Nick Jonas poses for a photo after performing an amazing set of his new songs on Friday afternoon (August 22) at a rehearsal space in West Hollywood, Calif.
The 21-year-old entertainer gave JustJaredJr.com a private showcase featuring four of the songs off his new album – “Chains,” “Numb,” “Push” (featuring a short cover of Jhene Aiko‘s “The Worst”), and his new single “Jealous.”
We sat down with Nick to talk about his upcoming album, which he exclusively revealed to us is self-titled. He told us about his favorite songs, filming the music videos for “Chains” and “Jealous,” and even dished on one bad habit of his – picking his nose!
Click inside to read our exclusive interview with Nick Jonas…
Nick Jonas Interview – JustJaredJr.com Exclusive
Just Jared: What inspired “Chains”?
Nick Jonas: So “Chains” I actually did not write. The way it worked was that I had about three or four songs ready for the record, so I sort of got the template of what I wanted it to sound like and then my new home Island Records said ‘Hey we have this song that fits kind of with what you’ve been doing.’ So I took it, made it my own a bit and immediately found a connection to it because I think for me it sort of took on a greater meaning of not letting things in your life hold you back from being exactly who you need to be and what’s important to you. So I connected with it in a major way.
JJ: What was it like working with Dylan Penn for that video?
NJ: Dylan’s great. She’s in a really great moment in her career where I think things are about to start happening. And she was great to have on set, I think it really works for the aesthetic of the video and sort of setting her up for her next move.
JJ: Did you write any of the songs?
NJ: Yeah, I wrote all of them except for “Chains.” So I wrote “Jealous,” “Numb” and “Push.”
JJ: What inspired “Jealous”?
NJ: “Jealous” was inspired by a feeling I think a lot of people have but are afraid to admit, especially guys. But just that thing of puffing your chest up every once and a while when someone looks at your girl while you’re with them. Not only is it disrespectful, but you feel like you’re ready to go. At the time I wrote and recorded it, I was in the middle of all the training for Kingdom, so I was really sort of hyped up on testosterone.
JJ: What’s the video for “Jealous” like?
NJ: The video is basically a trip into the mind of Nick Jonas by way of stream of consciousness. So the director, Peter, he said ‘I think if you asked someone right now, ‘Who is Nick Jonas?’ I think you’d get a million different answers. After having the chance to get to know you, I feel like none of them would really be right because you are so different than the public perception. So let’s get inside your mind because this song is very personal even though it’s fun. It’s kind of a dance song in a way. But let’s dig a little deeper and see what it means to you.’ So the video is really layered, like his art. You can see he layers a bunch of different news clippings and articles and says something greater over top of it. The video is the same way. The real message is that jealousy is something we all feel from all different walks of life, whether it’s about romance or love or family or whatever it is — insecurities. It touches on all that and also has sort of a fun through line with me and Olivia is actually in the video as well.
JJ: When is “Jealous” going to be released?
NJ: The video comes out the second week of September, the song comes out on the 7th. And then that whole week is like New York press week, so we’re doing Seth Meyers, Watch What Happens Live and Today Show and it’s a whole thing.
JJ: You performed part of Jhené Aiko’s “The Worst.” How did that song specifically inspire the album?
NJ: Just while I was recording it, I sort of got familiar with the song and just loved everything about it. I mean, from the music — which I think there’s a lot of similarities with the way my records been produced — but also the lyrics were really creative and I really like what she’s doing.
JJ: I notice a trend of all the songs you played today being one word titles, are all the songs on your album going to be like that?
NJ: I tried to do that, but there were two songs that were more than one word and it was actually really disappointing because my whole concept was for the whole thing was to be one word titles, but it didn’t work out that way because to abbreviate the other one’s would have been a bit ridiculous. But a lot of it is one word, so I’m glad you picked up on that.
JJ: Does the album have a name?
NJ: The album will be self-titled. I think that was important for me to establish who I am now and sort of put the stamp of sort of a new day on it.
JJ: Album release date?
NJ: Album release date is not official yet, but it will be sometime at the end of October, early November. Somewhere in there.
JJ: Do you have a favorite song off the album?
