March 18, 2019 / 8:28 PM

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Nick Jonas Channels Lionel Richie, Elvis While Balancing Music, Acting



Nick Jonas is promoting his new single, "Jealous," which will be out Sept. 7.

"It is an uptempo song," Jonas told Billboard. "It's kind of a new-agey Lionel Richie vibe, actually. It's pretty fun."

But Jonas has his eyes set on a bigger influence: Elvis. The former Jonas Brothers star has continued his acting career, and will star in the martial arts drama Kingdom this fall. He wants to balance both music and acting like The King.

"A lot of people feel like you have to focus on one at a time, but I want to be greedy and do both," Jonas told TIME. "I hope I can. I look at people like Elvis, who did both, and it was amazing. There's a million examples of people who have made the transition from one to the other, but I'd love to be able to do both and make an impact in both."

Musically, the head Jo Bro is staying ambitious.

"I came in really wanting to make a record that was different from anything I'd done in the past, but that was true to my influences: Stevie Wonder, Prince, Bee Gees," he told TIME. "And then, more recently, The Weeknd and Frank Ocean. That whole vibe of alternative R&B/pop. It just fell into a really natural place really early. To the point where we were six songs in, like, 'Oh, we have a record taking shape.' I came in really sure of what I wanted to do.

"I think that fear was a big thing in the songs I was writing. The song "Jealous" - the root of that is fear. A song called "Nothing Will Be Better" has fear at the forefront. In a lot of ways, as an artist you're best way to free yourself of whatever it is that's bothering you or causing the fear is to just write and get it all out. I tried to do that. I think I said a lot. I made myself uncomfortable at times in what I was saying, which I think is good."

He continued to talk about the idea of fear with TIME:

"One of the biggest questions is, 'What is it you fear and why do you fear it and how does it affect you?'" he said. "For me, it was fear of the unknown, fear of my next steps, fear of making bold choices. In creating the music and feeling free in that way, I think the questions were answered and the fear was gone. I feel really good now!"

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