For Jonas Brothers, the last year has been all whirlwind, all the time. Yet somehow, on the road to becoming a pop culture phenomenon, the trio never broke a sweat – other than on the stage, giving their all, and living their dream. If anything, Jonas Brothers have embodied the calm within the storm. And since the release of their 2007 self-titled platinum CD, Kevin, Joe and Nick have used their time wisely. As they prove on their new Hollywood Records CD, “A Little Bit Longer,” Jonas Brothers have grown exponentially as songwriters, musicians and recording artists.
“The lyrical content has gotten more in-depth,” says Nick Jonas of the new album. “It’s about who we are as people and our personal lives, things we’ve gone through in the past 12 months.” That year was about much more than simply handling a media frenzy with grace and humor. The brothers also took stock of themselves. In the new album’s 12 songs – all written by Jonas Brothers – they put their feelings on the line, while still rocking the house as only they can.
Produced by John Fields (with Jon Lind and Kevin Jonas, Sr., serving as executive producers), “A Little Bit Longer” covers much musical and emotional ground, kicking off with the joyful jam “BB Good.” Says Joe of the track, “It’s a big sing-along song, and it’s fun.” The funky and danceable debut single, “Burnin’ Up,” keeps the party going, with Big Rob, the brothers’ hefty security guard, rapping midtrack. “It’s about this girl,” adds Joe. “Maybe she’s at a party, and you feel that immediate connection. You both know it’s there.”
Though relentlessly upbeat, most songs on “A Little Bit Longer” explore star-crossed standoffs and missed romantic opportunities. Songs like “Shelf,” the hard-rocking “Pushin’ Me Away” and “One Man Show” survey love’s unequal playing field, bad break-ups and the defiant isolation that follows. “‘Shelf’ is one my favorite songs on the record,” says Nick. “Basically, it’s about a girl that has a gallery of hearts.”
Other songs take a light-hearted look at the craziness of fame and fortune. “Video Girl” paints a portrait of the shallow wannabees dotting the entertainment landscape (” Move to L.A., got no talent/Not even like you won a Miss Teen pageant”), while “Lovebug” starts out as sweet-tempered acoustic love song before ending up a crashing Queen-like rocker.
Of course, the brothers made sure the album breathes. The power ballad “Sorry” features classic JB harmonies and an eternal message of forgiveness. But the song that will have people talking is “A Little Bit Longer,” Nick’s stunning account of his struggle with diabetes. With strings underscoring a plaintive piano/vocal, he sings about his battle (“A little bit longer and I’ll be fine/Waitin’ on a cure/But none of them are sure”). Recalls Nick, “I was having one of those days where I was discouraged. So I went into this empty hotel ballroom and wrote this song.” Adds brother Kevin, “Nick sings this song every night and it brings people to tears. It’s amazing.”
Considering the impact Jonas Brothers have had on music and culture recently, maybe it’s not so amazing. In the past 12 months, Jonas Brothers made headlines and created hysteria with sold out concerts from coast to coast; the Gibson Amphitheater in Los Angeles was the fastest sold out show in the venue’s history. Jonas Brothers also sold out 3 shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden. They rung in the New Year performing live in New York’s Times Square on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rocking Eve, collected their RIAA-platinum plaques on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” sang from a White House balcony as guests of the President at the annual Easter Egg Roll, and even played on the hit shows “Dancing With the Stars” and the season finale of “American Idol.”
Their appeal is growing by leaps and bounds internationally as well. Jonas Brothers have seven platinum and gold certified records outside the US, as well as a sold out European tour, and sold out 80,000 seat stadium shows in Latin America.
Sure, they had a blast with all of it. But bottom line: The Wycoff, N.J., natives are musical soul brothers every bit as much as they are blood brothers. For them, it has always been about the music.
Their first performances came years ago, in the family basement, when the three – usually led by Nick – would mount their own impromptu concerts. Encouraged by their always-supportive parents, they started getting commercial gigs, with Nick landing roles in Broadway musicals like “Les Miserables,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Christmas Carol – The Musical,” and “Annie Get Your Gun.” Joe auditioned, too, and landed a part in “La Boheme.” In 2005, the trio finally signed their first label deal, but it took a second time around, signing with Hollywood Records in 2006, for all the pieces of the puzzle to fit.
With the August 2007 release of their Hollywood debut, nothing more stood in their way. Their premiere single, “S.O.S.,” quickly hit #1 on iTunes. In most cities on their “Look Me In The Eyes” headline tour, concerts sold out in minutes. They shot their own reality TV series, “Jonas Brothers – Living the Dream.” The brothers recently starred in the Disney Channel original movie, “Camp Rock,” which averaged 8.9 million viewers and was the network’s most-watched non-sequel movie ever. Jonas Brothers debuted their “Burnin’ Up” video following the debut of Camp Rock on Disney Channel (with a repeat the following night on ABC) to over 12.5 million television viewers, and over a million views on YouTube. The “Burnin’ Up” video immediately shot to # 1 on iTunes. Coming up, Jonas Brothers have their own Disney Channel comedy series this fall, titled “J.O.N.A.S.”
Up first, though, the release of “A Little Bit Longer and the brothers’ 50-date “Burnin’ Up” North American tour. “A Little Bit Longer” will be released in the CDVU+ format, which is made from 100% recyclable materials. The disc features exclusive video performances and interviews, 60 printable photos, complete album lyrics, and downloadable graphics. It may seem like a tall order to take on so much, but so far, Jonas Brothers have hit it out of the park every single at bat. Not hard to do when you’re young, talented and enjoying every minute of life. “We wake up every morning excited,” Kevin says, “because we get to do what we love.”
Read our interview with the Jonas Brothers from August 3rd, 2006