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Now grown, Jonas Brothers reunite for frothy pop romp

New album ‘Happiness Begins’ is trio’s first new material in a decade



Jonas Brothers, gay news, Washington Blade

The new Jonas Brothers’ album ‘Happiness Begins’ is a delightful return to form. (Photo courtesy Republic)

Happiness Begins” is the first Jonas Brothers album in a decade. Even so, the now-grown Disney Channel heartthrobs’ presence has remained ubiquitous — Joe Jonas’ pop-funk group DNCE dominated the charts following the release of the single “Cake By The Ocean” and Nick Jonas’ 2016 solo pop record had numerous successes, including “Champagne Problems” and “Close.” But the new album is largely a return the group’s classic sound.

The brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick, ages 31, 29 and 26 respectively, first rose to prominence after being picked up by Disney Channel. But unlike many of their fellow Disney Channel stars, the Jonas Brothers were always musicians first, actors second, setting them apart from the majority of Disney stars whose musical talents, if they may be called that, are discovered only after acting in major roles. The Jonas Brothers have always had solid chops, even if the music was geared toward adolescents.

Considering other boy bands like One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer, who owe much to the brothers, the Jonas Brothers more seamlessly transitioned away from enforced innocence to appeal to a broader audience. Joe’s innuendo-filled and delightfully fun DNCE project and Nick’s provocative Calvin Klein campaign, as well as his solo work, have opened the two up to a larger fan base, particularly among gay men in Nick’s case. He certainly gave Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes’ recent underwear campaigns some healthy competition. The new album is very much caught it in the middle of these various worlds and feels like something of a compromise between them: boyishness, sexual innuendo, pop, funk, pop punk and a lighthearted attitude.

The lead single “Sucker,” which opens the album, is a catchy pop-rock track that makes much use of Nick’s signature whiny falsetto. And it is more a remodel than new construction. It would be equally at home on the group’s 2009 album “Lines, Vines and Trying Times.” The song debuted at no. 1 on Billboard, fueled more by nostalgia than innovation. 

The single “Cool,” which follows “Sucker,” largely falls much into the same camp, a good tune that adds little new. Both singles seem to reflect a strategy to appeal to the group’s traditional fanbase. The album is somewhat frontloaded with songs that remind us who the Jonas Brothers were. But one can’t help but wonder what else the group is capable of. Fortunately, the album is quick to answer.

“I Believe” marks a turn in a more interesting direction on the album. The synth-heavy, harmonically dynamic track is a fantastic example of the group’s new direction. It is an impeccably good pop song and one you won’t regret leaving on repeat. To be sure, the apex of the album.

“Every Single Time” is another synth-heavy, up-tempo track that is on the slightly more innovative side. “Used To Be,” a more generically pop song, and “Don’t Throw it Away” seem to be the bridge between the more traditional sound of “Cool” and “Sucker” and the more up-to-date tracks like “I Believe.” And most of the album works to find a balance between the old and new of the Jonas Brothers. It’s a first foray into new territory that leads longtime fans by the hand. In that respect, the album is a big success, and bodes well for the brothers’ musical future.

Toward the tail end of the album comes “Rollercoaster,” another fast-paced anthem designed, no doubt, with DJs and dance clubs in mind. And while the song is decidedly contemporary in its feel, it’s hard not to read the lyrics as a metaphor for their music career: “It was fun when we were young and now we’re older/Those days when we were broke in California/We were up and down and barely made it over/But I’d go back and ride that roller coaster.” 

On the album cover, the three brothers are sprawled out, backs to the camera in front of pool as they stare out over the California desert: Happiness Begins. It is not just that the Jonas Brothers are back — they’re already looking forward to what comes next.


Music & Concerts

Gay country artist and brother win big at CMA Awards

Brothers Osborne grew up in Deale, Md.



John and T.J. Osborne at the 57th Annual Country Music Awards in Nashville on Nov. 8 2023. (Photo courtesy of the Brothers Osborne/CMA)

The biggest names in country music gathered Wednesday at Music City’s Bridgestone Arena for the 57th Annual Country Music Association Awards, hosted again this year by country star Luke Bryan alongside former NFL star Peyton Manning. 

Walking away with Vocal Duo of the Year were sibling musicians John and T.J. Osborne.

The Brothers Osborne as they are known by, in previous years have won in this category, this year making it their sixth win.

T.J. Osborne, lead singer of the country duo, came out as gay in an exclusive interview with Time Magazine, which was published Feb. 3, 2021.

While other ostensibly country artists are openly LGBTQ, such as Orville Peck, Brandi Carlile, Lil Nas X, Chely Wright and Billy Gilman, Osborne’s revelation makes him the first — and so far, only — openly gay musical artist signed to a major country label.

