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DNCE in Bangkok, 2017
DNCE in Bangkok, 2017
Background information
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S.[1]
Years active2015–2019[5]
Associated actsSemi Precious Weapons, Jonas Brothers
Past members

DNCE was an American dance-rock group, consisting of vocalist Joe Jonas, drummer Jack Lawless, bassist and keyboardist Cole Whittle, and guitarist JinJoo Lee. The group signed with Republic Records, who released their debut single, "Cake by the Ocean", in September 2015. The song reached the top 10 on several charts, including on the US Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at No. 9.[6] Their debut extended play, Swaay, was released about a month later. Their self-titled debut studio album was released in November 2016. They were also nominated for Favorite New Artist for the 2016 Kids' Choice Awards and Best Song to Lip Sync and Best Anthem for the 2016 Radio Disney Music Awards. The group performed at the 2017 Fashion Meets Music Festival.[7] Following the reunion of the Jonas Brothers in 2019, the group has entered an indefinite hiatus.


2015–2016: Breakthrough with Swaay[edit]

Joe Jonas originally rose to fame as a member of the pop trio the Jonas Brothers, alongside his brothers Nick and Kevin. Both Lee and Lawless were, for varying tenures, a part of the Jonas Brothers' live backing band, playing guitar and drums respectively. The idea for DNCE first came about while Jonas and Lawless were living together, although the project was put on hold due to the duo's respective busy schedules.[8] Jonas, Lawless, and Lee officially came together to form DNCE in 2015, with work on their debut studio album beginning shortly afterwards.[9] Though work on the project had already begun, the group struggled to find a fourth member to fit into the band.[1] Jonas began working with songwriter Justin Tranter for DNCE's debut studio album. This led to Jonas and Whittle, the former bassist in Tranter's band Semi Precious Weapons, becoming friends. Ultimately, Whittle was added as a full-time member of the group.[1] The group named themselves DNCE after the name of a song written for the album, which lyrically spoke of being too drunk to spell the word "dance".[9] Jonas later added that the group decided on the name as it described the "imperfect awesome[ness] of the four of [them] together."[9] Lee later added that "much like the spelling of the word, you don't have to be a perfect dancer to dance in life."[10] The group began performing secret shows in New York City to rehearse for their upcoming tour and promotional performances.[11] DNCE made an official Instagram account in September 2015; Joe later posted a teaser video for the band on his account, tagging the band's official page, on September 10.[12]

The group released their debut single, "Cake by the Ocean", on September 18, 2015.[13] Though starting out slow, the song managed to reach the top 10 across several charts. The song peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, and at number 7 on the Canadian Hot 100.[14] The group released their debut extended play, Swaay, on October 23, 2015.[15][16] The four-track album received a favorable review by Entertainment Weekly, writing that it "splits the difference between [Joe's] former band’s slick power pop and the electro-kissed pop stylings of his solo album."[17] The band embarked on a 14-date tour in November 2015, known as the Greatest Tour Ever.[18] All 14 scheduled dates for the tour sold out.[19] The tour received critical praise, and featured unreleased songs as well as covers of older classics.[20]

On January 31, 2016, DNCE made a cameo during Fox's television special Grease: Live; a live production of the Broadway musical Grease. The band performed as Johnny Casino and The Gamblers during a high school dance scene, which incorporated a 1950s-inspired rendition of "Cake by the Ocean" and a cover of The Crickets' "Maybe Baby" alongside the Grease songs "Born to Hand Jive" and "Rock & Roll Is Here to Stay". In an interview with Rolling Stone, Jonas explained that DNCE was approached by the producers of the special following a show in New York City, and that he had always been a fan of Grease.[21]

In February 2016, the band joined Selena Gomez as opening acts for her Revival Tour.[22] On April 22, 2016 the band appeared on BBC One's The Graham Norton Show, performing their debut single.[23]

2016–2019: DNCE, Kissing Strangers, Dance, People to People, and break up[edit]

DNCE released their self-titled debut studio album on November 18, 2016. In April 2017, the band collaborated with Nicki Minaj on their single, "Kissing Strangers".[24]

To start out 2018, the group released the single, "Dance" on January 26.[25] On June 15, DNCE released the 4 song EP People To People that contained the songs "TV in the Morning", "Still Good", "Lose My Cool", and "Man On Fire".[26]

On 16 August 2017, DNCE performed with Welsh singer, Bonnie Tyler on the long version of her 1983 chart-topping hit "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" aboard the MS Oasis of the Seas during the total solar eclipse.

With both Jonas and Lawless having resumed work with the Jonas Brothers, DNCE broke up, in favor of the reunion of The Jonas Brothers in 2019. The Jonas Brothers have since incorporated "Cake By the Ocean" into their live set.[27]


Band member Cole Whittle has said that "Musically, we sound like disco funk hits played by a good garage band."[28] The band's influences include the Electric Light Orchestra, Sly and the Family Stone, Weezer, Earth, Wind & Fire, Hall & Oates,[29] Prince, the Bee Gees,[28] and Led Zeppelin.[30]


