban influence.
How do you respond to critics who look at it as just another member of a Pop band going “Urban” – i.e. following the Justin Timberlake route?
I think that there are always going to be critiques and you kind of just have to either allow it in or not. My approach is not to. I feel like I have a pretty natural progression musically and the music I am creating now does a pretty good job of representing who I am as an artist. So I’m not so fussed with that criticism.
We know you’re preparing to hit the road with Iggy Azalea on The Great Escape Tour. What can fans look forward to?
I think the biggest thing is that it’s just going to be a great show between Iggy who is an amazing performer and Tinahse who is also on the tour and hopefully myself. So we are going to bring a great show to the fans. Literally just try to step out and make a big impact.
We really loved the ‘Jealous’ remix with Tinashe. What was it like working with her?
She is really so professional and such a talent. I was kind of blown away with a couple of things that we did together when she was here (and we performed the song). So I am excited for this tour and the fact that she has done that remix was a really great thing.
In regard to Iggy, what’s your take on all the talk about her authenticity?
I think there is always going to be criticism, no matter what you are doing. I feel that if we really choose to let it creep in it can really affect your ability to be real or to be artistic. I think she is doing her thing and she is clearly doing a good job if she is evoking that much conversation. I think that she has had a great year, so good for her.
Let’s talking acting. You’ve been getting ample praise for your role in ‘Kingdom’. Now, you’ve signed up for ‘Scream Queens’. Tell us a little about your role in that?
‘Scream Queens’ is a show I am very excited to be a part of. The news about it just came out the other day – so good spotting. Basically it is a Ryan Murphy project with a really great cast. For me I cannot say too much about the plot or anything else so I cannot give too much information away but I am thrilled that the acting side of my career is taking off somewhat like the music and there are projects that I can get behind and showcase couple of different sides of who I am as an actor.
You made a quote in an interview last year that we thought was awesome. You said:
“I’ve really been trying to make an effort to talk with my gay fan base and find unique opportunities to set up the next chapter of my life and my career with them in it”
It’s not often you hear male acts bold enough to say this. Why is this important to you?
There were a lot of my gay fans (supporting me) before I started the promo and this next chapter of my career and they were saying that your gay fan base is always one of the most supportive and you should really make an effort to approach and try to blend them into this next chapter. I was loving that idea and really tried to take a step out and take that. It’s been amazing just to see how incredible they have been. To just make that kind of thinking as a male artist, I think it is rare and we are at a time where progression is important and if I can be a part of that in any way I would be honored.
What could we expect to find on your iPod and what would we be most surprised to see?
What would you expect to see would be probably Stevie Wonder as he is a big influence and you would be surprised to see will be Shania Twain!
Awesome! So, the Grammy’s are on Sunday; who are your Album of the Year picks. It’s looking quite tight between Sam Smith and Beyoncé?
It’s a really tough category. I mean I have love for all those nominees but I think that Sam Smith has had kind of an undeniable year and clearly made a really brilliant record so could go to him.
We know that right your current album is your focus, ‘Jealous’ is your focus, ‘Chains’ is your focus, and the tour too. That said, are there any plans in place for the next album?
Yeah actually I already kind of started the process. `Trying some songs that I like and trying to see where it’s going to go next. Really trying to guide process in direction of what I want it to sound like and feel like. A bunch of these (new) songs are pretty close to being done very soon.
And finally, how do you want to be remembered?
I think the way I want to be remembered as someone that wasn’t afraid to take chances and push myself artistically and creatively and surprise people. I think that the goal for me as an artist and as an actor is to continue to evolve in a way that people think they know what I am going to do but go on to throw a curve ball.
Nick’s new single ‘Jealous’ is out in the UK on February 23rd, while his self-titled album arrives March 2nd.
Both are currently available in the US.