We're living in the golden age of fandom, where social media has allowed stans to interact with their idols on a daily basis. Whether you're a barb, lamb, belieber, or registered bardi gang member, you're probably @-ing somebody. On Stan Stories, we meet the internet's most dedicated followers and delve deep into their obsessions.
The Jonas Brothers were the world's biggest, most Disneyfied boy band. Then they went on hiatus. Then they permanently broke up. It could have ended there, right? For so many teen idols, it absolutely does. Ten years after their 2009 heyday, though, Nick, Joe, and Kevin are back. And not in a novelty way. Not even in a nostalgic way! "Sucker," their first single since 2013, debuted at number one in April. That's relevance.
So how exactly to their hardcore fans feel about it? Over the years, you'd speculate, many would have moved on. Not the case. Nur, a Turkish stan who first became obsessed with the trio ten years ago, when she was a 15 year old high school student, has kept the candle burning. She's been running a JoBros fan Tumblr and Twitter since 2009. The reunion has made her year.
In honor of the band gracing PAPER's digital cover, we DM-d Nur to chat about JoBro fandom past and present.
PAPER: Nur, when did you first become a Jonas Brothers fan?
I became a Jonas Brothers fan when they were in their peak, in 2008. I think it was a friend who first showed them to me, but I thought I wouldn't be that interested in them because they were on Disney. Then I checked out their music on my own and I was suddenly OBSESSED.
So we’re talking Camp Rock era.
It was during the Camp Rock era, before it aired! I remember seeing their commercials on TV and I was like, "Isn't this the band my friend showed me? Wait a minute — they're actually kinda cute." Then I searched them online and came upon their Myspage page (Myspace was HUUUGE back then, RIP). I remember listening to every song they had on their playlist on Myspace. Songs like “S.O.S.” and “When You Look Me In The Eyes” were probably the first ones I listened to, but the one that got me hooked was “A Little Bit Longer.” I was a teenager back then, and I never felt so connected to a song that way. It was emotional, it was raw. The lyrics spoke to me on a very personal level. When I heard that song I thought, if they have songs like this, I need to know more about this band. I first thought they would have one or two hit pop songs, but they were so much more than what I expected.
Were you drawn to one brother in particular?
When I first saw them on TV I thought Joe was the cutest, actually! But then I looked them up and found out about Nick — he was closer to me in age, but he was so mature! I liked his voice a lot. I thought he had a very different tone than most singers, and when I found out that he was writing most of their songs at such a young age, I was blown away by his talent.
Were you a fan of any other Disney channel stars at the time — like Demi or Miley?
I wasn't a fan of any Disney stars before them. But when I started liking them I found out about Demi and became a fan of her music too. I knew about Miley (like every other person on earth, duh) but I probably watched her show and listened to her music because of them, not gonna lie.
What form did your fandom take — and how were you following them, especially from Turkey?
Yeah I actually got a Twitter account just to follow them, and I started a Tumblr just so I can share about them. This was all 10 years ago, it's wild to even think about it! And I've been in this fandom all this time. English isn't my first language, I was learning it at school and I was interested, but when I became a Jonas Brothers fan I started translating every song they had and all the articles about them just to understand them and their music better. So in a way, my favorite band helped me learn another language, which is pretty cool! Following them was so hard because I live in Turkey and in a completely different time zone. They would have live chats and I would have to stay up late or wake up at like 3 AM just to watch them. People thought I was crazy, but it was what made me happy. I still do the same whenever they're on TV or have new music out. It's not easy, but I would do anything for them.
Would you say you've maintained the same level of love over the past 10 years? It must have been hard when they broke up.
It was very hard to deal with the breakup. It was not just my favorite band, I cared a lot about them as people too. When it first happened I was in denial, but slowly I started accepting it. They really closed a chapter, and even though I loved them as a band, they made this decision and I was going to support them fully no matter what. I have a lot of respect for them. One moment they were on the top of the world as the Jonas Brothers, and next they broke up. They had to start all over again as solo artists. I supported Nick's solo career and Joe's group DNCE after they broke up. I would probably support them no matter what, but the music they put out was definitely my taste! They showed me that they're multidimensional. They can do it all. They reinvented themselves multiple times, and they succeeded! They showed me that even when things don't go as you expected, everything can change if you believe in yourself. I would say I maintained the same level of love for them over the past 10 years, if not more. Their music helped me a lot during the hardest times of my life, and they still continue to make me happy after all these years. I will always have love for them.
Why do you think they broke up?
