CW President Mark Pedowitz really wasn’t kidding when he promised to beef up his Network’s sagging summer schedule. Case in point, the small screen’s latest entrant into the reality music competition field appropriately titled THE NEXT. As the title suggests, each episode of THE NEXT chronicles the lives of four musicians on-the-cusp of making it who are forced to face off with one another in the hopes of winning a recording contract with Atlantic Records. But not before getting the kind of crash course money can’t buy courtesy of one of four uniquely talented mentors who know a thing or ten about the music industry! Specifically Gloria Estefan, John Rich, Nelly and Joe Jonas. The latter of whom we recently caught up with on the phone to talk about what attracted him to the show, how THE NEXT differentiates from the plethora of other music competitions currently out there and the evolution of the boy band.
As someone who has been working in this industry for almost two decades, what exactly was the appeal of a show like THE NEXT?
Joe Jonas: I wanted to do this show because I’ve always enjoyed working with new or young artists. Thanks to the internet there is an entirely new generation of musicians to discover, a sort of new wave, and it’s been a lot of fun for me mentoring them.
Was being able to mentor, rather than judge and tear down an artist one of the major attractions of a show like this?
Absolutely, I wanted to make it really fun and positive. That said, you do have to disagree with people as well. You can’t just sugar-coat things. Some people aren’t great and you have to be honest with them because they’re representing their city and you really don’t want them representing it in the wrong way.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the television landscape is littered with variations of the same music-type reality competition. How does THE NEXT differ from the likes of AMERICAN IDOL, THE X FACTOR and THE VOICE?
That is something that we really wanted to be able to work on, kind of make the show different than the other ones. For us, only being able to have seventy-two hours to work with an artist, that really appealed to me. Plus, giving these artists a second chance, some of them have big following on YouTube, but this show really could make a difference in their lives.
As an artist who had to struggle for years before hitting it big, does a tiny little part of you resent this “fast pass” the likes of this show or an AMERICAN IDOL or X FACTOR can give to relative unknowns?
It definitely can give artists an easy in, but the show for me is about people who really have not just talent, but the drive. It’s that drive that makes the difference. Take a look at Carrie Underwood, she has worked so hard to get where she is and she knew coming into it that if she won this thing, she wasn’t going to stop.
Have you been surprised by the level of talent THE NEXT has uncovered?
Absolutely, and I’ve really been impressed by how much hard work the artists have been putting into it.
Having reached a level of fame that very few artists will ever experience, what kind of advice do you have for the winner of THE NEXT?
Life happens so fast and there are so many experiences that you really almost have to have a video camera to document everything!
To your credit, the Jonas Brothers made it through the often perilous journey that is growing up in Hollywood virtually unscathed. How did you do it?
Family. The fact that our family put the time, effort and money into their son’s dreams was amazing, and it was that sort of support system which has always been so valuable as we got older.
Right now the likes of One Direction and The Wanted are enjoying their fifteen minutes in the spotlight. Is that something you pay attention to?
I’m happy for One Direction, the guys are great, I think they’re doing their thing and they look like they’re having a good time doing it. But for me, it’s not a comparison thing. Personally, I’m focused on what me and my brothers are doing and I think what kind of separates us is that we write our own music and play our own instruments, so we kind of just let our songs do our talking.
WIth apologies in advance for not being up on my Jonas Brothers music, what’s the status of the band?
We actually just announced a big show that we’re doing at Radio City Music Hall in New York which we’re really excited about. We’ve been in the studio now for a couple of weeks and have been working really hard on creating and coming up with new material.
THE NEXT airs Thursdays at 9PM on The CW.