Nick Jonas on courting gay fans: 'It comes from a genuine, loving place'
Following the breakout success of his number two UK smash Jealous, Nick Jonas releases his self-titled solo album in the UK this week. We caught up with the gorgeous 22-year-old to talk pop, his acting career, and why he's made such an effort to appeal to his gay fans:
You've been at the forefront of the resurgence of male pop this year - how has that felt?
I think pop music has always brought in real talking points and things that push the envelope a little bit. What I've tried to do is create conversation and draw people into the music with lots of different strategic looks to surprise people and it's been fun. It's paying off, and I hope to continue that!
Why are men scared of pop?
I don't know if I know the answer to that! There's unconventional male stars that do what they do well, but I'm really fortunate to be in a position to have had a ten-year career already. I've learned a lot and I'm continuing to mature and grow, and I hope to stay on that path.
What is your response to critics of your recent cheeky photoshoots?
I think it's one of those things where as a man, I prioritise fitness for a TV show. I did the Flaunt photo shoot, which was meant to be edgy and playful, and if people sexualised it, then that was that. But for me, it was about having a good time and being artistic. I have tried to push myself to embrace the sexy elements of what I do, but I've never really tried to sexualise my brand, I just do what's authentic to me.
Was there an attempt on your behalf to court the gay community?
There's a thing of recognising that you have gay fans, as a male artist. I was speaking to some of my very close gay friends as I was making the record, and they told me I should really make the effort to embrace my gay audience as it's bigger than I might think. There should be more of it. There should be more heterosexual male artists who are comfortable to attract a gay audience and do it in a way that's authentic. With me, it comes from a very genuine and loving place.
With the huge controversy that surrounded Indiana's anti-gay law earlier this year, do you think celebrities have a responsibility to speak out?
I feel like on that issue, it’s incredibly saddening most of all. Intolerance in general to me is heartbreaking. I am happy and willing and ready to do all I can to help break down walls because at this point in time, it’s just unacceptable. We are given a platform to talk about things that are relevant to us and important to us and I think it’s one of those things where we really have to be conscientious of what is important to say. I do my best to show respect where it’s due. But also, if there’s something I think is unjust and I have the ability to speak about it then I’m happy to.
You've been embracing the performance side of being a popstar lately - could we see you pulling a Britney VMA-style performance out the bag soon?
I like dancing! Most of my experience comes from theatre experience. I'm anxious to grow and I want to be one of the great performers.
Why did you choose to collaborate with Tinashe on Jealous?
I loved 2ON. It's such a great song. That song came out and we were looking for a female feature, and I was curious to know if she would do it. She's just incredible, a really great performer.
Will you be touring the UK soon?
Oh my gosh, I hope so. Between the acting projects, the windows are very limited. But I'm looking to tour here soon, so hopefully in the near future! I really love the UK.
Are you looking forward to the next season of Kingdom? Our readers absolutely loved the show.
I'm really excited to get back to filming it! The rest of the cast didn't know that him being gay was a part of the characters journey. I think it was a surprised a lot of people. I think it's still open ended, I don't even think it's been defined yet. I'm honoured to play a gay character, if he is gay, but it's something I'm so proud of and I hold it with a lot of respect.
But it's hard juggling both singing and acting! I want to be greedy and do both, but thankfully I have a good team that help me keep it all together. I hope there's more in the pipeline for me. I'm also so thrilled to be a part of Scream Queens, there's a great cast and I'm looking forward to that coming out.
Words by JOSH HAIGH.Nick Jonas' self-titled album is released in the UK this Friday, July 17. He plays the O2 Academy in Islington on the same day. You can read an in-depth interview with Nick - plus see plenty of sexy pics - in the December 2014 issue of Attitude, still available to download from Pocketmags.com/Attitude. More storiesPictures: Nick Jonas gets naked in new filmBehind the scenes of our Nick Jonas photoshootJonas saves the day at Pittsburgh Pride