Being Uncomfortable (with Kevin Jonas)
I can’t stop thinking about how Kevin Jonas is on my podcast all because I spilled some butter on fancy pants. It’s crazy. While this situation seems straight out of a fantasy, Kevin and I have a really grounded conversation about growing up in a tight-knit family, and how he learned to break the people-pleasing habit. He also shares why he thinks the Jonas Brothers’ upcoming album will be their best one yet.
Please note, Funny Cuz It’s True contains mature themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners.
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Elyse Myers, Kevin Jonas
Elyse Myers 00:15
Okay, actually, can you just pretend that you’re listening to a fully complete theme song here, I got really in my head. And I tried to make it perfect. And I couldn’t. So this is going to be the theme song right here
Elyse Myers 00:32
Hello, and welcome to Funny Cuz It’s True. I’m Elyse Meyers. Today I’m talking to Kevin Jonas. And let me just tell you that after our conversation, I feel like there truly is just no limit on how you could explore and express your creativity. After the Jonas Brothers broke up in 2013. Kevin went on to start a construction company. Did you know that? I did not know that. And I think that’s so cool. From there and with the band like getting back together in 2019. Kevin found so many different ways to like constantly express his creativity. He’s written children’s books with his wife, Danielle, he launched a production company, and he distributed the snack everyone did not know they craved and needed Rob’s popcorn. By the way, after our conversation, I went on like a 30 minute rant on like, why I love this popcorn and how it’s not just sweet and not just salty. It’s both and different all at the same time. To my producers, and they were like, we get it you like the popcorn and I was like, no, you don’t get it. It’s so good. I became a QVC ad for this popcorn. Anyways, two things that are funny because they’re true. Number one, I connected with Kevin after I posted a story about ripping my pants. So we get our popcorn. We’re watching the movie, and I noticed this buttered popcorn doesn’t have enough butter on it. Ever. It never does. So I go into the lobby and I put more butter on the popcorn. I come back to my seat. I eat it movie ends butter everywhere. Then Kevin commented on that post and tagged Rob’s popcorn, which like okay, I’m not gonna get into it, or I will derail this podcast and turn it into a popcorn ad. And number two, speaking of construction, seamless transition. While preparing for this interview, I learned that Kevin made a surprise cameo on The Real Housewives of New Jersey as a contractor doing house construction like he was there to help build one of the housewives new house. Fun fact. There you go. Okay, let’s get into it. Kevin, Hi, how are you?
Kevin Jonas 02:21
I’m so excited to be doing this with you.
Elyse Myers 02:23
I can’t believe that this happened from some popcorn online.
Kevin Jonas 02:27
Watching your video about the pants. Yeah. And what had happened and transpired I was just like, This is so funny. I saw the video because it talks about popcorn, right? Yeah, I believe the algorithm Gods connected us based on popcorn. It was in fact popcorn that brought us together.
Elyse Myers 02:50
So he wants the popcorn content.
Kevin Jonas 02:53
Your story about the popcorn made me and my wife Danielle laugh pretty hysterically.
Elyse Myers 02:58
I’m so glad. Have you ever had a moment like that happen on the red carpet where you’re like, This is just everything’s going wrong?
Kevin Jonas 03:07
pants ripped a lot. Okay, um, you know, there’s an era of the Jonas Brothers where the pants were unnecessarily tight. Of course. Yeah. And there were times where it didn’t work out as well. You know what, actually, I’m gonna get very personal. I am and was early on, like a pretty bad sweater. Underarm sweater guy. So like, I would get like super anxious about it. And then the more anxious I got, the more I would sweat and so like I’d hit to a red carpet and just be like, before I even get there. Like drenched, I was just like.
Elyse Myers 03:42
Did you wear like specific colors to avoid doing that?
Kevin Jonas 03:46
Yeah. And also like packed like tissue paper like tissue in my armpits? Like, take them off, like after whatever. But like, essentially, I stuffed my shirt in a different way.
Elyse Myers 03:59
Did you know fun fact people get Botox in their armpits to avoid sweating. Do you do that?
Kevin Jonas 04:04
I have adventure down that path before actually.
Elyse Myers 04:07
I don’t want to spill your secrets if you, you know. Does it work?