John and T.J. Osborne grew up in the small Chesapeake Bay bayside town of Deale in Anne Arundel County, Md., writing and playing songs for friends and family in their father’s shed. T.J. with his brother John formed the Brothers Osborne duo in 2012. Signed with EMI Records Nashville, they’ve released seven country Top 40 singles and three studio albums, to date. Their platinum hit “Stay a Little Longer” was a crossover to mainstream radio.

The siblings took home their first Grammy in 2022, winning Best Country Duo/Group Performance for their song “Younger Me,” inspired by T.J.’s coming out. The band has been nominated for 10 Grammys in total, standing as a now six-time CMA Vocal Duo of the Year, and are three-time ACM Duo of the Year. 

Overall, they have collected six CMA awards, six ACM trophies and received the ASCAP Vanguard Award in 2019. Their critically acclaimed hit songs have tallied multiple RIAA Gold and Platinum certifications, while surpassing more than 2.5 billion global streams. 

In addition to the Brothers Osborne winning Vocal Duo of the Year, country singer-songwriter Lainey Wilson took home three of the top awards of the night, including the coveted entertainer of the year award, as well as female vocalist of the year and album of the year. 

This is also the first time in CMA history that two women have been nominated for Entertainer of the Year in four consecutive years.

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Music & Concerts

Janet Jackson to headline World AIDS Day concert

Annual fundraiser sponsored by AIDS Healthcare Foundation



Janet Jackson will headline a World AIDS Day concert in Houston.

Pop icon Janet Jackson will headline the annual World AIDS Day concert sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Houston.

The Dec. 1 event at NRG Arena will feature a full-length concert from Jackson. In addition, AHF will honor actor and activist Blair Underwood with its lifetime achievement award; choreographer Debbie Allen is slated to speak at the event.

Jackson is a longtime LGBTQ ally and AIDS activist. Her eighth No. 1 single, “Together Again,” released in 1997, paid tribute to a friend who died of AIDS and honored those lost to the disease.

Underwood co-founded Artists for a New South Africa to direct attention to “the catastrophic impact the disease has had on families and children across the continent,” according to Billboard. The actor has worked with AHF for years. The Underwood Center in D.C. provides state-of-the-art HIV medical treatment and care and related services for more than 600 patients at its offices at 2141 K St., N.W. 

“I’m so honored to be receiving this gracious award by AHF,” said Underwood in a statement. “We have had a long-standing partnership in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and there is still more work to be done.”

AHF is the world’s largest nonprofit HIV/AIDS service organization and AIDS advocacy group, with healthcare centers located throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Proceeds from the concert will be used to combat HIV/AIDS. Tickets are on sale now via TicketMaster.

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Music & Concerts

New dance single pays tribute to Town Danceboutique

Local musicians pen ‘Town’ in honor of shuttered club



Bryce Bowyn (Photo by Clarissa Villondo)

The closing of the LGBTQ nightclub Town Danceboutique in the summer of 2017 was heartbreaking to local musician Bryce Bowyn. He and his Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter friend Lexie Martin decided to honor its legacy in their new single, “Town.”

For Bowyn, who moved to the District about a decade ago to attend school at American University, the memories he has from Town Danceboutique are endless. And when it closed, it was a massive loss to Bowyn and many others. 

“It was such a cool space,” Bowyn said. “It was just disappointing to see a place that brought so many people together become part of the landscape again.” The building Town Danceboutique used to be housed in is now home to upscale apartments and a CVS. 

Town Danceboutique was a formative place for Bowyn and Martin, and it was Bowyn’s first experience in an open and accepting LGBTQ environment. His favorite memories at the club were always on Halloween, he said. Patrons, including Bowyn, would go all out with their costumes to look their very best. 

Bowyn and Martin met while they were both in the musical theater program at American University. Despite their years-long friendship, “Town” is the first song they have written together. They sat down over FaceTime and got to work. It was Martin’s idea to pay homage to Town Danceboutique, and the song follows the story of pre-gaming, going out, and hitting the dance floor. 

But the single also serves as a hype song for going out in any city, at any place. 

“It was important to me for the song to remain relatable and accessible,” Bowyn said. “So the whole foundation of the chorus, ‘Let’s go to town,’ can either mean Town Danceboutique, or painting the town red and having the night of your life.”

Bowyn started writing and producing his own music in 2018. He released an EP titled “A Rosy Retrospect” in 2022, and most recently released a single “A Bridge Burned Down” in June. His music is inspired by late 2000s pop and ‘80s synthpop, influenced by stars like Madonna and Charli XCX. Lexie Martin released her self-titled EP in 2019 and most recently came out with her single “SUPERPOWER” in 2021. 

Bowyn has been a lifelong pop music enthusiast. He distinctly remembers watching Britney Spears perform “Oops!…I Did It Again” at the MTV Video Music Awards when he was a kid and thinking “That was what I wanted and what I was set to do in life.”

“My heart was always with pop music,” Bowyn said. 

“Town” is available now for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.

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