Joe Jonas has broken his silence and opened up to New York Magazine on his life as a Jonas Brother. And wow, revealing would be an understatement.
It’s weird, The Jonas Brothers have been my favourite band for almost seven years, and this one article has shown me that I really don’t know much about them at all.
This article, more than anything, shows the control that publicists and managers have over artists. I’m studying media, so I suppose I understand more than most people what goes on behind the scenes, but even for me it’s shocking to hear it in the artists’ own words. It’s a two way problem, really: the media needs to learn to respect the privacy of artists, and management and publicity teams need to let the artists live. It’s something we really need to seriously work on fixing.
Here’s some of my favourite excerpts from the article, but you should really read the whole thing.
On Being Controlled:
We didn’t want to disappoint anyone—our parents, our fans, our employers—so we put incredible pressure on ourselves, the kind of pressure that no teenager should be under.
We were just kids. That’s the reality. We were frightened little kids. So you got all this responsibility that’s foisted upon you and you’re expected to be perfect. I went through media training, and I hated it. They’d teach you how to change the subject, whenever you were asked an uncomfortable question, by saying something like, “Oh, that reminds me of my dog! I have a great story about my dog!” Playing dumb is the best way of getting out of anything. We also had a strategy for who would take which kinds of questions. If it was a serious question, Nick would answer it. If it was lighthearted, Kevin would. Nick and I took questions related to our music and explaining what certain songs meant. We even did a Good Housekeeping story with our mom where we were wearing these horrible pastels. It makes me cringe just to think about it.
We decided to take the rings off a few years ago. I lost my virginity when I was 20. I did other stuff before then, but I was sexually active at 20. I’m glad I waited for the right person, because you look back and you go, “That girl was batshit crazy. I’m glad I didn’t go there.” …. When I was 20, I started dating Ashley Greene, and she was my first serious relationship. We were together for almost a year.
On Demi Lovato:
One relationship that meant a lot to fans was the one I had with Demi Lovato, who I’ve known for years. We had been friends forever, we were both Disney kids, and because we played a couple in the Camp Rock Disney Channel specials—and fans liked seeing us together—we eventually dated for a month. I really got to know her and got to see the ins and outs of what she was struggling with, like drug abuse. I felt like I needed to take care of her, but at the same time I was living a lie, because I wasn’t happy but felt like I had to stay in it for her, because she needed help. I couldn’t express any of that, of course, because I had a brand to protect.
On Drugs and Alcohol:
The first time I smoked weed was with Demi and Miley. I must have been 17 or 18. They kept saying, “Try it! Try it!” so I gave it a shot, and it was all right. I don’t even smoke weed that often anymore. I was caught drinking when I was 16 or 17, and I thought the world was going to collapse. But I was in another country, and it was legal there. My 21st birthday, I fell down a flight of stairs. I was unconscious that time, and my whole team was scared to death that somebody was going to get a picture. Now I appreciate wine or a vodka-soda at the end of the day every once in a while.
On Wanting To Give Up:
There were days when I wanted to give up sometimes. When it all felt too overwhelming and exhausting. But my brothers helped me get through a lot. I mean, we’ve only canceled two or three shows in our entire career. There were times when we definitely performed while sick because there was so much riding on it. All we’d have to do when one of us wasn’t feeling well was say, “I need you to take this chorus.” There was never even a question. It was always: “Okay, I got you.”
On The Break-Up:
The Jonas Brothers’ breakup was going on for a lot longer than a lot of people thought. We hit a place where we just weren’t jelling on the same things, and we didn’t want to become a band that was worried about the fact that people didn’t understand how cool we were. The whole situation was breaking us up as a family, and we ultimately felt like we were holding each other back. I wanted to go sexier with a video, for example, and Kevin wasn’t comfortable with that, for his reasons. I mean, he’s married, and I get that. Nick also had a louder voice than me and Kevin when it came to music and major decisions—he took a leadership role in the band, which got to us after a while.
I have always loved Joe (duh), but after reading this article I have a new found respect for him, and for what he’s been through. It’s easy for me to sit here and call them my Favourite Band, but it’s all too easy to forget that they’re actual real people too.
I hope people read this and realise The Jonas Brothers weren’t just a Disney Product. Well, actually, they were. But that Joe, Nick, and Kevin weren’t. They’re real people, with real feelings, lives, and experiences, and deserve to be respected as such. Bravo, Joe. You’re amazing.
frangipani princess xoxo
ps. Is it really terrible that I kind of can’t wait for the day that the boys of 1D are able to give interviews like this? Because imagine how amazing they will be.