Nick Jonas, the youngest and possibly buffest of the Jonas Brothers, is busy pumping out more serious business when an interviewer calls to talk about his co-headlining show with Demi Lovato on Friday, July 1, at the BB&T Center.
Time remains short for the teen pop star turned adult hearthrob, and that means squeezing in bicep curls and ab crunches inside an Atlanta hotel gym just hours before evening dress rehearsal. At 23, the pop singer is two years into a solo career built from the ashes of his all-brother act, along with projects that include a co-starring role in the DirecTV series "Kingdom"; a film role as a jockish freshman in the college-hazing drama "Goat," out in September; and his current Future Now Tour.
Speaking by phone before his performance in Sunrise, Jonas puts down the barbells long enough to chat about Lovato, his love of the LGBT community and Cuban cigars.
So you say this interview interrupted your workout?
Well, you're actually saving me from more time at the hotel gym, so thanks. That's a good thing. I don't love to work out, honestly, but you got to do what you got to do.
You're coming to South Florida a week later than usual, after you and Demi announced over Twitter you were canceling two dates in North Carolina in protest over the state's HB2 bathroom law. Why do you feel so strongly about this?
For Demi and I, it's about supporting the LGBT community in any way we can, because the community is incredibly supportive of us. With this tour, we have a platform to speak out against issues that are important to us. Bruce [Springsteen] really set the tone for all musicians when he canceled his show there. Demi and I saw that, and were inspired.
The co-headlining tour with Demi comes eight years after you two met on the set of "Camp Rock," the Disney Channel movie. When you first met her, what did you think of her musicianship?
Almost nine years. Crazy. The thing I saw early on was that she had a beautiful heart. An amazing person to be around. On top of that, we connected pretty early on in our song lyrics. The key was that we were writing about problems that we were going through as teenagers. We kind of speak the same language.
How do you drive each other crazy? Give me an example.
There can be times when you're waiting in the lobby for that person ready to roll [laughs], and you have to wait a couple extra minutes for that person. I was in a group with my brothers for years, so I understand all that.
Do you two spend plenty of time together offstage?
We stay in the same hotel most times. Last night, we rolled on the studio bus from Miami to Atlanta. We were laughing and telling old Disney stories. One of the things we share in common is cigars. Obviously, Demi's sober now, so she'll have a cigar with me every now and then. We're old souls, really. Back in the day, when I was touring with the brothers, our tour manager, our production manager — everyone smoked cigars. But favorite cigar? Tough to say. The Cohiba Behike 52s.
Speaking of Miami, you actually visited South Florida on Monday ahead of your concert. What was the occasion?
So fun. I was at [the Power 96] radio station and brought pastelitos and took pictures with fans, and they asked me if I wanted to leave music for acting. I said I wanted to split my time between both.
You mentioned Demi's sobriety. Do you two have candid conversations about it?
[Her sobriety] is an incredibly important piece to her life and world, and as her friend, I have to be sensitive to that. I try to be the best support I can, and talk to her team openly. But the reality is, she's got a great grip on how to manage it, how to be the best version of herself.
When do you think was the moment you took ownership of your solo career outside of the Jonas Brothers?
I think it was a couple of years ago, when I did that [crotch-grabbing] underwear photo shoot for Flaunt [magazine]. I think that was a pretty big moment. That was a big media moment. It set the tempo. I don't think of myself as a sex symbol, but if someone wants to put it that way, that's fine. I was setting up a new visual for people's first introduction to me since — I don't know — 14?
Your new album "Last Year Was Complicated" has drawn plenty of buzz for "Chainsaw" and "Close." What were some of the musical influences?
My influences are always Stevie Wonder, Prince, Michael Jackson. But with "Last Year," I found Drake was a big influence for me. Kanye's album was huge, too. I use them as a tool to continue to grow and evolve.
Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato will perform 7 p.m. Friday, July 1, at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, in Sunrise. Tickets cost $25.70-$85.70. Call 800-745-3000 or go to Ticketmaster.com.