Music News & Reviews

Jobro steps out: Nick Jonas' new band makes album, kicks off tour in Dallas

Nick Jonas speaks with the clipped urgency of someone perpetually out of time. Understandably so — the 17-year-old singer-songwriter has, along with his brothers Kevin and Joe, accomplished more in the past three years than some musicians manage in a lifetime: Three studio albums, each a worldwide multi-platinum juggernaut; four world tours that have grossed millions of dollars; and a fistful of films and TV shows.

As if all of that were not enough, the Dallas native is adding one more line to his résumé — solo act.

On Saturday, with his new band, the Administration, at his back, Nick Jonas will kick off a month-long promo tour for his new solo album, Who I Am, with a two-night stand at Dallas' House of Blues. Who I Am, due out Feb. 2, is culled from three years' worth of unused songs.

The lead single and title track sounds more mature, and it has much to do with personnel. Producer John Fields, with help from Jonas, recruited drummer Michael Bland and keyboardist Tommy Barbarella, both of whom played with Prince's acclaimed New Power Generation.

To think that the distance between one of pop music's most visible cash cows and one of the genre's most influential minds has shrunk significantly is nothing less than brain-bending.

"For this record, Stevie Wonder was a big influence," Jonas says. "Prince was a big one, since the guys on the record played with him at one point ... (as well as) my usual influences, like Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash. ... A lot of different things come together to make my sound."

There is, of course, an elephant in the room: What do brothers Joe and the recently married Kevin think of Nick's decision to strike out on his own? Ever circumspect, Jonas responds with all the poise of a seasoned diplomat.

"I think each one of us has individual dreams and ambitions," Jonas says.