Nicholas Jonas, one-third of the former boy band The Jonas Brothers and son of a former worship leader and pastor, is reportedly gearing up to release a “racy” new music video in which he decries his years being “trapped” in the chaste character of Nick Jonas.
Page Six, the entertainment section of the New York Post, reported on Wednesday that Jonas “has emancipated himself from the squeaky-clean shackles of former purity ring-wearing boy band The Jonas Brothers.”
Jonas, 21, and his brothers Kevin, 26, and Joe, 24, disbanded last year after an eight-year run as The Jonas Brothers. Before forming the group, Jonas had been signed as a solo artist to the Christian record label INO Records, where his first single, Dear God, had been released to Christian radio stations nationwide.
“Dear God, people take your words and try to twist ’em round/I know you can’t be happy with what’s goin’ down,” he sang as a 12-year-old in the song, which he also performed at churches and other venues.
“I hope this record touches a lot of people and I’ve been praying that the Lord will use it in a big way,” Jonas said in a press release about the album. “The hope of this record is to make people feel good and happy inside. I’m excited to see what comes next.”
Jonas’ father, Kevin Sr., worked for a time at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, where he served as a worship leader and taught songwriting to students. Kevin Jr. was the subject of one of Jonas Sr.’s worship songs, entitled I Am Amazed. A young Kevin sang the song for the church, surrounded by other children whose voices rang out in awe of the love and mercy of God. Jonas’ mother, Denise, was a singer at Christ for the Nations as well.
In 1996, Jonas’ father was offered a ministerial position at Wyckoff Assembly of God in New York, and the family soon moved to the big city, where Jonas soon became involved in show business as a Broadway actor.
However, after his Christian music release caught the attention of a Columbia Records official, Jonas was signed to the secular label with his brothers, who then became known as The Jonas Brothers. The trio was featured on MTV, Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, and were later signed to Hollywood Records after being dropped by Columbia. They were featured in a Hannah Montana episode with Miley Cyrus and were also stars in the Disney film Camp Rock featuring Demi Lovato.
“More to love when your hands are free/Baby, put your pom poms down for me,” The Jonas Brothers sang as screaming girls pined for the trio. “Want you like a kid just wants a milkshake/And I won’t let it go to waste if I get a taste/I’m gonna drink the whole thing.”
During this time, megachurch leader and author Rick Warren invited the group to perform at a service celebrating Saddleback Church’s 30th anniversary. Warren applauded the trio as being “followers of Jesus Christ,” noting their commitment to wear purity rings until marriage as he gave the brothers the stage to sing some of their most popular secular hits.
But some expressed concern, stating that The Jonas Brothers’ music was not reflective of Christianity and that their appearance at Saddleback was anything but honoring to God.
“How anyone, especially someone who claims the name of Christ and claims to read and know His word, could look at something like the mess that was presented by Saddleback Church … and not have problems with it, is beyond me,” wrote blogger Mike Corley.
Others also began to express outrage over the content of the brothers’ music videos, which was suggestive and sexual in nature.
“The video was about a love relationship and showed [Joe Jonas] and another girl naked in a bath tub. … He was also in bed, half dressed with a girl that we later see in a tee and panties. Let’s just say they were both quite physical,” concerned parent Linda Mintle wrote in a blog post entitled Why, Joe Jonas? Why? “Wonder what Mama Jonas thought of that video? How about his pastor?”
Last year, Joe Jonas told the Christian Post that he became frustrated with the focus being on the brothers’ desire for sexual purity.
“People were coming up to us, saying, ‘Thank you so much, I’m waiting because you guys are, too!’And we just thought, ‘No! That’s not what we’re about,’ he said, explaining that he lost his virginity when he was 20.
Nick Jonas also came out in 2012 in support of homosexuality during an interview with The Advocate, stating that he never had a problem with the lifestyle.
“[W]e love our gay fans,” he said. “My upbringing was faith-based, but we believed you should love all others as you want to be loved, because everyone should be treated equally. … At the end of the day, we’re all the same, because we all want to be loved.”
Jonas covered Lady Gaga’s Edge of Glory in 2011.
Last fall, after becoming one of the most visible and popular boy bands in the nation, traveling on global tours and appearing at the White House, The Jonas Brothers decided to call it quits, citing a “deep rift within the band” over “creative differences.”
As the brothers have gone their separate ways, friends of Nicholas Jonas state that the singer no longer desires to present a “squeaky clean image.”
In addition to appearing in DirecTV’s martial arts drama Navy Street, Jonas is set to release a solo song entitled Chains, which “describes his feelings about being trapped for years in the chaste character of a JoBro and comes with a racy video starring Dylan Penn,” the daughter of actor Sean Penn.
“Nick has spent years experiencing a burden that’s hard to explain,” an unnamed source told Page Six. “He feels free now for the first time in his life. He’s making music he believes in. He’s done saying sorry for everything and trying to be perfect. He’s just going to be himself. If people like him, great. If not, he’s done giving a [expletive].”
“They said they were Christian,” one fan remarked about the Jonas brothers, “but I feel like they’re either falling away from God, or they never really were Christian in the first place.”