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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Nick Jonas's knack for a hit

The American pop star tells us about his new single, making music away from the Jonas Brothers machine and growing up on Disney.

Nick Jonas performs at the Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco.
Nick Jonas performs at the Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco.

With the temperatures steadily rising, American pop star Nick Jonas may have released a sure-fire contender for this year’s summer anthem.

The 24-year-old – the youngest of the world-renowned Jonas Brothers – is capitalising on the buzz surrounding the recent release of his new single, ­Remember I Told You, by dropping an accompanying video.

Released a few just days ago, the video matches the song’s tightly coiled pop aesthetics; beginning in black and white and steadily building pace, as Jonas shares verses with two guest collaborators, British UK pop singer Anne-Marie and American R&B crooner Mike Posner, in separate rooms, before exploding in colour as the trio finally meet and party together.

The track’s throbbing tropical-­house beat is a perfect foil for Jonas’s immaculate falsetto; and the lyrics indicate thathe may hashave finally recovered from the emotional turmoil heexpressed in last year2016’s break-up album Last Year Was Complicated.

“It is a very uplifting song,” he explains before a recent performance at the Mawazine Festival in Morocco. “I wanted it to have this fun summer vibe, something that you can listen to loud and just have a good time with. The song was actually written last summer while I was on tour. I think that’s what’s cool about writing and performing in front of your audience simultaneously. You feel that connection more. You get more creative energy and that really feeds into what you are writing.”

With Remember I Told You steadily climbing its way up North American and European pop charts, it should nicely set up Jonas up for his upcoming fourth album, which is to be released later in the year.

With the as-yet-untitled project being the second recording since the dissolution of his the big-selling, family-friendly pop group the Jonas Brothers (with siblings Joe and Nick), the youngest of the trio says he is gaining more confidence in the studio.

“It was tough at first,” he explains. "There were was a lot of elements working against me and a lot of that had to do with me just growing up and coming into my own as an artist,” he explains.

“I was trying to find my passion for every aspect of performance and writing. After what was a challenging end to my run with my brothers, I looked into what makes me what I am as an artist – from the sound to aesthetics. I know it sounds kind ofclichéd, but once you know yourself, it all sorts of clicks."

Jonas's comments sheds light into the Jonas Brothers acrimonious demise in 2013. Promoting the upcoming release of their anticipated fifth album, V, the group cancelled an international tour in October, days before theiropening date, with band members' Twitter accounts going offline not long afterwards.

A few weeks later, the boys confirmed their split, citing “a deep rift within the band”.

Jonas prefers not to revisit those turbulent days. Further pressed, however, he reveals it all came down to a decision to put their fraternal bond above all else.

“We made a choice and that’s to be family first and then career comes second,” he says. “All of us are quite happy being on our own at the moment. My brother Joe and his band DNCE are doing well. My other brother, Kevin, has two beautiful daughters and fatherhood has become his main job. So all of us are doing our thing, but never count out anything. We are all very creative and we have our own music that we want to make and that may include all of us together one day."

Which begs the question: would the band have lasted if they were not part of the Disney Channel machine?

After failing to make a dent for the first two years of their career, the brothersmoderately popular Jonas Brothers hit their stride after entering the Disney universe. They starred in Camp Rock (2008) and its 2010 sequel, alongside then pop up-and-coming popster comer Demi Lovato, before helming their own Disney series, Jonas, which had a two-­season run (2009 to 2010).

Jonas says that the Disney experience had its share of challenges, but was rewarding nonetheless.

“A lot of people look at Disney and the kind of artists they work with as highly manufactured. Now to some degree that is true, maybe. But for my brothers and I, we were give a high level of freedom,” he admits. “That was also challenging. There are certain standards Disney has that are really specific, and even within that creativity and that freedom you have to be able to fit within that system as well.”

And although his Disney days seem to have done no harm to his acting career, which continues in December in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

And, what about the personal cost of Disney? W, with Jonas essentially working full-time since the age of 14, does he lament a lost childhood?

“It felt like it was normal way to grow up for me, because I was with people who love the same things you do,” he says. “We were singing, writing and acting. I think the whole thing has worked out OK, because I haven’t lost my mind just yet.”

Remember I Told You by Nick Jonas, featuring Anne-Marie and Mike Posner, is out now.