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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: July 5, 2016

Two former child stars and long-time friends, pop singers Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato, perform together in Portland on Saturday

Written by: Ray Routhier
Pop stars and friends Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato will perform at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland Saturday. The pair are co-headlining on their "Future Now" Tour, which began in late June. Image courtesy of 42 West

Pop stars and friends Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato will perform at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland Saturday. The pair are co-headlining on their “Future Now” Tour, which began in late June. Image courtesy of 42 West

The teaming of pop stars Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato for a concert tour is not just about tapping into the millions of fans who buy their singles, who watched them grow up on the Disney Channel, who read about them on celebrity web sites.

Well, for the promoters it is.

But it’s also about two friends who’ve known each other since they were teen-aged stars and who share the unique experience of growing up as celebrities in the internet age.

“It’s great to have a friend like her, who gets the world you’re in at the moment, because she’s in it, too,” Jonas said last week from Atlanta. “We’ve been on Disney together, we were in classes together, and we’ve written songs together. The tour is the icing on a cake.”

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 29: (Exclusive Coverage) Nick Jonas performs onstage during the kick off of the 2016 Honda Civic Tour: Future Now at Philips Arena on June 29, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Philly Mack

ATLANTA, GA – JUNE 29: (Exclusive Coverage) Nick Jonas performs onstage during the kick off of the 2016 Honda Civic Tour: Future Now at Philips Arena on June 29, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Philly Mack

Jonas and Lovato, both now 23, will perform Saturday at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland when their “Future Now Tour” comes to Maine. The 42-city tour started in June in Atlanta. Since both Jonas and Lovato have each had several Top 40 hits, they are co-headlining. Sing-songwriter Mike Posner is the opener. Jonas said he and Lovato will perform together for about 15 minutes of the two-hour show, and each will do their own set.

Lovato has more than a dozen singles that have made the Billboard singles chart in the past few years, including “Cool For the Summer” last year. Jonas has had fewer hits as a solo artist, but his soulful ballad “Close” is currently climbing the charts.

Speaking before the first show of the tour, Jonas said he didn’t want to give anything away, except to say that it would be “two hours of continuous music” and “visually stunning.”

Several guest artists popped up at the tour’s first show on June 29 in Atlanta. Rapper Rich Homie Quan and hip hop trio Migos opened the show. Another rapper, T.I., performed “Live Your Life” with Lovato and “Whatever You Like” with Jonas.

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 29: (Exclusive Coverage) Demi Lovato performs onstage during the kick off of the 2016 Honda Civic Tour: Future Now at at Philips Arena on June 29, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Philly Mack

ATLANTA, GA – JUNE 29: (Exclusive Coverage) Demi Lovato performs onstage during the kick off of the 2016 Honda Civic Tour: Future Now at at Philips Arena on June 29, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Philly Mack

Both Jonas and Lovato began in show business at the age when most kids are trying to learn to read. Lovato was a child actress on the kids’ show “Barney & Friends” with everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur. Jonas was discovered when he was about 6. He was overheard singing in a hair salon while waiting for his mother and soon had a manager. A year later, he was on Broadway and over the next several years performed in “A Christmas Carol,” “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Beauty and The Beast.”

By the time he was 13, he and his two brothers, Joe and Kevin, had formed a singing group. Their first album, “It’s About Time,” came out in 2006.

The Jonas Brothers were a sensation among teen girls. They had their own reality show on the Disney Channel and starred in the Disney Channel movie “Camp Rock.” Lovato was also in “Camp Rock,” and she and Jonas were in classes together, with a tutor, during long days on the set.

“I think we had to be in school four hours a day on top of eight or nine hours of filming,” said Jonas. “We had a great time together, we have the same sense of humor and we’ve helped each other with all kinds of drama.”

Though several Disney stars of the past decade have been romantically linked to each other, Jonas and Lovato have not. During a segment of “Carpool Karaoke” the pair recently told CBS “Late Late Show” host James Corden they’ve never dated. Lovato did date Jonas’ brother, Joe, at one point. Nick Jonas has been linked to multiple women in celebrity news reports, from actress Kate Hudson to model Kendall Jenner.

After being on Broadway, Jonas had tried to record songs as a solo act. But studio executives liked the sound of his brothers with him. By 2013 the brothers had split, as a group, and Nick began solo projects.

He says that going solo has made him more confident. He’s also done more acting in the past few years, in the DIRECTV series “Kingdom” and in the Fox horror-comedy series “Scream Queens.” He says acting has helped him hone his craft as a “storyteller” when it comes to song-writing.

After he says this, Jonas acknowledges that some of his songs sound like “up-tempo party jams” but even in those, he says, there’s an art to conveying a message and a mood.

While Jonas writes songs, “Close” was written by others, including songwriter Julia Michaels. Jonas said he had been talking to Michaels about “a situation I was going through” and how he wanted to write a song about it. But a few days later Michaels called him and said she had written the song and hoped he didn’t mind.

The song has a slow tempo and steel drums to give it a lighter feel. The lyrics are about being afraid to get too close to someone and how asking for “space” in a relationship could be a cop out.

Jonas said he recently saw Billy Joel in concert and was “blown away” by his song-writing skill. He called it the best show he’s ever seen.

“I think in a great pop song, it’s about saying as much as you can while keeping it simple,” said Jonas. “It should almost be familiar as soon as you hear it.”


Nick Jonas and Demi Lovatto at Cross Insurance Arena

IF YOU GO:
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Cross Insurance Arena, 1 Civic Center Square, Portland
HOW MUCH: $49.75 to $79.75
INFO: Waterfrontconcerts.com

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