The Jonas Brothers
The Jonas Brothers band is an incredibly popular trio of three homeschooled brothers: Paul (Kevin) Jonas, 21, Joseph (Joe) Jonas, 19, and Nicholas (Nick) Jonas, 16. The Jonas Brothers grew up in a home where music was a large part of everyday life. Their father, Rev. Kevin Jonas, is co-founder of Christ for the Nations Music ministry, as well as a pastor in the family’s hometown of Wyckoff, NJ. Their mother, Denise Jonas, is a church singer and sign language teacher. As music ministers, their parents travelled everywhere. Kevin was born in Teaneck NJ on November 5, 1987; Joe was born in Casa Grande AZ on August 15, 1989; and Nick was born in Dallas TX on September 16, 1992. A younger brother Franklin (Frankie), known as the “Bonus Jonas,” was born on September 28, 2000.
The Jonas Brothers perform a mixture of pop, rock and punk music for which they write their own music and play their own instruments. Kevin plays lead guitar and does backing vocals. Joe performs lead vocals, percussion, and sometimes guitar. Nick does lead vocals, rhythm guitar, and piano. These brothers are powerful balladeers, upbeat and energetic in their approach. The Jonas Brothers are often compared to the Hanson brothers, another homeschool sibling singing group, and they have even been compared to The Beatles, although that may be a bit of a stretch. Like their 60’s counterparts, the Jonas brothers elicit piercing shrieks from pre-teen girls wherever they go, and although some believe they are overrated, others think the Jonas Brothers may be the next big act that will explode.
The boys are starring as themselves in the new Disney Channel’s “JONAS.” This series was inspired by the Beatles films “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!” as well as the zany American made-for-TV group the Monkees. In “JONAS,” the boys play members of a popular band trying to live normal lives at a regular school, despite being trailed by throngs of ardent fans. Described as a fusion of situation comedy and music video, the show also features previously unknown Frankie Jonas playing their younger brother. The three older brothers originally gained popularity on the Disney Channel when they made their film debut in the movie, “Camp Rock.”
While the chart-topping trio are obviously helped by Disney’s marketing clout, the band’s catchy tunes laced with muscular guitar riffs have moved beyond Radio Disney to Top 40 stations. Despite their Christian background, the Jonas Brothers decided not to go the Contemporary Christian Music route. Rev. Jonas explains, “I was called to preach. My kids are not called to preach,” he said. “They are Christians who happen to be in a band.” Nevertheless, one of the reasons for the genre direction was to reach more teenagers. The Jonas Brothers are aware of the positive impact they can have on millions of kids, and it’s a responsibility they take seriously.
Despite their foray into the world of rock ‘n’ roll - long a refuge for teen angst and rebellion - the Jonas Brothers are known for their straight-laced, squeaky-clean image. “They don’t hide their faith,” said Rev. Jonas, who noted the challenge his sons face with their newfound teen-idol status. The trio vows that they want to continue being a positive influence and will stick to the wholesome ideals they have set for themselves despite the trappings of fame that derailed other Disney alumnus like Britney Spears.
The Christian faith is very important to the entire Jonas family. The brothers are all committed Evangelical Christians, and their father is an ordained minister with Assemblies of God. Before being homeschooled by their mother, all three Jonas brothers used to attend Eastern Christian High School. For a peek into their real lives, watch “A Day In the Life of The Jonas Brothers” by shineon-media on YouTube. About halfway through this video you can see the brothers using the Accelerated Christian Education homeschool curriculum (PACE workbooks) by ACE ministries. With such a busy schedule, they really have to focus on getting a certain amount of work done whenever they can. (Although the two older brothers have since graduated.)
The Jonas Brothers abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. In addition, they are committed to remaining chaste before marriage and they all wear purity rings on their left-hand ring finger. Kevin says it’s to signify “a promise to ourselves and to God that we’ll stay pure till marriage.” Joe explains, “our parents asked us if we wanted to and we were like “yeah,” saying “People are like ‘no way, that’s impossible.’” Besides being great conversation starters, Nick added: “We use it as a chance to witness. We want to be a Christian influence in the pop music world. It’s definitely a mission field.”
