Nothing is off-limits in Nick Jonas' Entertainment Weekly Q&A.
In the magazine's annual "Summer Must List" issue (on newsstands now), the 23-year-old pop star speaks candidly about his Disney Channel days. Unlike some of his peers, Nick has only good things to say about the network that made Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Joe Jonas, Kevin Jonas and Demi Lovato world famous superstars. "There's a camaraderie there, a sort of unspoken brother- and sisterhood. If you want to talk about that graduating class of 2008, I'm really proud—it's a really good group," says Nick, who dated Miley and Selena during that era. "Regardless of some of the history between us in different ways, there's a general strength and empowerment that we all feel, still being in the mix and being in a good spot. It's a cool thing."
Speaking of Miley, Nick confesses, "I don't have a relationship with her now really, but that's not because we have any bad blood—we just sort of run in different circles." Still, he's proud of Miley's musical evolution. "It's pretty great, because I love 'Wrecking Ball' so much. I still think its one of the best pop songs of the last 10 years. And you know, she's always been outspoken and authentic to who she is, so it was only a matter of time before she really owned that, and I'm proud of her...It's a lot like watching your high school crush do well, just on a bigger scale."
While Miley is no longer in his life, Demi is. In fact, they're taking their act on the road this summer with the Future Now tour. It won't be the first time the friends have toured together, of course. In 2010, to promote the Disney Channel Original Movie Camp Rock 2, Demi and the Jonas Brothers embarked on a global concert tour. But, after a violent incident with a backup dancer, Demi checked into rehab for an eating disorder and emotional issues. Ever since, she has been outspoken about her struggles and often uses her story to inspire others facing similar issues. "It's been years of working on herself and getting better, but she's amazing—and a better singer, too, because she's healthy. But I was genuinely concerned that I might lose my friend," Nick says. "And what was so hard is that when she really had her big meltdown while we were on tour years ago, I talked to her and was just like, 'Look, I see something's happening.' But you have to let someone make that choice themselves. It's a journey, you know? And it still is."
"I never struggled with addiction on any level, which I think probably stems from living with diabetes," he adds. "I'm not saying that I haven't had one too many drinks one night, but I think the thing that was most challenging for me was applying a lot of pressure to myself and trying to maintain a real image of perfection, which is so impossible. And we did have a lot of pressure on us to maintain that image. But once you become an adult you realize nobody's perfect, and it actually does you a disservice in your artistry to try and keep that up...But it was more challenging than I've spoke about before. I never wanted to sound like I was bitching about it, because a lot of people would kill to have what we did. But I had a couple years where s--t was really not going well—like when the Jonas Brothers tried to come back and do it again, but too many things were just not authentic about what we were doing. To be 21 and think, 'All right, is my career over? Have I blown it? Or do people just not care?' There were a lot of questions and self-doubt to a point where I was considering, 'OK, I'll just write and produce music for myself.'"
And that's exactly what he did. His upcoming solo album, Last Year Was Complicated, is out June 10—and his ex-girlfriend, Olivia Culpo, inspired much of it. How does she feel about being his muse? Well, Nick isn't quite sure. "I've thought a lot about whether she's heard it, and I'm sure she's heard 'Champagne Problems' at this point. The concept of the song, which maybe doesn't stand out on first listen, is, 'You're amazing, you're all the things I hope to find with somebody, but timing, circumstances, all these things play into it not being right.' Champagne is amazing; it tastes delicious but gives you a really bad hangover. That's the idea..." he explains. "[But] I haven't heard from her in a year. I don't know if I'll hear from her again. I'm not sure."
Should anyone take issue with Nick's latest effort (or his Entertainment Weekly interview, for that matter), he'll be prepared to face the music. "I've got nothing to hide anymore, which feels good," Nick says. "I hid behind a wall of sort of robotic response before, which I've given up on."