The singer has said his forthcoming album, Last Year Was Complicated, was inspired by a split, and his heartache may lend itself to hits.
"I mean, it's always difficult to open yourself up that way, but it's important to get vulnerable," Jonas, 23, told PEOPLE Tuesday at Live Nation's National Concert Day event at Irving Plaza in New York.
The former JoBro realized going into the studio that tapping into his emotions could make for more meaningful music, and he cites some powerhouse peers who've done just that as recent inspiration.
"Right now, at this moment, Beyoncé and Drake and all these artists are really embracing vulnerability; it makes a huge difference," he says. "I'm working my hardest to lay out my stories and my music and connect with my fans – and my own self – in that way."
Songs like Tove Lo duet "Close" and new banger "Champagne Problems" have sparked speculation that ex Olivia Culpo was the inspiration. (The couple split last June.)
And while his music is reflective, reports suggest Jonas is looking forward in his personal life. He and Kate Hudson fueled more whispers that they're dating when they grabbed dinner in New York on Sunday night, then Monday night, both stepped out, separately, at the Met Gala and after parties. (Neither has ever confirmed the rumored relationship, and in February, Hudson, 37, told PEOPLE she's "very much enjoying being single.")
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The one-time Disney star is on double duty: He'll release Last Year Was Complicated on June 10, just one week before he kicks off his and longtime pal Demi Lovato's joint Future Now tour.
"I think that the thing that makes touring with Demi so exciting is: We're friends, obviously, but also our partnership with the record label we started and the ability to build a night of music and have it not feel like a festival lineup but a full show, with intertwined sets that'll keep it interesting for us and the fans."