Students’ eyes were locked in on Kevin Jonas Sr., father of the Jonas Brothers and owner of Jonas Group Entertainment, as he spoke to their Sports and Entertainment Marketing class in the Robins School this month.

“In the world of choosing an artist to represent, if you’re not willing to jump in front of a train for them, don’t sign them,” Jonas told the students before they presented artists who they believed would be the next main stream pop stars.

The students have worked with Jonas throughout the fall semester  through conference calls, discussing what makes an artist successful and popular, and the business planning, marketing, and strategy that go into that process. Jonas and his wife, Denise, joined the class in October to meet the students in person.

“A hit has many fathers, as do artists,” Jonas said. “Representing someone is so hard, and you will probably bet the farm. And you may lose, but if the artist wins, the sacrifice is worth it.”

Adam Marquardt, associate professor of marketing, teaches the Sports and Entertainment Marketing course, and strives every year to connect students to professionals in the industries.

Marquardt has long known Kevin and Denise Jonas, and thought it would be beneficial for his students to learn from their experience.

“Kevin and Denise have a fresh unique perspective of not only entertainment marketing, but also the intersection of entertainment marketing with non-entertainment offerings because they are actively involved in multiple ongoing projects in different sectors,” Marquardt said. “These insights are extremely valuable to our students looking to break into those industries. Having their input on our students’ work is a phenomenal experience for all involved.” 

This month, students presented artists who they thought were soon to break into the top of the charts, to get the Jonas’ feedback on their prospects. Lowell Schipper, ’20, is concentrating in marketing, and joined the course to get a good perspective of the sports and entertainment industries.

“It was very cool to hear his process when it came to signing talent,” Schipper said. “The way he conducted himself in the classroom was also very inspiring. He seemed to love what he does and it showed.”

Schipper suggested Zach Herron, a current member of Why Don’t We, a boy band in Los Angeles, to Jonas as a potential new client.

“I presented Zach Herron because he is the most talented member of one of the most up and coming boy bands,” Schipper said. “When the band breaks up, which in my opinion is a certainty in the world of boy bands, he would be the best one to sign. I wanted to present someone that Mr. Jonas would have a legitimate opportunity to manage.”

Jonas said he was impressed and inspired by the students’ presentations, including Schipper’s.

“The classes presented a number of diverse artists, connecting with different target audiences,” Jonas said. “The first class was more technically minded, while the second had a lot of feeling and emotion. I commend them. They were quick and thorough.”

Next semester, Robins students will again have the chance to work with Jonas in Marquardt’s Strategic Brand Management class, both in getting his feedback and insights into the entertainment industry and in developing marketing and branding strategy for musicians.

Beyond being the father and former manager of the Jonas Brothers and owning his own entertainment company, Jonas also runs a digital and social media company, and in 2016 went into the restaurant business, opening Nellie’s Southern Kitchen in Belmont, N.C.