Alum Credits SEE for Jump-starting Entertainment Career With New Kids on the Block, Lea Michele and More
Photo by Jeremy Kiggundu
Jared Paul ’99 was still learning the ins and outs of sound and lighting when he helped produce his first SEE concert at Stamp Student Union. The sold-out 1997 show by the ska punk band, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, was an “exciting and terrifying” day one for him in the music industry, he recalls.
Last month, he stepped into the Grand Ballroom for another sold-out performance—by Big Time Rush (BTR)—but in a very different role, as manager of the boy band and other major acts and tours.
“It was amazing to be back,” Paul said. “That’s a really big full-circle event.”
Today, Paul manages not only the former Nickelodeon stars, but also New Kids on the Block and former “Glee” star Lea Michele through his company, Faculty Management and Productions. He’s also the mastermind behind the touring productions of “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With the Stars” (DWTS), and created the viral and endlessly Instagrammable Happy Place, a whimsical pop-up experience.
His artists have played in some of the biggest venues around the world—but when he was searching for a more intimate performance space for BTR before they embarked on their summer tour, he turned to his alma mater.
“It was one of those, ‘What are you doing in a week?’ situations,” he
said, when he contacted Student Entertainment Events (SEE). The
surprise concert was free to UMD students, and more than 800 enjoyed the
acoustic show, where the band even pulled him on stage.
He entrusted the last-minute plans to SEE because the student org is where Paul first took on big responsibilities. He went from knowing nothing about booking and catering to bringing in stars as big as Bob Dylan, Run-DMC and Jon Stewart to campus. As the theatre major worked his way up to SEE president, he also developed confidence—and industry connections.
“People and promoters I reached out to as a student, I literally still do business with today,” he said.
After graduating, Paul joined the events team at Capital One Arena, and within two years was director of entertainment, booking all concerts and special events at the 20,000-seat venue. But he found himself seeking a more creative outlet, working more directly with artists to create their shows, rather than executing someone else’s vision.
A chance meeting with famed entertainment executive Irving Azoff—named Billboard’s most powerful person in the music industry in 2012—led Paul to “chase down” the opportunity. Azoff offered him a job at his company, so Paul packed up for Los Angeles, where he worked with the likes of Christina Aguilera and Journey before striking out on his own in 2015.
Paul likens managing to being the CEO of a company, where the artist is the founder. “It’s their vision and their baby, but you need someone to run the day-to-day operations,” said Paul, who oversees record labels, merchandising and touring, and liaises with lawyers and accountants. “I’m the central spoke that helps everyone talk and mobilize.”
He’s frequently on the road, making sure his clients’ latest movie premiere or cruise with fans is a triumph. He just returned from a frenzied Latin American swing with BTR, where “audiences are like nothing you’ve ever seen,” he said, following the band en masse from airport to hotel to concert. He’s proud of reinvigorating careers of throwback bands like NKOTB, as well as shepherding the success of those who have been with him since their earliest days, such as DWTS breakout star Julianne Hough and Michele, who’s now starring in the musical “Funny Girl” on Broadway.
He urges students at the University of Maryland who hope to follow in his footsteps to seek the guidance of supportive faculty and staff like Stamp Director Marsha Guenzler-Stevens and Associate Director Donna Lim, who previously advised SEE, and to explore all the creative extracurriculars across campus.
“You’re really missing out if you don’t take full advantage,” Paul said. “I embraced it and I was able to trade up, and one thing led to the next. If it weren’t for that initial jump-off, I don’t know where I would have started.”
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