  • Joe Jonas: lead vocals – Jonas first rose to prominence as the leader and frontman of the Jonas Brothers, a pop band that had considerable success across music, film and television.[31]
  • Jack Lawless: drums, percussion, backing vocals – Jack Lawless played drums for the Jonas Brothers from their Marvelous Party Tour (2007)[32] until their disbandment, and again from their 2019 reunion onwards. Lawless and Jonas were roommates, with Lawless continuing to perform with the band on subsequent tours.[8] In 2010, Lawless became the drummer for alternative rock band Ocean Grove; the group released their debut extended play in 2011.[33]
  • Cole Whittle: bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals – Whittle rose to fame as the bassist for Semi Precious Weapons.[34] The band released three studio albums during their run, with their final release coming in 2014.[35] He has also recently contributed as a songwriter, alongside fellow Semi Precious Weapons member Justin Tranter.
  • JinJoo Lee: guitar, backing vocals – Lee is from South Korea and, like Lawless, has previously toured with acts such as the Jonas Brothers, playing the guitar.[36] She was a member of CeeLo Green's touring band from 2010 to 2011, and later worked with JoJo and Charli XCX.[36]



Year Title Role Notes
2016 Grease: Live Johnny Casino and the Gamblers Television special


Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2016 American Music Awards[38] Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group DNCE Nominated
New Artist of the Year DNCE Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards[39] Favorite New Artist DNCE Nominated
Radio Disney Music Awards[40] Best Anthem "Cake by the Ocean" Nominated
Best New Artist DNCE Nominated
Best Song to Lip Sync "Cake by the Ocean" Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards[41] Best New Act DNCE Nominated
Best Push Act DNCE Won
MTV Video Music Awards[42] Best New Artist DNCE Won
MTV Video Music Awards Japan[43] International New Artist DNCE Won
Teen Choice Awards[44] Choice Music: Breakout Artist DNCE Nominated
Choice Music: Group DNCE Nominated
Choice Music: Party Song "Cake by the Ocean" Won
Choice Music Single: Group "Cake by the Ocean" Nominated
Choice Summer Music Star: Group DNCE Nominated
2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards[citation needed] Best Cover Song "Hands to Myself" Nominated
Best Duo/Group of the Year DNCE Nominated
People's Choice Awards[45] Favorite Breakout Artist DNCE Nominated
Radio Disney Music Awards Song of the Year "Cake by the Ocean" Nominated
Best Song to Lip Sync To Nominated
Breakout Artist of the Year DNCE Nominated


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  2. ^ "Best of 2015: Joe Jonas on 'Mad Max,' Other Favorites – Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone.
  3. ^ Colla, Matt. "DNCE Biography – AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  4. ^ Mercuri, Monica (February 28, 2019). "The Jonas Brothers Reunite And Announce New Single 'Sucker'". Forbes. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  5. ^ Aniftos, Rania (February 28, 2019). "What The Jonas Brothers Have Been Up to Since the Band's Split: A Timeline". Billboard. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  6. ^ Trust, Gary (February 15, 2016). "Hot 100 Chart Moves: DNCE's 'Cake by the Ocean' Sweetens Pop Radio". Billboard. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
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  14. ^ "Music: Top 100 Songs – Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard.
  15. ^ "SWAAY – EP – DNCE". iTunes. Archived from the original on September 30, 2016.
  16. ^ Hailey, Jonathan (October 13, 2015). "DNCE Announce 'SWAAY' EP and Tease 'Cake By the Ocean' Video". Radio.com. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
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  19. ^ "Instagram". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021.
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  22. ^ a b Vulpo, Mike (February 23, 2016). "Selena Gomez's Revival Tour Just Turned Into an Even Bigger Party With the Addition of DNCE". E! Online. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
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  26. ^ "DNCE Drops Surprise EP 'People to People': Stream". Billboard.com. June 15, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  27. ^ "Jonas Brothers Concert Setlist at Minneapolis Armory, Minneapolis on April 6, 2019". Setlist.FM. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  28. ^ a b Copsey, Rob (April 26, 2016). "DNCE talk Cake By The Ocean, working with 'pop god' Max Martin and being inspired by Prince - Interview". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  29. ^ name=seven>Kaplan, Ilana (October 23, 2015). "GET READY TO DNCE". Interview. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  30. ^ Stern, Claire (April 26, 2016). "8 Questions with Joe Jonas's New Band, DNCE". InStyle. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  31. ^ "Some teen stars are still well-scrubbed, others have gone wild". NY Daily News. New York. April 29, 2008.
  32. ^ Boyle, Kelly (2008) "The Jonas Brothers hit Boston Archived January 29, 2016, at the Wayback Machine", bostonmusicspotlight.com. Retrieved November 19, 2013
  33. ^ "Little Record – EP". iTunes.
  34. ^ Poet, J. "StyleHive Semi Precious Weapons – Biography". Retrieved December 12, 2008.
  35. ^ Atkinson, Claire (November 19, 2015). "Meet the duo behind pop music's latest and greatest hits". New York Post. New York. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  36. ^ a b "Who Are the Members of Joe Jonas' New Band DNCE?publisher=MTV". September 15, 2015.
  37. ^ Norton, Jessica (October 27, 2015). "What Can We Expect From DNCE's 'Greatest Tour Ever Tour'?". MTV. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  38. ^ "AMAs 2016: See the Full List of Winners". Billboard. Retrieved November 21, 2016.
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  40. ^ "2016 Radio Disney Music Awards". Nick and More. March 14, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  41. ^ Smirke, Richard Smirke (November 6, 2016). "2016 MTV EMAs: See the Full Winners List". Billboard. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  42. ^ "DNCE Wins Best New Artist, 2016 Video Music Awards | MTV". MTV. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  43. ^ "Winners for the MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2016 announced | Page 3". ARAMA! JAPAN. October 3, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
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