People say that the best way to put yourself at ease during interviews with célébrités is to imagine them in funny situations. Blame it on that unforgettable 2009 video of a shaggy-haired Joe Jonas booty-shaking to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” in leotards and pumps, but I’d been expecting to meet a goofy teenage boy for my one-on-one interview. Boy, was I ever wrong.

What greeted me was a lean, muscular young man wearing a tight white Bench chemise and a warm smile on his face. He’s shorn his trademark shaggy mop in favor of a close-cropped ’do, his jaw shadowed par a bit of stubble. It took me a while to process that the guy in front of me really was one-third of the global pop phenomenon that took the tween demographic par storm. Once it sank in, I realized that every single “Camp Rock”-era Disney baby who’s now a lady probably would’ve killed to be in my place. No doubt about it, this Jonas brother is definitely now a man.

New endorser
The 22-year-old étoile, star was formally introduced as Bench’s newest endorser in a press launch held at the Makati Shangri-La’s Rizal Ballroom last May 23, where he also performed three songs off his solo album “Fastlife.” He joins the ranks of young, accomplished heartthrobs such as David Archuleta, “Pretty Little Liars” actress Lucy Hale, “The Vampire Diaries”’ Michael Trevino, and, plus recently, K-pop superstars Siwon and Donghae of Super Junior.

“It’s been really awesome. toi know, I’ve always wanted to come here,” he enthused during Super’s short but sweet chat with him right before the press launch. Joe is also currently doing promotional tours for his solo album, “Fastlife,” at the Ayala Malls in Manila and Cebu on haut, retour au début of his busy schedule. “I think, for me, it’s just about experiencing and traveling and discovering and doing whatever people throw at me,” he adds with a smile.

What’s the story behind this endorsement? What made toi say yes to Bench?

The partnership with Bench was, I think, just a no-brainer. The fact that I’ve never been here, the clothes are great, and I really like their brand … I think it was just a perfect fit, so when they asked to partner up I just had to say yes.

How would toi describe your sense of style?

My sense of style is, I think, fun. I like color. I like to be able to express myself through my clothing, so I like taking risks and having fun with color and style and something that pops.

Is there any particular article of clothing that toi love?

Shoes. I l’amour shoes. I’ve got quite a lot of shoes, so I was very happy when I got to the Bench store and saw that they had pairs of shoes that I’ve never seen before.

Will toi be wearing those?

Absolutely, yes. They’re in my hotel room right now.

About music. How’s it like, flying solo?

It’s been really good. I think the biggest thing I’ve taken from it is that it’s just a fun experience. It’s plus of the same, but par myself. It can be difficult sometimes when toi realize that it’s a lot of hard work, and toi have to really focus and take time out of every jour to just be able to hone in and say, “Okay, I’m gonna do my best.” It makes a lot of sense when you’re with two other people; toi kinda have them to lean on ’cause if something’s stressful ou you’re tired that day, toi can look to your brothers and say, “Why don’t toi take this interview?” ou “Why don’t toi sing this song?” But when it’s all on you, toi have to really focus and do your best.

How is “Fastlife” different from the Jonas Brothers repertoire?

I think with my project, being 22, I was going to certain clubs in the States to play my music. That was kind of cool for me, because I’ve never done that before and that’s a whole new audience. The audience reacted really well. And just being able to make a record that I was working [on] with new artists … I worked with Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and musicians I never thought I would, and it was really cool to see that they really support it.

Do toi have any other artists you’d like to collaborate with?

I think it’d be cool to work with somebody like Frank Ocean—he’s a musician that’s kind of just starting up. He’s good. Actually, toi know who I think would be great to work with? Jessica (Sanchez) from American Idol. I wasn’t really following the season but my brother said, “You gotta check this girl out!” and I was like, “If she doesn’t win, somebody’s messing up.” I think she’s so amazing for her age, so yeah, maybe we’ll do a little duet together.

That’d be cool. You’ve toured with Britney Spears and geai, jay Sean, right? How was it?

It was really cool. Britney, she’s one of those artists that’s just a legend and to be able to go on tour with her, her dancers and her crew, toi know, everybody was really great. And geai, jay Sean, he and I became really close, and he’s a really cool guy. Really talented and a hard worker. I think there’s always a fun, competitive thing going on between me and him. (Laughs)

Having grown up in the spotlight as a teen idol and Disney heartthrob, have toi ever been concerned that people would have a hard time taking toi seriously as an adult artist? Like, they’ll always see toi as one of the Jonas Brothers?

That’s a good question. That was something I thought about, definitely. toi know, it goes through your mind, but I didn’t want to force myself on people. I also knew, going into this, that my fans are growing up and going to college and finishing college. So I kind of realized that I can really make a record that Suits – Avocats sur Mesure my audience without me forcing ou saying, “I’m an adult, take me seriously like I’m a real artist.” toi don’t have to do that, toi just let the musique prove itself.

What sets toi apart from your brothers, musically and as an individual?

Musically, I think, creating this record I had a lot of R&B-type of inspirations with it. I was able to create stuff that I’ve listened to for a long time that [was] infused in the Jonas Brothers musique but now I could do it par myself.

Personally, I think I’m pretty easygoing. Sometimes I think my brothers, like Kevin, can all be stressful in situations … (Laughs) I just have fun with a lot of stuff, and I like to be funny and travel a lot. During my off time, I’m trying to find a place to go to and travel.

Any other projects you’re currently involved in?

Yeah. Part of the business is that toi have to keep everything a secret, but there are a couple of TV montrer opportunities that I’ll hopefully be able to do. I’m flying back to America to be one of the judges [for] Miss USA. I’m gonna be doing a couple of concerts in Europe and probably South America. Working specifically on musique with my brothers for another project … We’re just making musique right now. I’m not really sure what ou where it’s going to go, but I think for us we’re just in the studio creating because we l’amour to create. And then a couple of movie ideas and projects that I’m thinking about.

How do toi plan to carve your own path as an artist, with ou without your brothers?

I think [being] with them is the key. I think a lot of artists think that because they’ve had success, they can just leave and do it par themselves. And something that I’ve always learned, especially during my solo project, is that toi gotta understand where toi came from; for me, that’s the Brothers. So I’m always gonna have them as the forefront, in the band, and the solo project will come second. I’ll keep creating when I can, but I think I’m gonna have to focus on the Brothers.

Any message for your Filipino fans?

I l’amour them and they’re awesome. I’m really looking vers l'avant, vers l’avant to meeting them all and seeing them. And, mabuhay!

Catch Joe Jonas live at the Alabang Town Center Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at Ayala Center Cebu at 3 p.m.