If you’ve been on social media, the up-tempo bop “Waffle House” most likely rings a bell. The smash single by the Jonas Brothers was never meant to go viral. In fact, esteemed songwriter-producer Jon Bellion thought the track was initially a joke. The sibling trio tapped Bellion to help cultivate their most mature record to date, The Album. Their sixth studio LP was released on May 12 via Republic Records.
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Bellion, who has worked closely with hitmakers such as Eminem, Jason Derulo, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and more, had a significant hand in cultivating the 12-song tracklist.
The Jonas Brothers reached out to Bellion in the wee hours of the morning, to get his thoughts on the inspiration behind “Waffle House.” Bellion told Billboard in an exclusive Q&A that he wasn’t on board initially.
“I got a text message one day at 1:00 a.m. in the group chat between me, Joe, Nick, and Kevin. Joe says, ‘Waffle House. How do you feel about it?” And he goes, “A song about us as brothers. We’d go to Waffle House, and we get into fights, but it’s where we’d figure stuff out. It was the only place we could go under age because we couldn’t go to bars. What do you think for that as a song?’” recalled the hitmaker. “I thought he was joking, so I wrote “LOL.” He writes back, “I’m dead serious.” Of course, I work for them, so I’m immediately like, “That’s the best idea I’ve ever heard in my life.”
The Album serves as his first project with the award-winning band. Similar to his feelings about “Waffle House,” he hesitated to join forces with the Jonas Brothers. He explained that he wasn’t well-versed in their discography and strongly believed he wasn’t the right fit, but the men were a “Sucker” for his work.
“One day, I got a phone call from the Jonas Brothers’ A&R, and he said, ‘I really think you guys are supposed to do this album together.’ At first, I was like, ‘I’m not perfectly well-versed in the Jonas Brothers’ discography where I could reference B-sides from four albums ago, so maybe I’m not the guy for the job,’” Bellion told the outlet. “He was like, ‘No, that’s why you’re the guy for the job. They’re looking for a new direction.’ They wanted to start being a bit more polarizing and making music that people are talking about while still connecting to their roots and feeling good.”
Despite his wishy-washy feelings, the collection became an instant success. The project debuted at No. 3 on Billboard’s 200 chart and quickly surpassed 20.5 million on–demand streams. “Waffle House” peaked at No.57 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list, No.18 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and more. Bellion said he was pleasantly surprised by the fan reaction.
“It was amazing once it went No. 1 on the Top Albums Sales chart and seeing the amount of people who were like, ‘Wow, I’m a new Jonas Brothers fan.’ Their regular fans were like, ‘I think I’m in love with this album top to bottom,’” he said. “It became this feel-good playlist all the way through, and people started to embrace it. It was such a relief for me and also such a blessing. It became this feel-good playlist all the way through, and people started to embrace it. It was such a relief for me and also such a blessing.”
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