Kevin Jonas 04:11
Yeah, I have. It’s real. It helps in a big way. And I know a couple of friends as well. I have like really sweaty palms.
Elyse Myers 04:19
I know that people get Botox in their head for migraines.
Kevin Jonas 04:21
And like their jaw for grinding. I have a neighbor who is the original guy like on the program to like bring it to market, but like, based on the fact that they found out that like it makes you look you know, super gray snatched all the time. but it started as something completely, you know, different.
Elyse Myers 04:44
Fun facts with Kevin Jonas and Elyse Myers. I’ll have Kevin Right the theme song. Bruce is your neighbor you said? I would love to know my neighbors that well. I am like too afraid to talk to people when I’m out. And so I just like go home and I’m like, I wish I had friends and then I don’t talk to people and like that’s why I don’t have friends.
Kevin Jonas 05:00
Yeah, no, I do understand like we don’t we haven’t always we found a really beautiful area and beautiful place here in New Jersey where I mean the family live in. We’ve really tried to make it home. Yeah. And our neighbors are great. And we wanted to know them. because I travel so much, and I’m gone. I’m truly gone a lot. Yeah, they kind of like, look out for us. And then Danielle and the kids, and it’s great.
Elyse Myers 05:22
It’s really important to have that kind of community around, especially in the line of work that you do. I feel like having people that feel safe and can support you and your family is like such a big deal. And when you connect with someone like that, it’s like, I want you to be around all the time. Like I just you feel like home to me. Another fun fact, when I met Jonas, my husband, Jonas, not a nickname for Kevin Jonas. Before we started dating, I wrote a song called you are home to me about him. And I gave it to him. And I never really thought about how weird that was at the time. But thinking back now, that’s kind of weird. It’s really important.
Kevin Jonas 06:00
I think that’s why we’ve had the same team for so long. You know, like, our manager has been the same manager that I’ve had since I was 16-17 years old. Phil McIntyre, and our bases. Greg Grabowski, who joined us when we were in a van and trailer living in Wycoff, New Jersey is now our day to day manager and has been for the last five years, six years.
Elyse Myers 06:22
Wow, that’s not common at all, especially in this industry. Did you guys have a lot of that when you’re growing up? Like, did you have people that kind of lived alongside of your family that is that was that modeled to you when you were little?
Kevin Jonas 06:34
I think so. I don’t know how much you know about our background, but we grew up in New Jersey, my dad was a pastor of a church, right? So we grew up in that kind of environment. So you can imagine kind of doors always open? Oh, yeah. And he had friends. And we grew up around music so much that like, it was just kind of a revolving door of like, kind of a circus, in a way. And we learned so much from so many different cultures and people and it was really great. But I think we’ve kind of taken that to our life. Now. It’s like, we’re never really alone. Like there’s always somebody in our house.
Elyse Myers 07:05
Yeah. Do you like that with your family? Like, I guess, because you work so closely alongside people that you feel so safe with? It probably doesn’t feel like strangers all the time. Right? So it’s just like a second family kind of always around? Do you enjoy that?
Kevin Jonas 07:18
We do. It makes it so comfortable. And it makes it difficult. Because you’re so comfortable, you sometimes still have to walk that line of like, this is a business and it is a thing. And so like, yes, it is what we do for fun. And we love this. And it’s a passion. You know, luckily, we get to do what we love for our work. But at the end of the day, there is a lot of people that count on us.
Elyse Myers 07:38
How do you handle being a creative person employing people that you love and feel like family and are safe? And also being a healthy business owner? Like this is first a business, then you’re passionate, but it’s the same thing? And like, how do you keep those lines separate?
Kevin Jonas 07:51
I think the best thing we have done is, and we were not good at this at all, like really bad about communicating what we wanted and what our needs were, I would want something Joe would want something Nick would want them all different. We have three voices, three different people, three different opinions, which is what makes us who we are. Yeah. And then we have our extended family as well. And how does it affect them. And it was never really we never learned to just say what we wanted. And once we started doing that we’re like, I don’t I’m not comfortable with that. I’m not comfortable are the three most amazing words, in any situation.
Elyse Myers 08:31
I am not comfortable. With life changing.
Kevin Jonas 08:37
You’re like, oh, okay, so how do I make you comfortable? But you’re not going to?
