Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers is thankful for the support system that has made him what he is today.
The National's Teen Life columnist talks to Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers
I like to fancy myself an unworldly person. When I was asked if I would like to interview the Jonas brothers, I coolly responded with something along the lines of, "Yes, please, that will be a very interesting experience."
But it's only for so long that you can pretend because the next moment I was tearing around the house jumping up and down like Tigger on a pogo stick.
It's not every day that a teenager living in Dubai, like me, gets to have a chat with the world-famous Disney pop sensations, after all. And the appeal of the JoBros doesn't just extend to the tweenage section of society, as was made clear when I casually mentioned in a phone conversation with a friend that I had been presented with an opportunity to have a tête-à-tête with either Nick, Joe or Kevin. ("Hello? Omigod omigod, I'm going to talk to one of the Jonas brothers!! EEE!!")
When I arrived at school the next morning, half the year group knew, and throughout the day I continued to be inundated with requests to tell the brothers how much Emily or Lisa or Debbie or whoever adored them with every atom of her heart. Someone I had never seen before stopped me to ask if I was actually friends with Kevin Jonas. "Taught him to play guitar," I answered solemnly and she wandered away in stunned admiration. When the brothers arrive in Abu Dhabi for their concert, security will have a tough time warding off my screaming classmates who are convinced their acquaintance with me entitles them to backstage passes.
Despite having rocketed to stardom when they were just kids, they seem surprisingly grounded. Nick Jonas began performing on Broadway at the age of seven, and years of being in the spotlight has given him a relaxed, easy air that lets him handle media attention with poise and charm. He greets me pleasantly on the phone and talks freely, seemingly unbothered by the time restrictions that control his tight schedule. He tells me he's taken fame in his stride, but stresses that it was his support system that made him what he is today.
"I've been blessed with a good group of people around me, who helped not only me but also my brothers in our journey so far," he says, "and that made this whole thing a lot easier.
"But if we didn't have each other it would have been a lot more difficult. We're really thankful for that relationship."
While most of us have enjoyed and struggled with school at some point in our life, with all the homework, friends, terrifying teachers and drama that are part of the package, Nick has only been to normal school up till third grade. I know I certainly wouldn't have bothered continuing something as trivial as my education when I could be getting an education as versatile as Nick has had - the kind that teaches you how to survive Hollywood. His parents obviously didn't think like me, though. It can't be easy to motivate yourself to do algebra after you've staggered back from shooting a scene for Disney's Camp Rock 2. He, however, is thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling: "I did go to a normal school for a while; I went to normal school from kindergarten to third grade, so I had that experience for a little while. I'm glad that I had a system that worked with my schedule; it was a really nice strength."
With smash-hit albums like It's About Time and A Little Bit Longer under their belts, the brothers are currently on a world tour that will see them visiting places ranging from San Antonio to Abu Dhabi. With millions of people around the globe watching their every move and looking forward to their concerts, they're living the dream, but who do they think are the real stars?
"Our father's been a big part of our musical career - he's one of our call managers and he's been an inspiration for us, which is a really great thing. But musically, people like Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash, Prince - those were all good ones for us."
Following in their idols' footsteps, they hope that 20 years on from now, they will "continue making music together, or as individuals.
"We have a big passion for this, so we want to continue to do this for as long as we can. We love what we do together and we hope the future holds more opportunities for us to do that."
Being three brothers having greatness thrust upon them when they were merely children, it's a wonder no sort of sibling rivalry exists between them. Their lack of any open hostility towards each other, unlike the case of certain other celebrity brothers or sisters, means that their ridiculously squeaky-clean image has managed to evade tarnishing.
Nick laughs off my suggestion that they ever fight or argue over little things. "We don't really - we're kind of past that age. At this point, we know there's no point in it, it's unproductive, so we just try to enjoy what we do together and really have a good time.
"We realise we've lived our dreams together and that's an amazing thing, so we're really close like that. There's no point in fighting."
So they've never had any differences? (I don't have any siblings but manage to reduce my cousins to floods of tears the one time in the year I see them.) And they've never fought?
"We've had little petty things here and there," he concedes, "but nothing really big, and nothing that's ever blown up into a bigger issue than it should." Diplomatic, much? I suppose there's a reason they're stars and the rest of us are not.
Seeing that it's always been all sweetness and light between them, is there a chance that things will sour, or they will simply decide to go their own ways, splitting up as a group and pursuing their own careers?
"I hope not!" Nick exclaims. "We don't know what the future holds, but we do know that we love what we do together and we're supportive of each other, and our individual dreams too, as a group."
But if "loving what we do together" isn't enough to stop their lives taking their own courses... "If things don't work out as we planned, we'll figure something out. We love what we do together and that's what's important."
It's clear from the passion with which they take control of the stage that they love what they do, but being a superstar can't be all perks. There must be days when even the JoBros wish they could descend to the level of us mere mortals and take a break from the hectic agenda of gigs, practising, trying to snatch a few minutes' rest on planes and handling the press. Of all things, though, Nick Jonas wishes he was a baseball player.
"I think that we have dreams outside of the group at times, and things that involve things that are, you know, outside of our possibilities, but you know, I love baseball. I'd love to be a baseball player. I don't think that's going to happen at this point in time." Maybe not, but he continues: "We have a softball team that travel with us and that we really love and take very seriously. But no, I've never really gotten to play in a league or anything like that."
And if he wasn't Nick Jonas, but could be anyone else in the world, he would be David Jeter, a baseball player. Always a useful bit of trivia, that.
When they arrive in the UAE, Nick says he will be "looking forward to meeting as many different people as I can and hopefully seeing a bit of the city as well and it should be a good time."
As a young diabetic himself, he is concerned by the high levels of diabetes in the country but urges people to hold their ground and "take it one step at a time. Even if you are an independent person, don't be afraid to rely on other people to help you through it. Dealing with diabetes on a day to day basis is not easy, especially when you have a busy schedule, like I do, but as long as you take one step at a time, and let other people help you, you'll be fine."
With three of my friends already having purchased shirts that proclaim "I love Nick", "I love Kevin" and "I love Joe", I will be booking my ticket to their concert as quickly as I can. I'll just have to keep a safe distance from all those who now believe I am their ticket to a candlelit dinner with the JoBros. Meanwhile, though, I can convey Nick's message to his fans: "We love our fans and thank you for supporting my career. They're the best and thank you."
Cue any star-struck girls reading this: "Aww!"
The Jonas Brothers perform at Yas Arena November 18. For details visit www.thinkflash.ae