"Music on Red Bull." Without hesitating, that's how 19-year-old Kevin Jonas describes the hyper-adrenalized sounds he's created with his two brothers, 14-year-old Nicholas and 17-year-old Joseph, on the Jonas Brothers' debut album, It's About Time.
Music always played a major part in the brothers' lives growing up in New Jersey. Their parents are both musicians, so gathering around the piano for sing-alongs was an essential part of regular family bonding, yet each brother found his own musical calling in a different way.
The oldest, Kevin, who plays guitar and sings backing vocals, was home sick one day when he found a guitar and a "Teach Yourself Guitar" book lying around the house. "I spent the next three days learning how to play the basic chords," Kevin remembers. "That was about four years ago."
Nicholas, who shares lead vocals with Joseph in the group, began singing as soon as he could talk. "From the time I was two years old, I would wake up in the morning and start singing all the time, every second of the day," he says. Joseph first dreamed of becoming a comedian and wanted to audition for sketch comedy shows. "But I was always attached to music and loved listening to different kinds of music, especially rock," he says.
Before forming their band, the Jonas Brothers had appeared together in a series of commercials for Burger King, LEGOS, Battle Bots and Clorox--to name just a few. But as time went on, they found themselves spending more and more time down in their basement, writing songs and practicing together as a band After a spectacular group audition was held for the label, the direction was clear. "All three of us were signed pretty much on the spot as the Jonas Brothers," Kevin says.
For the Jonas boys, the real fun began as they combined their musical abilities to write and record their debut album together, quickly realizing how lucky they were to have each other for both personal and professional inspiration. "It's awesome to have my brothers on stage and in the studio with me," explains Nicholas. "You have a security that everything is going to be okay, even when you mess up."
As Kevin puts it, "It feels like the most natural thing we could be doing. When we write a song we get in a triangle. I start playing the chords that we've chosen over and over and then we'll keep going around in a circle until we have figured out the lyrics for our song."
Joseph sees them all collaborating for years to come. "We're brothers so it's not like if we got upset at each other that we can be like, 'Well I quit.' They're still my brothers. We love to do this and we know we're going to keep doing for a very long time."
Inspiration for the group's songs comes directly from the boys' personal experiences--from the highs and lows of dating to being on the road to having been given the opportunity to follow their dreams at such a young age. "A lot of it is about typical teenage love stuff like 'Oh, what am I going to do if I can't see her today?' It's not stuff that we don't know about," says Nicholas.
"There's been heartbreaks and there's been crushes so we know how it feels and can write about it," explains Kevin, but overall, the songs of the Jonas Brothers celebrate the joy of living and encourage people to feel good. "The album is meant to get people up and have fun and raise their energy," says Joseph.
One of the more personal tracks on the record is the first single, Mandy, which is about a girl that their mother, a sign language teacher, taught to sign so that she could pursue her dream of working with the hearing impaired. Nicholas, Joseph and Kevin each formed a special friendship with Mandy. "We were writing songs one day and decided we wanted to write about something really nice--so we wrote a song about Mandy," recalls Nicholas. "She's the nicest girl you will ever meet. She knows what you're thinking all the time."
For now the brothers are just relishing in the experience of having other people hear their music live and making new fans one city at a time while they are on the road. "We've known for a while how it felt to be on stage, but we never knew how it would feel to have people love music that we've written and which we both play and sing. It's very gratifying when fans come up to us after shows and tell us how much they relate to our songs," says Joseph.
"We all have such passion for what we do and for our band," explains Kevin. Nicholas adds, " Our dreams have really come true and we're just so lucky."