Elyse Myers 08:41
Yeah, do you have an example of like something that was a big moment of understanding that for the first time maybe when you were younger, like as an adult, we were like, oh, this is something I need to get better at.
Kevin Jonas 08:53
Like, we forever we just always say yes. And that’s actually part of what drove us to break up as a band. Really, we would do all the things because we felt like we had to, we felt like it was like our responsibility.
Elyse Myers 09:08
Do you think that was because you were thinking about how people would see your decisions?
Kevin Jonas 09:12
I think like it was about early day trauma about like growing up and having to be perfect. Yeah, like and having to always be like on Yeah, people always ask us, How did you guys like, you know, stay pretty grounded and like level headed and like it didn’t blow up essentially? Like no, no, we did in the background, but then we never showed it. Right. And that’s actually probably worse. I wish I could have been like my true crazy self and just been like, you just let it all go. But it ended up being that it wasn’t that easy.
Elyse Myers 09:43
Do you feel like some of that was because of the expectation of church with the fame?
Kevin Jonas 09:49
I think at times I think it started that way. But then it also just started with like, we really did understand the gift that we were given. Yeah, this opportunity that we had, which was a bunch of Kids making music and actually like, doing something with it like, oh man and my parents making a huge financial sacrifice early on, and like putting themselves in severe debt to like fund our idea in a way that was they pretty much told us they said, look, here’s the deal, we’ll either spend this money that we had for you set aside for college, or we’re going to help you for the next two years or the next year trying to get to whatever next benchmark, it’s going to be that someone else is going to take over. And we said, spend the money.
Elyse Myers 10:32
How old were you guys, when your family did that?
Kevin Jonas 10:34
I was probably 17-18, at that point.
Elyse Myers 10:42
So I have three older brothers. And they’re all pretty much close in age to you and your brothers, which is always fascinating to me. And I know my brother, Trevor, my oldest always felt so much pressure to like, carry the weight of all of his siblings on his back all the time. Was that something you experienced?
Kevin Jonas 10:59
Not necessarily, I think it was actually more about people pleasing. Really, I would always revert to like, whatever the group needed. And that like, took over my life. And then that’s the day I changed was like, oh, no, it’s my daughter’s birthday, like that show. You want to book that day. No. And it was just because if you’re in the middle of a tour, just for a little context, right, you have a whole tour. Yeah. And you have a show every, like two shows three shows in a row, then a day off, and another two or whatever, if you add another day off in between. That’s a full another day of people staying in hotel rooms, like unlike another day off, essentially. Yeah. So you’re paying them without any income in that moment, right. Which creates a down moment on the tour, but saying, I don’t care. This is for myself, and for my mental health and like my family’s health me being gone as much. This will mean more to her, then it’ll end up costing me less than my life. And I know that simple, right? And that but like people work on the kids birthday, whatever. But when I’ve been gone for four months, it’s a little different.
Elyse Myers 12:05
Yeah, that effort to be home is so important. And like that is when you kind of have to have that key that you turn where you’re like, I need this. And you can’t really convince me otherwise it’s like, no, totally Period, end of story like complete sentence.
Kevin Jonas 12:18
And like I said, it’s just the moment you finally start standing up for yourself in a way that’s like responsible and respectful. Right? I think that’s a communicating job just because you just aren’t being a diva.
Elyse Myers 12:30
Let’s take a quick break. When we get back Kevin tells us how he explored his other realms of creativity while the Jonas Brothers were on a break. So like how much growth happened for you during that break of the Jonas Brothers?
Kevin Jonas 12:56
Like all the growth, I actually think the growth started when Nick decided, like Nick truly did say, like, I need to change like, I want to do something different. Yeah, like as much as that was like, oh, you know, killer moment. It goes back to I’m uncomfortable. I don’t want to do this anymore. And I don’t want to do this ended up being the thing that like, opened up everything for him to have his project and Joe to go to DNC, me to actually come home live life with my family that you know, about to have a newborn first kid. And as much as it was like, oh, my God, my world spinning out, like I just lost my source of everything. Identity, income, all of it. Instantly, you start going like, oh, you know, you start panicking.
