If you’ve been on the Internet at all this past week, you have probably seen the racy photos of Nick Jonas, reminiscent of the Mark Wahlberg shoot for Calvin Klein in the ‘90s. Make no mistake, these were not leaked — they were released intentionally. In fact, the release was very intentional, part of a photoshoot for Flaunt magazine. Jonas said he was happy that the shoot is “building the hype” for this Wednesday’s premiere of his TV series in which he stars as an MMA fighter. He’s desperately trying to make a comeback and has turned to a sexy persona to do so.
Jonas also formed a band, Nick Jonas and the Administration, a side project for his first album — 2010’s “Who I Am” — without his brothers. He has released three singles for his new, upcoming album that all have a processed, edgy sound and appeal to a large audience.
So, why the change? Nick is certainly not the first young star to change his image (ahem, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez). Nick Jonas and The Administration’s jazzy, R&B sound is no more. In 2010, “Who I Am” fell far short of gold status at only 179,000 copies sold as of July. But I am convinced that “Who I Am” was named as such on purpose and must be a product of the “real” Nick Jonas. Coming off of the massive success of the Jonas Brothers, why would he make something he didn’t believe in? Furthermore, who is this new version of Nick?
Longtime fans of Nick Jonas know him as the sensitive, unspoken one of the Jo Bros. He wrote many of the songs and was the glue that kept the band together, stealing the show with his heartfelt piano ballads. It seemed a natural step for him to stay with the deconstructed songs that he gravitated toward for his first Administration album. He even gave a nod to his childhood nickname, “Mr. President” in the name of his band.
This new image came completely out of left field. But what I want to know is what prompted the change. Is Nick Jonas simply evolving as an artist or is all of this a desperate move to stay relevant? Performing is obviously what he loves to do, and I think he feels pressure to become a sex symbol in order to save his career.
This is the definition of selling out. Artists abandon their own artistic desires in favor of making something that is sure to become popular. They would surely tell you that this is the “real” them, and would never admit that changing their image is something completely unrelated to their true self, a product of pressure from the public and management.
Many artists know nothing else besides their career and they need to work in order to maintain their mental and financial sanity. And if that means selling out, then that is what Nick Jonas, among others, must do.
We claim to value creativity and people being themselves, but in reality we want everyone to be sexy and make easily digestible art.
Correction: A prior version of this article stated that Nick Jonas’ band, the Administration, would appear on his upcoming self-titled album. In fact, the Administration will not be on Jonas’ upcoming album.