The inspiration for the Jonas Brothers reunion came from an unlikely source.
Earlier this year, fans were given an unprecedented look at the comeback for Kevin Jonas, Joe Jonas, and Nick Jonas’ band in their Amazon Prime Video documentary Chasing Happiness, including a tense and brutally honest drinking game that helped pave the way for them to get back together as the Jonas Brothers many years after their initial split. But Monday night during an intimate, sold-out performance at the Grammy Museum for a crowd of 200, the three brothers revealed an untold story about what prompted them to even consider getting back together in the first place.
“It started as a seed planted in my brain by a few Twitter comments,” Nick revealed. “There was a few comments about how badly someone wished we would come back together. And they were singing ‘Year 3000’ which made me think, this is a song that in our last couple years in the first iteration weren’t playing. We were so at odds with our authentic selves and our creative center and what made us who we are, which I think are fun-loving, don’t take ourselves too seriously guys, that we had started to let our insecurities lead the conversation, so we stopped playing the songs that some of our fans loved so much.”
So it’s all thanks to “a group of college-aged guys who probably at the time the song first came out were young enough to love it without any inhibitions or insecurities about loving the song, whether it was a guilty pleasure or not, and now they were adults, living their best life, probably drinking a bit, and enjoying the song in a whole new way” that Nick first began the conversations with Kevin and Joe about getting the band back together.
“The [tweets] said, ‘I wished they would come back so I could go see [‘Year 3000’] live,'” Nick says. “I started to think about that quite a bit that maybe there’s a whole new group of fans who actually were embarrassed to like the Brothers at a certain point in their life and now can actually just enjoy it because as it happens for all of us, the things we were embarrassed about when we were younger become the things we love about ourselves when we’re older. It was a beautiful thing to see. And then I started the conversation with Kevin first and said, ‘What do you think if we just played a few songs?'”
While it took Joe a while to come around to the idea of reuniting, Kevin was into it from the start. “I was all in,” he says. “We broke up as a band and about two months later me and Danielle had our first daughter Alena. She never experienced the Jonas Brothers. At this point she’s probably three or four years old when we’re having this conversation. I just looked down at her sitting in the room while we were having this conversation and it was one of those moments of I need her to experience that. If it’s not for me, it’s for them. That was the moment I realized how badly I did miss it. Because there was hurt there but I also just missed my brothers.”
That’s where the documentary Chasing Happiness came into play. Joe reveals that they “really couldn’t make a decision” as a group on whether or not getting the band back together was the right call, and so that’s why they started making the documentary.
“The conversations were funny, it’s kind of sad, and it’s really interesting,” Joe says. “Let’s just tell the story of the Jonas Brothers for people and maybe be a bit more honest than we were in the past. That process was really healing, and that’s really how we all came around to the idea of actually doing it again.”
Kevin notes that they “should have had these conversations” many years sooner, but now that they were finally opening those floodgates, they “just happened to be filming them now.”
“It’s truly the most real form of us you’ve ever seen, the most honest, truthful,” Kevin says of the documentary. “That drinking game you saw, we actually saw a cut of the film early on and it wasn’t in it. Everyone was so afraid to show us the footage because of how intense it really was. It rips your soul out a little bit. We had to have those conversations to be able to do this again. I was on board but I still needed to have these conversations. Joe was not ready to do this at all. It took you a little bit longer.”
Joe confirms that, “yeah, it did” take him the longest to come around to doing the Jonas Brothers again. “It was a lot for us to break up and to move on and figure out what we wanted to do,” he says. “I was thankful that Nick finally made those decisions. It was not easy for him going through the thought of doing something on his own, taking that leap of faith is scary. It took me a little while but luckily figuring out, doing something of my own with DNCE was really special and coming back around, I was like, ‘I’m good. I don’t need to do this thing that we said no to anymore. There’s too much in the closet.’ We didn’t want to really work through all that stuff. All that said, the doc really has been a helpful tool for us.”
Naming the documentary Chasing Happiness and their first reunion album Happiness Begins all taps into the idea of the brothers coming back to a place where they could be happy together again.
“The breakup itself was not the happiest of times and it got us to a point where we realized we had to learn how to be a family again,” Nick says. “So much of our family life was wrapped up in our work and those lines got blurred and got very confusing. So once we were able to separate that and realized that we really do love spending time together separate from our work and all that we were doing, there was a real joy there, a real happiness.”
Nick adds that his and Joe’s solo work plus Kevin’s time focusing on his family helped them all “find” themselves, allowing them to come back together and “infuse all that happiness into the music itself.”
And fans can expect even more music from the Jonas Brothers in the future — this reunion isn’t just a one-album tour. “We’re still writing and recording quite a bit,” Kevin reveals.
“We try to get in the studio as often as we can,” Joe adds. “We’re not trying to rush anything, we’re just letting this album do what it’s doing… but we’re inspired. Especially when we go out on stage every night we find inspiration.”
That inspiration continues to pay off. After the brothers’ conversation onstage, they were presented with plaques to commemorate Happiness Begins going platinum and performed stripped down acoustic versions of classic Jonas Brothers songs like “Lovebug” as well as newer hits like “Only Human,” “Jersey,” “Sucker,” and their latest single “Lonely.”
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