Nick Jonas’ Head Start

Nick Jonas - Weekly Music Commentary photo
Nick Jonas

Over forty years ago, there were many successful family music acts. The Jackson Five was possibly the top of family bands during this time. Of course, members moved on to find various levels of solo success, much like our featured artist this week: Nick Jonas. The pop music superstar from Dallas, Texas who will turn twenty-four years old next month, also worked alongside his brothers in a band during his teen years. Even though several decades are between the Jonas Brothers and the Jackson Five, there are similarities. One of many factors is how the early performances, fame and business dealing prepared the young people for adult life in the music industry. This week we’ll take a look at the career head start Nick and his brothers gained by way of their early musical experience.

During the early to mid 1970’s, I was no different from many young people who then really loved Jackson Five music. It seemed that the young megastars lived a charmed life, even though we all later learned that much childhood normalcy was the price paid for fame. Still, many lessons learned in childhood stardom definitely helped as adulthood approached. Nick Jonas similarly followed the successful pattern set by the Jackson’s, and perhaps a little more.

Nicholas Jerry Jonas was born on September 16, 1992 in Dallas, Texas, was raised in Wyckoff, New Jersey and homeschooled by his mother. Jonas’ career started when he was discovered at the age of six in a barber shop, while his mother was getting her hair cut and was referred to a professional show business manager. He began performing on Broadway at the age of seven, portraying characters such as Tiny Tim and Gavroche among other roles. Jonas wrote a song titled “Joy to the World (A Christmas Prayer)” with his father while performing in Beauty and the Beast (2002), featuring background vocals from Jonas’ fellow cast members, which was featured on the compilation album Broadway’s Greatest Gifts: Carols for a Cure, Vol. 4. The song was later released through INO Records to Christian Radio in 2003, serving as Jonas’ debut single.

The single caught the attention of Columbia Records, leading to Jonas signing with Columbia and INO to release his début studio effort. “Dear God”  was released as the lead single from the project, followed by a re-recorded version of “Joy to the World (A Christmas Prayer)”. Jonas co-wrote songs for the album with his two older brothers, who also provided background vocals for the release. Nicholas Jonas  received a limited release on September 5, 2004. The project was scheduled for a wide release in December, though was pushed back before ultimately being cancelled altogether. The new president of Columbia Records, Steve Greenberg, liked Jonas’ voice on the record despite his dislike for the album. Upon hearing the song “Please Be Mine” he decided to sign Jonas and his brothers as a group. After being signed to Columbia, the brothers considered naming their group Sons of Jonas before settling on the name Jonas Brothers.

Even in the extremely early stages of life, Nick Jonas and his two older brothers got a crash course in music business 101. Nick Jonas starred on Broadway, got a record deal from a major label, had an album shelved, and got another label deal all before thirteen years of age. That was a real head start in the music business. However, there would be so much more to come.

Nick Jonas and his older brothers Joe and Kevin, would continue to learn and prepare for life in the music industry. While working on their début album as a group, the boys spent most of 2005 on tour with other successful musical acts at the time. The album was initially scheduled for a February of 2006 release date, though executive changes at Columbia’s parent company Sony led to many delays on the project’s release. It was during this time that the group began making appearances on various Disney Channel related soundtracks.

The Jonas Brothers début album, It’s About Time, was released on August 8, 2006. Due to poor album sales and little backing from Columbia Records, the band was dropped from the label. It has been said by many that we all learn as much or more from failure as we do from success. Therefore, young Nick Jonas and his brothers were gaining invaluable lessons about the music industry very early in life. Now Nick Jonas had also been fired from a record company. 

The band went on to sign with Hollywood Records and found major success as the audience of teens and pre-teens went on to enjoy Jonas Brothers music for several years. Nevertheless, even family band members decide to stop working together and work as solo artists. October 2013 the Jonas Brothers made that decision and young Nick Jonas once again would seek a successful solo career. This time, he had wealth of experience behind him.

Nick Jonas released his third studio album this summer, and his second since the split from his brothers. The young singer/songwriter appears to be everywhere. Music videos, radio airplay, Saturday Night Live, on tour with Demi Lovato and a film to be released this fall, Nick Jonas has no limits within the entertainment industry. Good music will create more avenues.  Last Year Was Complicated, Nick Jonas’ current album is selling well and receiving good reviews. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic claimed that the album “feels assured in a way its eponymous 2014 predecessor did not,” noting that “the entirety of ‘Last Year Was Complicated‘ walks a fine line between immaculately produced pop confection and personal confession: it may not be heartbreaking but it feels as if it comes from the heart.”

Nick Jonas is a very popular artist with a lifetime of experience in the music industry. The soon to be twenty-four year old may make music for years. The sky is the limit when you’re ready. Nick Jonas is ready!

photo by Andrew Zaeh

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