Elyse Myers 13:41
What was that, like when you came home after everything ended? And it was like your first week, like, if you can go back to like, your first week. Everything’s over, you’re home. You’re about to have a baby. You’re like, what now? Like, what was that like going back?
Kevin Jonas 13:56
I sat on the couch for like, two weeks didn’t move. I became a shell of myself. I honestly didn’t know how to operate straight up. 100% didn’t know what to do scared of all things. Yeah. And it was not awesome. It’s disappointing to say like, because I feel like I didn’t handle it well, looking back on it. I think I had known and I didn’t want to admit it. And I think that’s and I think I was trying to decide for myself whether or not I could be okay. But instead of instead of like, going to her and be like, I don’t know what to do. Like, I’m really scared. Like, I just was like, I’m fine. And like, shut down. You know?
Elyse Myers 14:35
Okay, so I read that you started a construction company after the band broke up. Where did that motivation come from?
Kevin Jonas 14:41
Yeah, I really enjoyed like, I think it’s just being creative, right? It was a different way to be creative. I like renovated our house with my wife. Wow, that was what happened as well. Like I was building a house about to have a baby. Like, band breaks up and I’m like, oh, hell, you know?
Elyse Myers 14:55
Oh, yeah. crisis mode.
Kevin Jonas 14:58
Exactly. And so but I enjoyed that part. sense of like, being creative, like seeing, like, I would love to see like this thing, and then it’s built. Obviously, I’m not the one building it.
Elyse Myers 15:06
You mean, you weren’t the one building yourself just like houses from the ground.
Kevin Jonas 15:12
Yeah, no. So I did that for a minute. That was fun. But I decided that it was the day to day of it all that like I didn’t love. So I was just like, this is not rewarding.
Elyse Myers 15:22
Like what, like the admin of it or?
Kevin Jonas 15:25
I like to see the product of like creativity. Yeah, but I didn’t like the product of the grind to get there. In that environment. It took too long.
Elyse Myers 15:33
Yeah, I’m impatient. That’s why I love like painting, drawing, writing music, things like that, because I have complete control over it, I can do it. I don’t have to rely on anybody else. And like, their opinion of it. And as soon as you include more people’s opinions and more people’s time and schedules, you’re just like, This is a disaster. It’s taking too much time.
Kevin Jonas 15:55
Totally. No. And I think I don’t know how deep in the woods, you’ve gotten with like, doing like a pitch for a TV show or like going any of that, like, I have a company called copper comp. And me and my partner Spencer, like we’ve been working for last two years, and we’ve sold like, eight or nine shows at this point.
Elyse Myers 16:12
Okay, wait, hold on. I want to hear that. Because I’m in the process of like, in development of a show and I vary a lot. And it’s overwhelming. So how did you get into that?
Kevin Jonas 16:21
So I’ve been doing it for a long time, coming up with ideas, creative, whatever, I actually started this project started this idea met him. We went out and sold it. And he was with another company at the time. And I was like, I really vibe with you. And I want to keep doing this. Yeah. And he’s like me, too. That was like three years ago, not a single show that has been sold his into production yet. That’s how long this stuff takes, right? But all sudden, I could turn around and have nine shows in developed, you know, like, like, so like, it’s just one of those. You have to be okay with like, the grind? Yeah. And notes.
Elyse Myers 16:55
How do you deal with notes? How do you deal with feedback? Are you like, I love it, or are you?
Kevin Jonas 16:59
I’m really good. And I’m also like, I’m also pretty flexible with these things. Okay, people, just like I think we’re comedians as well. I think at times, we can be funny. Sure. But like, I don’t know if comedy is our whole thing, right? Yeah, I have a hard time with that on stage. I need to do better. I need to do better. We’re just talking. Just like onstage, you know, it doesn’t have to be like this. We were here because you think I was like no, it’s like I had oatmeal and they really disappointed me. But this song doesn’t disappoint me and go into a song doesn’t have to matter doesn’t have to do anything. And I think that’s something that’s so cool about the shows have been doing Las Vegas, which is like we’re performing and every single night is a completely different setlist. Like when I say different setlist, I mean, top down, not the same show.
Elyse Myers 17:50
Wow, every night, how do you do that?
Kevin Jonas 17:54
Just figure it out.
Elyse Myers 17:56
I would literally I would combust. I would someone would tell me the premise of that. And I’d be like, I think I’m gonna pass out.
