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  WINDY CITY TIMES

MUSIC Nick Jonas: N.C. law, new CD and getting personal
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-05-04

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Usually, singer/actor Nick Jonas is known for what he accomplishes—but recently he's been in the headlines for something he's not doing.

Jonas and tourmate Demi Lovato announced that they will not be performing a pair of North Carolina shows to protest the new anti-LGBT law House Bill 2 ( HB2 ), also known as the "bathroom bill." In so doing, the pair joined acts such as Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Cirque du Soleil in boycotting the state until the law is overturned.

However, what is going ahead ( besides the rest of the tour ) is Jonas' new CD, Last Year Was Complicated, which will drop Friday, June 10, on Safehouse/Island Records. He already has a hit on his hands with "Close" ( with Tove Lo ), and there are other songs such as "Champagne Problems" and "Chainsaw."

Windy City Times: Hey, Nick: Let's start with something that will certainly resonate with the LGBT demographic and with the readers of this publication. What motivated you and Demi to take the stance you did, and cancel the North Carolina shows?

Nick Jonas: You know, it was a really tough call to make. Overall, the situation is just really unfortunate. We talked about it, and we felt that the biggest impact to make a positive change was to take this strong stand, with the understanding that it's going to be disappointing to fans who were looking forward to the shows. I hope that they're understanding and follow our lead on this. Hopefully, they'll be a positive outcome.

WCT: Let me move on to this album. The title is Last Year Was Complicated. Of course, every year is complicated for just about everyone—but why was last year that way for you?

NJ: I went through a break-up last year over the summertime, which a lot of the writing on the record is about. But on top of that, there were a lot of things that influenced the writing, from transitioning from being in a group for so many years to being a solo artist and traveling alone. It was a big year of adjustment, and I'm happy I grew so much—and I put all of that into the songs.

WCT: I see. After hearing five songs on the album, I think my favorite cut is "Champagne Problems," although I'm not sure what that says about me. [Jonas laughs.] How did you go about choosing these songs? Many sound like hits.

NJ: It was just about whatever worked. I had a very clear vision for the creation of the record early on, not just [with the sound] but lyrically—what I wanted to say. If things didn't fit, it became clear very early. I'm proud of this record; it's my most solid work yet.

WCT: There's a song on the album called "Bacon" [with rapper Ty Dolla $ign]. What's that about?

NJ: We just shot the music video for that last night. It's basically saying that life after a break-up can be challenging—but once you realize that you are OK and will get through the situation, it feels really good. In fact, it feels so good that you might as well throw bacon on it and make it that much better.

WCT: "Chainsaw" is catchy—but I also found myself singing along to the F-word in that song. Any reason for the [anger]?

NJ: I was in the house that I spent a lot of time in with my ex, after we broke up. I was walking through the halls and I found it hard to enjoy being in the house because I was so torn up emotionally over the situation. "Chainsaw" really represents the idea to really let go of somebody and moving on. I think it was one of the tougher songs I've ever written because it's so personal—but the emotions really come through on the song.

WCT: Yes; songs can certainly reflect what one is going through. Hopefully, your next album will have a happier tone.

NJ: [Laughs] Yeah—we'll see.

WCT: I wanted to ask you a general question: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

NJ: Ooh—that's tough. One of the things that's most challenging is the fact that there's so much business involved in the music industry. As a creative person, that's sometimes a little hard for me to wrap my head around.

Just that balance of both being able to create and doing what you have to do on the business front [can be difficult]. If there could be more of just the creative side, I'd be happy.

WCT: My last question actually involves your shows Kingdom and Scream Queens, which are both LGBT roles. What attracted you to those roles? Was it the chance to stretch your acting muscles or was it the chance, in the case of Scream Queens, to work with Ryan Murphy?

NJ: I think the roles were both great characters, you know? That was the focus for me.

However, it's also the chance to work with great creative people, like Ryan or the team on Kingdom, which is amazing. I think it's just the chance to work with great people. You grow from every experience, no doubt.

See NickJonas.com . To pre-order the album, visit smarturl.it/LastYearComplicated .


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