Leav­ing the past be­hind

Singers Demi Lo­vato and Nick Jonas talk about grow­ing up in the lime­light.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MUSIC - By MIKAEL WOOD

EIGHT years ago, few might have pre­dicted that the fresh- faced stars of the hit Dis­ney Chan­nel mu­si­cal

Camp Rock would go on to freely dis­cuss sex in their work, be­come out­spo­ken pro­po­nents for the LGBT com­mu­nity and, this year, mount a joint tour in­spired by Bruce Spring­steen.

But the Boss is just who Nick Jonas said he and Demi Lo­vato had in mind when they con­ceived their rel­a­tively stripped- down road show, Fu­ture Now, which launched in June.

Specif­i­cally, Jonas ex­plained, it was Spring­steen’s run of con­certs last spring at the Los Angeles Sports Arena – along with a Billy Joel gig he caught at New York’s Madi­son Square Gar­den – that made this for­mer tween idol want to turn away from the pop pageantry with which he’d made his name as part of the Jonas Broth­ers.

“I left that Spring­steen show and was like, ‘ We’ve got to think like this,’” he said, sprawled on a couch next to Lo­vato in a dress­ing room be­fore a re­cent date at Bos­ton’s TD Gar­den.

“Just to go on­stage, no the­atrics, and pour your heart and soul into the mu­sic – that’s what we wanted,” Lo­vato added as her small black dog scam­pered around her legs.

In truth, the Fu­ture Now tour isn’t ex­actly a no- frills jam- a- thon.

In Bos­ton, the two per­form­ers, both 23, were ac­com­pa­nied by sleek vi­su­als and wore out­fits con­sid­er­ably more in­volved than Spring­steen’s faded dad jeans.

And the songs, of course, were flashy in their own way: stomp­ing elec­tro- pop tunes like Lo­vato’s

Con­fi­dent and moist R& B come- ons like Jonas’ Chains.

But if it’s true, as Jonas said in a free­wheel­ing con­ver­sa­tion, that the pop world “is pretty over­sat­u­rated these days” – packed with high- tech arena spec­ta­cles from Bey­once, Justin Bieber and Madonna – then this pro­duc­tion, with its em­pha­sis on live vo­cals backed by a mus­cu­lar band, does feel like a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal. These are ex­cerpts from our talk.

How of­ten do you think about Camp Rock? Lo­vato: I don’t, to be hon­est, un­less some­body brings it up. So what’s com­ing to mind now?

Jonas: School­ing. We were both 14 or 15 when we filmed the movie, so they had a teacher on set, and you had to do a cer­tain amount of school each day: four hours of school, six hours of work. By the sec­ond ( Camp Rock movie), Demi and I had both tested out of high school in Cal­i­for­nia, so we were rid­ing high, en­joy­ing life.

Does a kid in show busi­ness learn any­thing from an on- set tu­tor?

Jonas: From some of them, no. But there was this girl Laura, who

ac­tu­ally re­ally helped me prep for the test, be­cause I was not pre­pared.

Lo­vato: Mine was Mar­sha. But other than that? Some were lit­er­ally just like, “I can’t help you with any­thing – let’s watch a movie and say you did some study­ing. Talk about mov­ing out of the kid­die phase of your ca­reer. Is it a tran­si­tion you have to man­age care­fully?

Lo­vato: I kind of cheated – I went to re­hab.

Ex­press route.

Lo­vato: A real FastPass. Jonas: I think we had two very dif­fer­ent jour­neys. I was in my tran­si­tion from ado­les­cence to adult­hood while also try­ing to man­age be­ing a fam­ily and hav­ing our busi­ness kind of fall apart.

So, I made a con­scious ef­fort to push my­self and col­lab­o­rate with dif­fer­ent peo­ple. The word “in­ten­tional” is dan­ger­ous, but it was about in­ten­tion­ally do­ing cer­tain photo shoots and things that would give peo­ple a bet­ter idea of who I am to­day as op­posed to their first in­tro­duc­tion when I was 14.

Quest for free­dom

As in­di­vid­u­alised as their jour­neys have been, one thing that’s united the two singers is the way they’ve han­dled sex in their work – which is to say, the en­thu­si­asm with which they’ve han­dled it.

A cer­tain amount of lusti­ness is cru­cial for any for­mer kid­die star look­ing to leave the past be­hind; it’s part of the script fol­lowed by Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Mi­ley Cyrus and plenty of others.

Still, Jonas and Lo­vato have gone fur­ther than most, in songs like his com­i­cally lewd Ba­con and in re­veal­ing photo shoots like the one Lo­vato did last year for Van­ity

Fair that had her naked in a ho­tel bath­tub.

Yet it’s not mere tit­il­la­tion or shock value that they ap­pear in­ter­ested in but some­thing deeper, some­thing al­most philo­soph­i­cal about the na­ture of de­sire – and of be­ing de­sired.

Is it part of this over­all quest for free­dom?

Lo­vato: It’s def­i­nitely lib­er­at­ing. I mean, for some­one who’s had body im­age is­sues to be able to go on­stage in a thong – it’s not just me try­ing to be sexy. It’s “Look how far I’ve come – I can now show off my whole body and be con­fi­dent.”

Jonas: As a song­writer, the minute you start hav­ing sex, you can to­tally see the dif­fer­ence in the writ­ing. You be­come an adult – that’s kind of the whole back­bone of it, re­ally, your iden­tity as a per­son and what sex means to you. Be­cause you both ap­proach sex can­didly, you know the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing ogled. The idea of your body be­comes pub­lic prop­erty in a way. Lo­vato: I look at it as I’m shar-- ing my ex­pe­ri­ence with my body with my fans, and that’s why they re­late to me so much. Does that en­cour­age peo­ple to ex­pect cer­tain de­tails and images from you?

Lo­vato: There’s an ex­pec­ta­tion to­day be­cause of the ac­cess to celebrity that this gen­er­a­tion has. When I was dream­ing about be­com­ing an artiste, there weren’t cam­era phones; now peo­ple get of­fended if you say no to a pic­ture. The re­ac­tion peo­ple have when a celebrity en­ters a room, it blows my mind.

Do you think about the ef­fect a spe­cific act might have? “If I post X on In­sta­gram, then Y will hap­pen.”

Jonas: Of course. When I was younger, that used to re­ally shake me. I was kind of liv­ing in fear. Fear of what?

Jonas: Dis­ap­point­ing peo­ple. I didn’t ask to be­come a role model, but it was thrust upon all of us, re­gard­less of whether you ac­knowl­edge it. You have to come to a de­ci­sion as an adult and say, “I’ve got to live my life.”

There’s noth­ing wrong with think­ing ahead and be­ing aware of how it might af­fect some­body – every­thing from a post to where you have din­ner to who you’re with. But these aren’t things you can let con­sume your life. – Los Angeles Times/ Tri­bune News Ser­vice

Lo­vato ( left) and Jonas have teamed up for a tour around the united states. — Agen­cies

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