Nick Jonas Is Back

And he's talking break-ups, strong women, and Shania Twain

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In the great tradition of ex-boy band members trying to find some solo credibility the scorecard reads: Justin Timberlake, 'job done'; everyone else, 'oh dear'.

Nick Jonas, 23, once a ringlet-haired tween who started out on the Disney channel and became a worldwide sensation as one third of the Jonas Brothers (alongside older siblings Joe, 26, and Kevin, 28), is the latest to attempt the transition. He's making all the right moves: he's honed a six-pack, his gang includes Taylor Swift and Lorde, and he's got a sexy video for his single Close.

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As he releases his new album, Last Year Was Complicated, ELLE decides it's time to take a second look at Nick Jonas.

So was last year actually complicated?

It was, for many reasons. I had a break-up [with model Olivia Culpo] that informed a lot of the writing of the record. For me, it was just about being honest with the story, and laying it out ina really vulnerable way.

So good things can come of bad break-ups?

Amazing things. As long as you're willing to go there with it, it can be powerful.

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Would you call this album a reinvention?

There's definitely been a progression. I worked really hard to push things forward and take it from where people had their first introduction to me to where things are now. It was a challenge to get people in that frame of mind, but it's been amazing to see how far it's come.

Describe Nick Jonas 2.0 in five words…

I'm driven, funny – well, I think I'm funny when I'm letting loose – charismatic. And I have a healthy dose of insecurity. We all have our insecurities; I embrace mine.

That's way more than five words. How do you handle criticism?

It depends what it's about. I invite all opinions because I think that we're all entitled to our own, but I think that ignorant ones are frustrating. Social media allows for some really ignorant people to spread their voice. It's just unfortunate.

Nick Jonas gets brutally honest

The rumour that you're a Shania Twain superfan: gossip or fact?

I loved her music growing up! And I still love it now.

Not forgetting that leopard-print suit in That Don't Impress Me Much…

Yes, that was so badass.

Talking of which, you surround yourself with some pretty influential women – Taylor, Selena, Lorde…

I think it's totally possible for men and women to be friends, and I think those relationships are important, especially with women you admire. I think that growing up with such a strong woman in my life – my mum raised four boys [so] she had to be tough – I'm now drawn to strong women, women who are really intelligent.

Are you finding that women are still as, er, 'drawn' to you as they used to be?

There's definitely less of the pandemonium that was there with the Jonas Brothers, which is good because it sort of evolves to a mature place where it's about the music.

Can you predict Nick 3.0 for us?

I'm trying my hardest to live in the moment because I do jump around so much in my thinking. I've worked so hard on this album that I'm truly enjoying it and living it in real time.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS…

Midnight last night… I was on a plane to London.

Favourite Tweeter = Kanye

Last meal… A big pizza with truffle oil. I love truffles.

On speed dial… My parents, my brothers and my manager.

Favourite TV show = It's got to be Game Of Thrones.

Emoji spirit animal… The guy with the sunglasses, with the pounding fists.