Ferdinand: Interview with Nick Jonas

Inspiration for Song?

Nick Jonas: I talked to my team about wanting to write an original song for a film for a long time.  My process when I write is usually that life inspires something or that I sit down in a room and write by myself and create a song.  But for this situation, I was given a guideline for what they wanted for the film, a very different process, and one that I was very excited about.  Until I attempted to do it and the first couple of tries I felt that I didn’t get it right.  I was really being hard on myself and I wanted to deliver for Carlos and the team. And after a couple of tries, I went to Justin Tranter, who was my collaborator on this and Nick Munton, and we wrote this song.

 

Meaning?

NJ: The song came out about what home meant to each of us.  For me, is a lot of things, and I think at the core it is family and it’s the strength I felt for them over the many years of performing and traveling and today for instance, I was in Montreal this morning wrapping on set last night on the film that I am doing up there at the moment, flew here today and a full day of Press and then a music video shoot. But before I started here, I Face Timed with my brother just to get a little piece of mind and it’s helpful to have that support system. When I was writing the song, I had seen some clips from the film, enough to sort of get a gauge on what approach I wanted to take.  And I am thrilled I got a chance to do it and I hope this song serves as a message of positivity and strength to people that may feel like an outsider and get to share whatever home is for them.

 

Songs in Films?

NJ: I love songs in film and until I started writing music, I never really thought about the process of going into a room and writing a song specifically for something, because it is very different than sitting down and writing a song normally.  Looking at someone like Alan Menken is a prime example of a truly brilliant creator of songs for film, capturing both the emotions of the characters and the storytelling and what needs to happen to get to the next plotline, whatever it is and his work has been really something.  Bacharach is someone whose work is really inspiring to me and I think between those two, there are some incredible music in films and in a different sense I think also John Williams is someone that I have looked up to for a long time and a couple of others.

 

Process of Creating Song?

NJ: They showed me clips from the movie.  And I think it was the visuals as a whole and this may sound kind of strange, but just the sweeping shots as well gave me a sense that the song needed to have a momentum to it and it needed to have a chorus that felt like it was soaring.  And then the concept too, the moment that the song in the film is the beautiful part of the story where he grows up from being a little bull to a big bull and he is at home with them and he has this sort of triumphant look over the land.  It felt like the perfect feeling for that.  And I sort of wrestled with whether it would be uptempo or feel like a straightforward, happy dance song or if it should have elements of heart and I sort of sided with that.

 

Conceptions and Misconceptions

NJ: I hear people say all the time, wow, you are so much shorter in person.  But beyond that, I think it’s a beautiful message in this story and one that rings true to me for many reasons and I think that the minute that my brothers and I finished our journey together with the music, there was a real period of self-doubt for me, where I questioned what my next steps would be if people would take a chance on someone that was part of a boy band with his brothers and someone that hadn’t seen a lot of success in the last couple of years, but thankfully that served as kind of a launching pad for me to get inspired to work harder and to push myself.  Certainly, for the young people that see this film, they may look upon this the same way, that I might not come from the same part of the world as Ferdinand and those world views or the person living next door to them. But if we can all be accepting and loving and find a way to see the good in all people, it would be a more beautiful world to live in.

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