“It got us to a point where I think we realized we had to learn how to be a family again,” he said. “So once we were able to… realize that we really do love spending time together, separate to our work and all that we were doing, there was a real joy there, a real happiness.”
The brothers gave an encore performance of their Chasing Happiness documentary, which was released earlier this year exclusively on Amazon Prime, and delved into their collective claim to teenage stardom, tough career split and solo endeavors that ultimately tied back into their comeback.
“We think the solo efforts that I made and Joe’s work with DNCE and Kevin’s time focusing on family life, we were able to find ourselves to be able to come back and fuse all that happiness into the music itself,” Nick continued. “[The sound] had to be authentic to me, and it had to be similar to Joe’s work with DNCE, which was his most authentic self, and then Kevin’s influence is really the glue that holds everything together.”
What planted the seed for the brothers to come back were a slew of Twitter comments from college-age guys reminiscing on what it would be like to see the Jonas Brothers live again. That’s what got Nick Jonas thinking about a new fanbase “who actually were embarrassed to like the Brothers at a certain point in their life and now they can actually just enjoy it,” he said.
Filming the Chasing Happiness documentary also served as a cathartic and reflective process for Nick, Kevin and Joe Jonas -- from the drinking-game clips, where they revealed their biggest regrets and disputes between each other during their broken-up years (“It rips your soul out a little bit,” said Kevin Jonas), to their love stories with their wives.
“So we were with John [Wright] and Phil [McIntyre], our manager who’s also one of our really good friends for almost 20 years. And we said, ‘Maybe we should shoot this because we really can’t make a decision. The conversations are funny, it’s kind of sad, and it’s really interesting. Let’s just tell the story of the Jonas Brothers,’” Joe Jonas revealed.
He was also the most reluctant one to reunite with his brothers and former bandmates.
“It took me a little while, but luckily I was figuring out, doing something on my own with DNCE was really special,” he opened up. “Coming back around, I was like, ‘I’m good. I don’t need to do this thing that we said no to anymore.’ There was too much in the closet, and I feel like for us, we didn’t really want to work through all that stuff. All that said, the doc has been a really helpful tool for us.”
Another important agent needed to crack the comeback code was prolific songwriter Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, who’s partly responsible for the band’s first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 “Sucker.”
“We just loved it. We said right away, ‘This is something special,’” Joe Jonas said about their first Hot 100 chart-topper. “He understood us because he’s known us for so long. ... We say Ryan’s our fifth brother because he was able to figure out vocally who would sing which parts and what made sense for our voices and how to split us up in a way where each person has a unique standout moment.”
Nick Jonas quipped about being grateful for the "Sucker" release date. “We got really lucky with the timing of ‘Sucker’ coming out because right after that, ‘Old Town Road’ just….” he lightheartedly teased about Lil Nas X’s 19-week takeover at No. 1 within the same year.
The Jonas Brothers later cracked a joke about how they didn’t feel so lucky when Adele beat them during the 2009 Grammy Awards for best new artist -- considering they were hoping for redemption at no other place than the Grammy Museum.
“Since then, a lot of people have lost to Adele,” Joe Jonas joked.
“We’re starting a support group,” Nick Jonas chimed in.
But the Brothers received a different honor from their own support team at their new home, Republic Records. Wendy Goldstein, president of West Coast creative at the label, presented the trio with their platinum Happiness Begins plaque.
And the happiness continued for the fans and their families later that night, when they were treated to an acoustic set of the band’s biggest hits and blasts from the past. The Jonas Brothers ended the evening on a swanky note by performing “Lonely” -- their latest song with Diplo -- “Only Human,” “Love Bug” from their 2008 LP A Little Bit Longer, “Jersey” from the Chasing Happiness documentary and, of course, “Sucker.”