Haley Lu Richardson can’t wait to see the Jonas Brothers again. “I’m so excited, have I mentioned that?” she asks Billboard over the phone.
The White Lotus standout is set to serve as Today‘s first-ever special correspondent for the JoBros’ concert on Friday — a surprise announcement she made early Thursday (May 11) on the morning talk show.
Not only will Nick, Kevin and Joe Jonas’ takeover of New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza officially kick off Today‘s 2023 Citi Concert Series, it will also mark the official release of their new studio set The Album — the promo for which started back in late February with lead single “Wings.”
After finding out Richardson was a certified superfan courtesy of her viral interview on The Late Late Show With James Corden (where Nick surprised her via FaceTime), the brothers enlisted the actress to star in the Las Vegas-based music video for “Wings” along with her real-life friends.
Since then, she’s been on hand for The Album FlyOver Experience in Las Vegas, but stepping in front of the camera for Today on behalf of Jonatics everywhere is a whole new kind of role for the 28-year-old. “I was actually freaking out all day yesterday,” she admits. “Like, I was actually starting to get some genuine anxiety and I was like, ‘Where’s this anxiety coming from?’ And then about halfway through the day I realized, ‘Oh yeah, ’cause I’m going to New York to meet the Jonas Brothers again.’ So I’ve been honestly really excited and really nervous about it.”
Read the rest of Richardson’s exclusive chat with Billboard, including the songs she wants to hear on the Today stage, how she’d cast each JoBro in The White Lotus and more, below.
Hi Haley! I’m basically the Haley Lu Richardson of the Billboard office, when it comes to the Jonas Brothers, so I’m obviously excited to talk with you about them.
[Laughs] That’s great. I love that I can represent that kind of person.
Absolutely. So you were in the “Wings” video, and now you’re a Today correspondent for their concert…
Well, I don’t even exactly know what this… Today show correspondent, you called it? I don’t exactly know everything that that’s gonna entail. ‘Cause I’m pretty sure I’m just gonna be freaking out the whole time.
What’s it been like to be a part of The Album‘s promo cycle in multiple ways now?
[Pauses] Do you think I’m really a part of it?
You’re in the video!
I am in the video. I mean, I guess it still just feels kind of unreal? I’ve watched that music video, I think it has like five-something-million views, and I’m probably like two million of them. [laughs] Whenever I’m just sad or down on myself or in a funk, all I have to do is really watch that to feel better about my life and myself and my whole journey. So honestly, it’s kind of just the best thing ever. I can’t really believe it, still.
Do you have a favorite memory from the “Wings” shoot?
There was this time where I was blindfolded with the tie I made for Nick when I was, like, 12, and my friends were spinning me around to kiss the cardboard cutout of Nick. And then while I was blindfolded, I heard my friend talking to someone, and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s a different tone of voice and inflection than she’s used all day, it’s, like, much more excited.’ But I didn’t really think much of it. And then it turns out that Nick. Jonas. was just, like, in the hallway. [laughs] I took my blindfold off and Nick was standing there! That was extremely overwhelming. Also, Kevin is just the nicest human in the entire world, and the suite that we were filming in was his suite. We were all getting dressed and, like, we would rest between takes in Kevin’s bedroom. So that was cool, yeah, that was neat. That was fun.
So I assume you’ve heard The Album.
Yeah, there was this Vegas Flyover Experience that they did, and the songs from their album are the songs on the ride. It’s kinda like Soarin’ Over California in California Adventure, but it’s in Vegas. But the songs when you’re soaring over Vegas and the West Coast and stuff, is The Album songs. So I heard it once, then. And it was so emotional, I was literally crying the whole time. It’s a very emotional album. I feel like it’s very personal and moving.
Which of the band’s old songs are you hoping they’ll play at their Today show?
Wow, umm…obviously “Lovebug.” Well, I’ve always wanted them to sing “Hello Beautiful” and Nick to look me in the eyes. And also “When You Look Me in the Eyes,” I wanted Nick to look me in the eyes. Which I actually think, I don’t know if I’m delusional or if it actually happened, but when I was at their Vegas show, I swear they knew where me and my friends were standing. They must’ve ’cause I was pretty close and I was being very loud. And I apologized to everyone that was around me, except everyone that was around me was all singing pretty loud. I guess that’s what you do at a concert. But anyways, I could’ve sworn that when they were playing “When You Look Me in the Eyes,” Nick looked at me. I could’ve sworn. But you know, I think I might be delusional.
That’s every Jonas Brothers fan’s dream come true.
It’s what you always want ’cause I’ve been to so many concerts —I’ve been to like 15 concerts at least, now, of the Jonas Brothers throughout my life. So I feel like every time I’ve gone, that’s what I’ve wanted during that song. And it’s never happened, you know, ’cause I’ve been up in, like, the nosebleed seats. Is that what they’re called? You know, I’ve never had great seats at a Jonas Brothers concert up until this Vegas show. And I just could’ve sworn he looked at me and we locked eyes.
Well, and now you do know them.
Well…yeah I guess you could say that. [laughs]
What are you most nervous about hosting the Today concert?
Well I’m just extremely, again, nervous to be around them. Like, I just don’t know how I’m gonna function, I don’t know what the Today people are expecting of me. But I’m not gonna be able to really…I want to be friends with them. I do have to be able to be grounded and somewhat functional around them.
And you do have to introduce them and maybe ask them questions.
I do?? Oh my god! No one told me that! I think they probably know that I’m just gonna freak out if they tell me I have to do something like that. Oh god! Oh no! Wish me luck. Oh man, I’m already…my shoulders are in my ears, I’m freakin’ out.
So I have to ask, which brother do you think could’ve played a role on The White Lotus with you?
Oh wow…You know what, they’re all so talented and they’re all funny. I think that Nick could’ve made an amazing Cameron. Isn’t that Theo’s character? ‘Cause he can do that cool attitude thing. And, you know, he wears fancy sunglasses and stuff like that. I could just see it. I feel like Joe could’ve been a good Albie. Or Joe could’ve been a good Jack. Kevin, honestly, he’s just the nicest thing, I don’t know if he could play any of these awful people because he’s just so good. He was so kind to me when I met them. Like, honestly, gave me way more time than he needed to.
Sorry, does that mean that you think Nick and Joe are awful people?
No! Please don’t ever think that. They were all so kind. But Nick has this kind of, like, very…what’s the word? He’s just so cool, you know? And Joe is so, like…But Nick is so charming! And Joe! They’re all so grounded and kind and generous. Oh my god, no, I think they’re all great. Maybe Kevin could’ve been Ethan! Yeah, how ’bout that for an alternate universe?