Joe Jonas has chosen the road towards a solo career and releases his new album, “FastLife,” today. While the content and sound of his new album differs from what he recorded and performed with the Jonas Brothers, Jonas said he still hopes to appeal to both his loyal, longtime fans and new ones as well. He spoke with the Daily Bruin’s Marjorie Yan about his new album and what it’s like to make music without his brothers.
Daily Bruin: What is it like going solo and not having your brothers around all the time?
Joe Jonas: It’s definitely different. There are times when I miss them a lot. I get to see them quite a bit but at the same time … there are occasions that I just wish I could get on stage and be with them and play songs we’ve written together these past few years. … It can also be a very lonely experience. When you’re on tour traveling, you don’t realize how fun it is to be with your brothers both onstage and hanging out. Because you go from the stage to the hotel, spend time at the hotel all day, and now on days off, you’re just by yourself. Luckily, this time I have my friends out on tour with me.
DB: Your brother Nick has also tested the waters of going solo. Has he given you any advice?
JJ: Yeah, he gave me really great advice. I remember going to write my record and he said, “Listen, I want you to be able to go and find the sound you want to go with.” A lot of times, it’s easy for other artists to pinpoint where they want to go musically … I just needed to find that time for myself and find that sound I wanted to go with. (My brothers) both said to have fun, so they let me take that path by myself and … have a good time with it.
DB: How would you exactly describe your sound?
JJ: I would say it’s dance, pop and electronic music with a little hip-hop and R&B undertone to things. I think that’s a lot to say that. Those genres are the inspirations that producers have been working on to help me cultivate that sound from my pop-rock standpoint, from where I was with my brothers. We also made it a little bit more mature musically and lyrically.
DB: What is it like writing music without your brothers?
JJ: It’s as if I were to write my journal and hand it over to you guys. It could be a scary situation and … I really wanted to do be able to do that and be honest in a way that people can really relate (to). I want the audience to go, “I’ve been there, I’ve been through that situation. I know what you’ve gone through,” and I’ve been able to do that. Luckily, I found a place in my heart and mind to be able to let go of those worries and write songs.
DB: What song would you say means to most to you?
JJ: “All This Time” and “I’m Sorry.” “All This Time” is this song that I took two approaches to. One approach is (that) it’s a message to somebody else, that you’ve waited all this time, and now it’s your time to shine. Another approach is looking outside the box. It’s a third person looking at (me) and … telling (me), “This is your time and this is what you’ve been waiting for. You can go out and do it.” So I’m kind of singing to the audience and singing to myself at the same time. “I’m Sorry” is a song I wrote about asking for forgiveness, which is a scary thing, too, to be able to go to somebody and say, “I messed up” and say, “Please forgive me.”
DB: If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?
JJ: I love Swedish House Mafia and DJs. I’m also a fan of Deadmau5 and, along with that, there are beautiful vocalists like Adele and, I think, even Kanye West. I’d want to work with people that others wouldn’t expect me to work with. I’m lucky to be able to work with a couple of artists that are really cool people. I’m excited for the world to see that they’re supporting me and to hear the songs.
DB: Is there a special meaning behind your album title, “FastLife”?
JJ: It was one of the first ideas for the album name. There’s a song I wrote, called “Fast Life,” and it’s about going out , having a good time and enjoying life to the fullest. That’s how I look at life all the time. You might have speed bumps along the way, but you are just able to continue and have a great time and realize that there are so many people out there – to have this opportunity … I’m lucky to be able to do this every day.
DB: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started as an artist?
JJ: Probably that once you have success, don’t expect it to be there forever. Not that I’m saying like I feel like I’m starting over completely. I’m lucky to have lots of fans, and a lot of time, people assume that if I’m a superstar, I’ll be a superstar for life. It doesn’t work like that, and not every record is going to be as successful as the last one. My father always put us in a mindset of living like you’re at the bottom even if you’re at the top, and that goes with everything.