In 2012 they left Disney's Hollywood Records and bought all their rights to their music to start as independent artists. It was probably challenging and freeing to them at first. They didn't have any time constraints from a record label. Nick was producing the whole album by himself. He had a studio built in his home and they were doing everything themselves. When their comeback singles “Pom Poms” and “First Time” came out, they didn't do that well. They didn't have the tools for better promotion without a record label, and if we must admit, as much as we liked the songs, their new music didn't have a cohesive sound. They said Nick suggested the band's breakup. I think at that time, he just didn't want to release music he wasn’t 100 percent content with, and I understand that. I feel like they tried to do too much at once and burned themselves out. During the break up they all grew into adulthood seamlessly through their music and found sounds that suit their voices the best. When they came back after the breakup, this time they knew which musical direction they would take. So maybe it was all for the best and brought them to this moment. This is my take on it, but we don't know what happened behind the scenes, so I'm very excited that we will finally learn the truth about their breakup from them when their documentary Chasing Happiness comes out!
The moment you found out about the reunion must have been amazing.
YES! The best moment of 2019! The rumors about their reunion started last year, but I was like, "No, I'm not gonna believe anything I see!" I didn't wanna be disappointed if they didn't reunite, so I was fully in denial. But when the Jonas Brothers themselves announced it, I was shocked! I was fully invested in their solo stuff, but Jonas Brothers as a band has such a special place in my heart! It's my favorite band in the world, and when they came back it felt like finally getting back my old best friend, like everything is how it's supposed to be! It's cliche but it's true.
It's kind of crazy. I feel like we've gone back in time, almost? A lot of people who were famous 10 years ago are back in a big way.
It's true! I don't know if it's 2009 or 2019 anymore, but I love it! The Jonas Brothers really started a comeback trend, I'm here for it.
You said their music has helped you through some tough times. Can you elaborate more on how the fandom has helped you in life?
I found their music when I was in high school, and it was probably during the darkest times of my life. I had severe depression, and their music became the only escape from reality for me. They became my source of happiness, and they probably saved my life in so many ways. I can never thank them enough. I look back to those times and see it even more clearly now. The Jonas fandom has been around for a long time, and it's become more like a family than a fandom at this point. I've known some of these people for years, I've talked with them, laughed with them, cried with them. I’ve made friends from all over the world thanks to them. We all made lifelong friends! We've been through a lot together and maybe that's what connects us even more. There's also new fans after Nick and Joe's solo music and now their reunion, it's so fun to see this family grow more and more!
Do you want to shout out fellow fans who stuck with the band post-break up?
Is it weird to think that some teenagers are just discovering them now, with the release of new music? How would you recommend new fans get started?
It's fascinating to me because we kind of grew up with them, but for some teenagers “Sucker" might be the first Jonas Brothers song they heard! It really depends on what kind of mood they're looking for. These days R&B influenced music is more popular than pop music, but I'm glad Jonas Brothers and some other artists are bringing it back now! It's so hard to choose favorites but for someone who's never heard the Jonas Brothers before I would recommend these songs: “Lovebug," “Burnin' Up" (Who hasn't heard it?!), “Can't Have You," “Sorry," “When You Look Me In The Eyes," “Hold On," “Pushing Me Away," “Much Better," and “Turn Right." If they're still interested after listening to these songs and want to check out their albums... A Little Bit Longer is my all time favorite, it is the perfect balance of bops, rock elements and ballads! After that, Lines Vines and Trying Times and Jonas Brothers and finally, if they're into old school punk rock: It's About Time!
They’re all married men now. How does it feel to see your teen idols all grown up?
It's emotional, ‘cause I've been following them ever since when they were so young. Now they're all building their own families. Seeing them happy and especially seeing them interact with Kevin's daughters is so heartwarming.
It's amazing that they've managed to transition so easily into being adult artists. Sometimes it's awkward to see a boy band reunite in adulthood. Are you happy for them that they've escaped their Disney image, or are you a bit nostalgic for it?
Yeah, they're one of the few who succeeded in that! Of course I'm a sucker for their old stuff, since it has a special place in my heart, but I'm glad they left the Disney image behind. Back then people always tried to make Disney their whole identity, they were prejudiced against their music. You'd be made fun of if you were a Jonas Brothers fan. Now I'm glad people can see them for what they really are: talented singers and songwriters who can play instruments and give amazing live performances. It's actually cool to be a Jonas Brothers fan this time around!
What do you want them to do next?
I just want them to have fun and enjoy everything this time around! And hopefully they will keep on releasing music as Jonas Brothers while still doing their solo stuff whenever they want to.
Will you stan them forever?
I will definitely stan them forever, being a Jonas Brothers fan is a part of who I am now! Haha.
Photo via Getty