Kevin Jonas 18:02
It’s actually more rewarding. And actually, it’s better for us, I think. Because we, it’s new to us as well.
Elyse Myers 18:10
You enjoy it more.
Kevin Jonas 18:11
We have not been this way. We have so many songs, we have so many songs. An incredible, the large catalog already. And we’re only about to add to it.
Elyse Myers 18:25
Well, even when we loaded this up. You were like playing a guitar and I could hear it before I could see you. And I’m just like, this is his whole life. You are just playing the guitar while somebody like is getting the Zoom ready. And I’m like, Kevin is such a badass.
Kevin Jonas 18:38
No, I just I walk into a room, there’s always a guitar and all the spaces in our house. Which is important for me because I just don’t want to be without arm’s length of a of a way to play.
Elyse Myers 18:50
In every room of my house. I have half drinking water cups, because I never know if that water cup is from today or seven weeks ago. So not the same as guitars. But I understand the sentiment. I think that as a creative person. It’s not like a tool like your guitar isn’t like a tool for you. It’s literally like an extension of your body. That’s how things that I love and how I express my creativity feel for me, like, my attachment to those things can come and go and I can look at something and be like, the last time I touched you I like processed something too heavy and I don’t want to like, bring that up again.
Kevin Jonas 19:25
That’s interesting. It’s almost like a limb or Yeah, it’s an extension of you for sure. I totally do that. And there are things there are guitars that have those moments for me.
Elyse Myers 19:38
All right, let’s take one more break. And when we come back, Kevin tells us why he thinks their upcoming Jonas Brothers album is going to be their best one yet.
Elyse Myers 19:59
So we know you’re working on an album right now. But where are you guys in that process?
Kevin Jonas 20:03
We are very much in the album creative right now. Like all of it.
Elyse Myers 20:08
What does that process look like for you guys kind of from start to finish.
Kevin Jonas 20:12
It’s been a very long process really. We’ve been writing and working on this album since 2020. And it is honestly the best music we’ve ever made really in like, I’m not even bias like it truly we it was a different process. So I feel like I could say that. Yeah, it is honestly, like, I think the most honest, the most real the most. Like it’s the best. It’s the album.
Elyse Myers 20:34
How did you guys get there?
Kevin Jonas 20:36
It’s so hard to be able to express that without giving you information that I can’t give you. There was a world there was a time in music where you could just alright, it’s done. Print go. Yeah, you know, which we could do. I feel like this deserves more attention than that.
Elyse Myers 20:54
If there’s anybody that would not think that’s crazy, it would be me.
Kevin Jonas 20:58
I think people with curly hair understand this?
Elyse Myers 21:00
Yes, that’s it. I think it’s the curls. I’m like brutal in the creative process. I think that there’s a specific point of view, where, for me, at least, it feels like this isn’t just something that I’m creating for you to be entertained by. It’s like, I am literally putting myself into this different medium for you to like, enjoy of me. And that is so personal. It’s so even like to the point of like the ads I do on this podcast. I like want to have a say and every word that goes into it. It’s like, it’s you totally. And I think that if you don’t feel that way, you should. Like it’s important.
Kevin Jonas 21:40
No and definitely and sometimes you just got to do the work. Right? Right. We all know that totally.
Elyse Myers 21:45
So by the way, you should know that every time I go to tag my husband Jonas in a story online, I basically almost tag you first every time.
Kevin Jonas 21:52
You should, if I ever had a son we talked about like his last name Jonas. But like, first name, Jonas. Such an incredible name.
Elyse Myers 22:06
Well, now you have to meet Jonas so that you guys can experience the Jonas Jonas.
Kevin Jonas 22:10
Where are you guys base now? Nebraska. Love it.
Elyse Myers 22:15
Yeah, we have thought about moving other places. And yeah, we really love, we really love being in the Midwest. I genuinely want like, my dream is to create what is in LA. create those opportunities in the Midwest.
Kevin Jonas 22:30
I love that. Look. I live in New Jersey. Yes, I’m in a suburb of New York City, but I’m still like very much in New Jersey.
Elyse Myers 22:38
New Jersey is amazing, dude.
Kevin Jonas 22:41
People don’t understand how amazing this this place is.