The brothers stay away from controversial subjects and politics in their lyrics, instead sticking to youth issues like teen love, heartbreak, forgiveness, peer pressure, and the trials of growing up. Other songs take a light-hearted look at the craziness of fame and fortune. While romantic songs may seem somewhat out of character considering their pledge, Kevin says “It’s more from the lack of our relationships [that we're able to write such great love songs]. We just dream about those situations.” He adds, “We know the bloggers are watching, so we have to be careful and not do anything stupid.” Time will tell if they maintain their morals in such an immoral industry, but so far they have been really good role models.
The Jonas Brothers donate 10% of their earnings to their non-profit Change for the Children Foundation “to support programs that motivate and inspire children to face adversity with confidence, determination, and a will to succeed.” Nick Jonas had the idea to start this charity after seeing a homeless family on the streets of New York City. His heart was touched by a desire to see kids saving up their pocket change to help other less fortunate kids. The Change for the Children Foundation supports “Nothing But Nets” (mosquito nets), “American Diabetes Foundation,” “St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” “Children’s Hospital Los Angeles,” and “Summer Stars: Camp for the Performing Arts.” Since Nick was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 13, he also teamed up with Bayer Diabetes Care as a diabetes ambassador for young people.
Although Nick is the youngest brother in the band, he was the first to make his debut into show business. When Nick was six years old, he was discovered while singing at a barber shop and referred to a professional show business manager. At the age of 7, Nicholas began performing in Broadway musicals. In 2002 while appearing in “Beauty and the Beast,” Nick wrote a song with his father called “Joy to the World (A Christmas Prayer)”. With background vocals from the “Beauty and the Beast” cast, Nick performed the song on the album, “Broadway’s Greatest Gifts: Carols for a Cure, Vol. 4.” In November 2003, “Joy to the World (A Christmas Prayer)” was released to Christian radio, where it quickly became popular on the Adult Contemporary Chart.
Nick recorded the single “Dear God” when he was only 12 years old. It is described as “a powerful prayer sung from a child’s heart concerning the many troubles happening in our world today with the hope that is found in bringing our concerns to God.” Initially released for Christian radio, the song is now available for free on Rhapsody.com. Nick said, “I hope this record touches a lot of people and I’ve been praying that the Lord will use it in a big way.”
Kevin and Joe did some Broadway performances of their own, and the Jonas brothers also appeared in commercials for Burger King, LEGO, Battle Bots, and Clorox Bleach. But shortly after Nick’s solo project, they decided to start a band. When he was 13, Kevin had read the book “Teach Yourself Guitar” and did just that with one of his parents’ guitars. The trio learned to hone their rock band skills at home in the basement because their garage was too crowded. Nick, Kevin and Joe wrote several songs, some of them with their father. In early 2005, Columbia Records offered to sign the three as a group act. In today’s age of pre-manufactured pop groups, the Jonas Brothers are a breath of fresh air since they lend their own “voice” to projects through their singing and songwriting.
The Jonas Brothers won a 2008 American Music Award for breakthrough artist and received a 2009 Grammy Award nomination for best new artist. The Jonas Brothers have released three albums: It’s About Time (2006), Jonas Brothers (2007), and A Little Bit Longer (2008). On the credits for It’s About Time they write: “We would like to thank our best friend in all the world-our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We see everyday the blessings you give us. We know you will always be there for us. There is no greater love than the one from above.”
In the wake of their bestselling self-titled album, the Jonas Brothers set out on their first headlining tour a year ago. The group kicked off its national tour in Tucson, AZ on January 31, 2008. A Disney Digital 3-D production crew filmed two shows in Anaheim, California on July 13-14, 2008. The footage will be released in theatres on February 27, 2009 as a 3-D Concert Experience. The G-rated movie will include a behind-the-scenes look at the Jonas Brothers. Let’s support these fellow homeschoolers by going to see their movie the first weekend it comes out. Be sure to tell all of your friends!
www.jonasbrothers.com (Jonas Brothers Official Site)
www.changeforthechildren.org (Change for the Children)
www.nickssimplewins.com (Nick Jonas and Bayer Diabetes Simple Wins)
www.fanfamilyexperience.com (Official Jonas Brothers Fan Site.)
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