NJ: I’ve got a few. Like you said, it is like picking your favorite child. There’s a couple that have a different meaning for me and some that this week I like more than others. It just always depends, but “Numb” I think is one of my favorites. Me and Mike Posner have become pretty close friends. He’s a great dude and I love collaborating with him. So that one and a song called “Nothing Will Be Better” that I didn’t play now, but I’m sure I’ll play soon. [It’s] a really personal song about family and about the last year of my life. So that one I’m really proud of and I love. And then “Jealous” is probably one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written so I’m really excited that it’s the single and that we’re going to give it a big push.
JJ: Which song on the album pushed you out of your comfort zone the most?
NJ: I think a lot of them did. I really wanted to make an effort to make myself uncomfortable with what I was talking about and how transparent I was being, but I’d tell you “Nothing Will Be Better,” which was the one I mentioned about family, that one made me slightly uncomfortable and I think that’s when you do your best art, when you sort of live in a gray area and you push yourself.
JJ: Is that a four word song?!
NJ: It is!
JJ: With Kingdom, what was the training like for that?
NJ: The training was pretty insane.
JJ: Did you have any MMA training before that?
NJ: Not really. A little bit here and there, but I went a little intense on the MMA training once I got the role. It was strength training so two a days just building muscle and size, and the fighting training on top of that. That was for about two months before we started shooting and once we got shooting, I sort of just kept up with it. It was a fun process. I’m really excited. The trailer is out there. People can kind of see the tone of the show and [I’m] ready for the world to see the whole thing. It is very intense, very heavy, but I think definitely it sort of played a part in where the vibe of the music went as well. Just being that guy, my character’s name is Nate, being Nate for four of five months out of the year is a lot of time and you sort of approach things differently and think about things differently.
JJ: How many pounds of muscle did you have to build for the role?
NJ: I put on about fifteen pounds of muscle. I’ve since lost about ten of it, which feels a little better. In the trailer is when I’m at my biggest and it was just like Hulk size and that wasn’t the most comfortable thing, but it was important for the role.
JJ: Do you have a favorite scene you shot for the series?
NJ: My fight scenes in the first episode. Something happens to my character and it’s a spoiler so I can’t really give it away, but I got to fight in the first episode and it was so fun. I trained really hard for that and it kind of had to pay off because I got to do all the stunts myself. I didn’t have a stunt double and there’s a moment in the trailer where it shows one of the moves I do and it’s pretty cool.
JJ: Did you get any injuries?
NJ: Luckily I steered clear of the injuries. I was sore all the time. I mean, salt water baths every day, but my cast mates got hurt. Jonathan Tucker, the guy who plays my brother, he took an elbow to the face one day and got, I think, seven or eight stitches right across the eye. So there were some injuries, but it was all fun. It’s all worth it.
JJ: Do you have a favorite prop from set?
NJ: Hmm… my character didn’t have a whole lot of props. The show is very heavy as I mentioned and my character gets into weed in the season and the fake weed that they have on TV sets is really funny. It’s like oregano. That’s what it smells and tastes like and it wasn’t my favorite, but it was just funny that I’d be walking around set with this joint of oregano.
JJ: These are three random questions. Do you have any bad habits?
NJ: Bad habits… I pick my nose from time to time. That’s a pretty bad habit and my closest friends will call me out on it. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it, but I think at the end of the day everyone picks their nose, in the car or wherever. But my philosophy is our fingers are the perfect size to go in there, so just embrace it!
JJ: Do you remember who your first celebrity crush was?
NJ: My first celebrity crush, yes. Shania Twain, no doubt about it. I got to meet her earlier this year in Vegas. I went to her show and I fanboyed out.
JJ: Did you tell her?
NJ: I didn’t tell her. I played it cool, but I was nervous. I’ll be honest, it was a moment for me because I really loved her. I was specifically watching this concert special that she did in Chicago with this like yellow rash guard on, but somehow she pulled it off and looked beautiful. Anyway, I met her and soon after realized she was following me on Twitter and that was pretty amazing. Big moment!
JJ: And finally, what was the most romantic thing you’ve done?
NJ: I think the twelve gifts of Christmas basically. That was pretty romantic. Very thoughtful, like each gift had a purpose and a meaning and some kind of back story. And it was laid out for twelve days. It was really cool. A good thing.
JJ: It’s like Hanukkah, but for Christmas!
NJ: Kind of! Exactly, it all came at once instead of spreading it out.