Jonas Brothers, Ryan Tedder Take Over TimesTalks: Highlights From The Chat
By Rachel Kaplan
June 14, 2019
The Jonas Brothers' comeback circuit continues and their latest stop in promotion for their new album, Happiness Begins, found the pop siblings on-stage with songwriting guru Ryan Tedder for an installment of The New York Times' TimesTalks on Thursday (June 13). For the discussion, which took place at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City, the group spent a little more than an hour, chatting about their chance meeting, creative collaborations on their new LP, including comeback single, "Sucker," and their road back to the top of the charts.
If you missed out on the chat, iHeartRadio was on-site of the event and rounded up some of the most noteworthy bits from the hour-long discussion. Scroll on below to see what went down when Nick, Joe and Kevin took to the stage for a no-holds-back conversation about their music and legacy.
1.) Ryan Tedder Met The JoBros By Accident
"We shared a green room at one of the Jingle Ball type things," the super-producer told the crowd, before Nick corrected him by saying it was an American Idol finale. "It was really odd because when you play these events no matter how many artists are there, even the Grammys, you always get your own green room and this is the only time this has happened to my band. We were walking through the belly of the arena and it says: Jonas Brothers + OneRepublic."
2.) Jonas Didn't Make Much Sense To Nick
Nick explained to the audience that the group had a very conflicted adolescence, walking the line of the Disney machine and being taken seriously in the music industry. "We were pretending to be teenagers and be accompanied in LA and living the dream. The show didn't really make sense to me," Nick confessed. "I didn't know what it was about. It was something to do with being in a band and in LA. On the flip side to that, we were Grammy nominated."
3.) Kevin Had A Hard Time Watching His Brothers Succeed
"I don't think it dawned on me how real it was until much later," Kevin said about their split, admitting that their breakup meeting didn't sink in until months later. "I never felt like I gave up on our friendship, our brotherhood, or any of those moments, but I needed to take a step away from it. It took a lot of time. it took a lot of healing for me to do personally. It was hard. There were times where it was tough to watch them succeed from home. I started to realize that I was succeeding so much and growing so much as a person." Que the audience chanting Kevin's name.
4.) They're Ryan's Favorite Act To Work With
Tedder has worked with everyone from Beyoncé to Taylor Swift, but he said there's nothing like working with the pop trio. "They've been the easiest and I'd dare say my favorite people, other than Paul McCartney," he said because of the group's timeliness, straightforward communication and easy work dynamic. "They're, like, 'So we actually are going to have dinner with our wives and we need to be out by 6:30.' We finish writing this incredible song and we go live our lives and it’s just so functional it freaks me out. It’s too functional. It’s amazing."
5.) Expect The JoBros On Tedder's New NBC Competition, Songland
Tedder is one of the stars on the judging panel on NBC's new songwriting competition, Songland, and the pop trio appear on the upcoming Tuesday night episode. In case you weren't aware, contestants bring their own songs to the show to see how the star-studded panel can help tweak it in hopes that the weekly guest act will select the aspiring hopeful and record the song. "I love that they created a show that gives songwriters the spotlight. So often they’re overlooked and they're the heroes. Without great songs, you wouldn’t have some of the great artists that you love," Nick told the audience. "These guys are on next week. They crushed it. I'm not going to give it away, but we finished the song yesterday. It's incredible," Tedder added.
6.) The Band Is Not Their Top Priority Anymore
With wives (and daughters) in the picture, the trio admitted that their music career as a collective is not top priority. "The band is not the most important thing in our lives," Nick candidly told the crowd. "We love what we do. We're grateful to have amazing fans, but at the end of the day, too, to be inspired and to continue to write music that we like performing and hopefully you like as well, we have to go live life and prioritize our own family and our family together. That perspective is so key."
7.) Happiness Begins Track "Strangers" Nods To Vintage JoBros
The Jonas Brothers know very well what their fans have been through and they wanted to include a special cut dedicated to their fans on their new album, particularly track No. 11, "Strangers." "We wanted to tip the hat to old Jonas Brothers music," Joe confessed. "We kind of let the music do its thing and we thought, at least for us, it's kind of a song for fans. When we finally got back to doing this, we were no strangers to you [the fans]. We were able to kind of get back on that old horse and ride [Lil Nas X voice] to be able to get back together, release music and they’re still around."
8.) "Sucker" Was Selected As The Comeback Track Because Of Its Versatility
When Nick, Kevin and Joe sat down with Tedder to talk about working with one another, the trio explained that their comeback track had to be a mash-up of each of their solo musical pursuits and something new. "'Sucker' was done and we fell in love with it with Ryan's voice on it," Nick explained. "It was a matter of putting our own voices on it to hear that it was that combination of DNCE, my solo stuff and hats off to him for writing such a great song for us." Interestingly enough, Joe and Nick each recorded the song in-full and left it up to Tedder to decide who would claim each part of the song. "Early on, we would sometimes fight for the lead vocal. We realize now — whoever's going to sound best for the song. There’s no ego in that anymore where we feel like we want the song to sound its best," Joe said later on.
Photo: Carl Timpone/BFA.com for TimesTalks