Elyse Myers 22:43
Every bit of filming I’ve ever done on a shoot. I’ve done a lot with Audible and I’ve always filmed in New Jersey every time. And it’s so gorgeous. And I just like every time I go, I’m like I could move here.
Kevin Jonas 22:55
That’s the only place you could come.
Elyse Myers 22:58
show me the neighborhoods that you’re like, This is where I would move to and we can go.
Kevin Jonas 23:02
Yeah, just come over have dinner here, and you’ll see.
Elyse Myers 23:05
Did Kevin, just invite me to his house for dinner in an ironic way. And to move to New Jersey?
Kevin Jonas 23:12
My wife will make amazing Italian food. You’ll die.
Elyse Myers 23:16
Well Kevin, you might not know this, but I make a mean. Big maple emphasis on the singular ball. It’s a big one. Oh my gosh. I would love to meet Danielle and you have how many kids do you have?
Kevin Jonas 23:31
We have two we have an almost nine year old and a six year old two girls.
Elyse Myers 23:34
Is that the weirdest to have kids that old?
Kevin Jonas 23:39
It’s changing right like it’s definitely like our oldest is definitely got a personality like school’s intense now. Like I didn’t realize their grade like mattered. But it does.
Elyse Myers 23:49
It’s intense. What are some things with your family that you’d like to prioritize? And or like when I’m home, we do these things together? Because I’m trying to find those with my family. They just feel special. You know?
Kevin Jonas 23:59
How old is your son?
Elyse Myers 24:00
He’ll be two in a few days.
Kevin Jonas 24:02
Elyse Myers 24:03
Kevin Jonas 24:04
We try to read at night together.
Elyse Myers 24:07
You have books, right? You wrote children’s books?
Kevin Jonas 24:09
Yeah, we have a children’s book me and my wife Danielle. We have another one coming out in May, which will be really cool. A second one.
Elyse Myers 24:13
Do you have to share the name of that yet?
Kevin Jonas 24:16
There’s a beach my bedroom because we had you know, there’s cars from my bedroom. It’s about disappointment. This one which is really cool. Because kids don’t understand that. Not everything goes your way. Right? Yeah, you have a whole day planned. You’re gonna go to the beach. Well, it starts raining. What do you do? You don’t go to the beach.
Elyse Myers 24:36
I need this book. I need this book for myself.
Kevin Jonas 24:39
And then living in New Jersey. That’s like a thing we can do. Right? Like, yeah, we live not by the beach. But I can go to the beach and like an hour and 20 minutes I can be like on the water. Which is amazing. But it’s raining. I’m not gonna go but if we said we were gonna go. It’s disappointment. It’s disappointment and how do you manage that disappointment and how do you like, make it better? make it okay. Like, what do you how do you like shift your thinking to make the environment? Okay, so turn make the put the beach in your bedroom.
Elyse Myers 25:08
Do you enjoy working on those projects with your wife? Is that something that you love?
Kevin Jonas 25:12
So it’s one of my favorite things to do in the world is working with her. Because there’s more than just doing that one thing, right? Yeah, like, we get to go do press together, we get to do all this all this other stuff and all sudden, like, we have make it we turn it into date nights and we fill that time.
Elyse Myers 25:27
I love that. Kevin, thank you seriously, so much. Thank you. I’m so grateful for your time and we did it.
Kevin Jonas 25:34
More to come.
Thank you so much for listening to my conversation with Kevin Jonas. Definitely keep your ear balls and eyeballs open so you don’t miss the release of the Jonas Brothers newest album. There hasn’t been an official release date yet. But from my conversation with Kevin, it sounds like it’s coming really soon. I can’t wait. And if you like funny because it’s true. Please rate and review us. It really helps. Okay, see you next week. Bye. Hey, if you want more Funny Because It’s True, just subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts. Funny Cuz It’s True is a Lemonada Media and Powderkeg production. The show is produced by Claire Jones, Zoe Dennis and […], our associate producer is Tiffany Buoy. Rachel Neil is our senior director of new content and our VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Paul Feig, Laura Fisher, […] and me Elyse Myers. The show is mixed by Brian Castillo and Johnny Evans. Our theme song music was written by me and scored by Xander Singh.