Tween scene: Jonas-mania
Danville kids a-gaga over cool young singers
Exploits of the DeRita family of Danville strike envy into young hearts: Teens Stephani, Brittani and little brother Jarid have attended eight Jonas Brothers concerts - plus have had the good luck to meet the stars on three occasions.
"How was it?"
Not an uncommon question for the DeRita family.
The Jonas Brothers - Nick, Joe and Kevin - are the current rock 'n' roll sensation captivating the tween scene. From movies to music, to billboards and Broadway, the brothers have touched every aspect of the entertainment industry.
"From the first time we met them to the last they have acted the same, because when we first met them it was at the beginning of what people our now calling 'Jonasmania,'" the Danville kids said.
So, DeRita family, it must be impossible to score those gleaming backstage passes allowing access to holy Jonas territory - how do you do it? And please, lend us not-so-fortunate outsiders some insight into Jonas life.
"They're really nice, and they gave us hugs and shook our hands," said a modest Steffani DeRita, 15.
The Jonas trio began as small specs on Burger King, Clorox and Lego commercials until youngest brother, Nick, hit it big on Broadway at age 6. The solo act for Nick was short-lived when the brothers realized the power of three sounded much better.
The trio opened for Kelly Clarkson and the Cheetah Girls and soon after, in the year 2006, recorded its first album, "It's About Time." When the album flopped, Columbia records dropped the boys.
"When we first saw them last July, 2007, they were nothing yet, they were slowly moving up," said Brittani DeRita, 17, recalling their performance at the Fairgounds in Pleasanton. "It was just a free show, but I was like, wow, I really like these guys!"
Then one year ago, Jonas luck changed and Disney-owned Hollywood records signed the trio, catapulting the cute singers to fame. In August of '07 "Jonas Brothers," the album, went platinum. The Jonas Brothers became the youngest-ever act to sign with concert presenter Live Nation. They have been on the cover of Rolling Stone, on Oprah, Leno, and Regis and Kelly.
Girls love them because they're cute. The brothers have stirred the hopes of Disney-influenced young women, who dream of enchantment. The Jonas Brothers are their Prince Charmings.
"Joe is my favorite just because he is close to my own age, and he's cute, and he seems really funny," said Brittani.
"Joe is my favorite, but I really like them all," agreed Steffani.
How could someone not like them all? With dark brown hair, bright brown eyes, and a style all their own consisting of tight pants, flashy, fitted suits and pointy-toed shoes, the brothers are definitely "Burning Up," the title of their new song.
The Jonas Brothers Burning Up Tour is going on now and the boys are sweeping the nation with their sound. It certainly is hot and "they always have energy, they keep the crowd pumped up and we're always on our feet - they're amazing," said Brittani.
So, the DeRitas' addiction to Jonas music, which began at the Alameda County Fair, continues today. Back then it was easy to see the not-so-famous threesome, but now, how do they continue their meetings with the nationwide stars?
For one event they had meet and greet passes and front row press seats they received from a friend of their father's. What about all the other times the DeRita family met up with the famous brothers?
"It started with MySpace," recalled Steffani. "My sister and I would check for show dates (on the Jonas Brothers fan site) and buy them. Then my mom called a radio station to see if we could somehow buy tickets to meet them. They said if we got there early enough that maybe we could catch a glimpse of them."
Turns out, some of the meet and greeters didn't show up, so the DeRitas got to take their places. That's one way to meet a celebrity; got anymore tricks?
"Well, another time, we heard they were playing a small show at the Verizon center (in Sacramento) and if you went early enough (like at 6 a.m.) they were holding contests and if you won you would get to meet them. My mom and brother won a dance contest!" claimed Steffani.
"We enter every possible contest out there to meet them and there are a lot out there," said the sisters, via e-mail. "They love to meet their fans and they always take their time."
What began as a simple free concert at the fair grew to a national sensation. The Jonas Brothers have swept the nation and are stealing the hearts of young teens everywhere. And the DeRita family has certainly proven its devotion to Jonas talent.