Jonas Group Entertainment, led by founder/CEO Kevin Jonas, Sr., has opened the Nashville-based publishing division, Jonas Group Publishing, with flagship writer Terri Jo Box.
The company will begin building out its publishing staff and signing more writers to the roster over the next year.
Jonas, Sr., 55, helped guide the early careers of his three sons, Kevin, Joe and Nick, collectively known as the superstar group the Jonas Brothers. The sibling trio rose to popularity via a series of Disney Channel shows, before releasing their 2007 self-titled album, which was certified Platinum. Last year, they returned to the spotlight with their first single in six years “Sucker,” which earned a Grammy nomination earlier this year for Best Pop/Duo Group Performance.
In 2005, Jonas, Sr. launched the talent management company Jonas Group Entertainment, which counts rock group PUBLIC, Melanie Pfirrman, LIVVIA, Mandy Harvey, Lucy Cloud, and author Shaina Kohli Russo on the roster.
Along the way, he co-wrote songs including Jonas Brothers’ “When You Look Me In The Eyes” and Michael W. Smith’s “I Still Have The Dream.”
However, Jonas, Sr.’s musical roots can be traced to Nashville. “My love of Nashville goes way back as a writer and an artist,” he says.
When Jonas was in high school, he began singing clubs and talent contests around Charlotte, North Carolina, performing country classics from Alabama and Kenny Rogers.
One of his fellow contestants in one of those North Carolina talent competitions was a young singer named Randy Traywick—who went on to find country music stardom by the name Randy Travis.
“I remember I would win the contest one week, he would win another week,” Jonas, Sr. said. “He beat me in the finals,” Jonas, Sr. adds.
Jonas, Sr. went on to enter Bible College, and he and his wife moved to Arizona. Still his sights were on music, and he would fly to Nashville and tried unsuccessfully at the time to break into the Nashville music scene. He and his wife soon started a family, and took on an early management role in his sons’ careers as they showed an early talent for music.
Having spent years managing artists to success in the Top 40 space, his love of country music comes full-circle with the new publishing venture. “I’ve always loved the craft of songwriting and I have so much respect for songwriters,” he says.
Flagship writer Box is known for co-writing songs such as Ashley McBryde’s “Bible and a .44” and Miranda Lambert’s “Dear Old Sun,” from her ACM-winning The Weight of These Wings double album.
“That’s the little song that could,” she says of “Bible and a .44.” “Ashley came in with all the pieces. It was her heart and the story about her dad. That song’s been a good run for us, since Eric Church did a live performance of it and Trisha Yearwood put it on her last record, and performed it with Patty Loveless. It’s funny because you go into work that day and write a song and you have no idea where the song is going to take you.”
Beginning in 2010, Box also owned and hosted the songwriters showcase Music Row Freakshow at Nashville venue The Local. Jonas, Sr. had traveled to Nashville numerous times during his career, and met Box through the writers’ round.
“I was amazed at the talent at this show,” Jonas, Sr. said. “She was a shepherd and encourager and emcee over this group and she also wrote incredible songs. I felt like she was a perfect choice as the leader for this group of people and to launch our publishing efforts in Nashville.”
Box began touring around Texas before moving to Nashville, and has been writing full-time for the past decade.
“The roots of Nashville we both have in country and CCM and the wings of Top 40 that he has, it was a no-brainer for me to have the best of both worlds, working with Kevin,” Box says. “He’s also focused on integrity, so that was another thing that drew me to being part of the company. They also set up my situation to where it didn’t look like a lot of deals, because I am able to have creative control in helping to build the company and consulting on writers and artists we work with. He has a long-term game plan. I’m excited about what we are building here in Nashville.”
Initially, Jonas Group Publishing will focus on country music but intends to add to the roster songwriters in various genres, including Contemporary Christian and rock/pop.
“I would love to find some of the incredible talent in the Christian world. I’ve been fortunate to have mainstream Top 40 success, but having a presence in church music and CCM music has been a lifetime passion of mine. But, the rising pop and alt-pop producers in Nashville also inspire me. There is a multi-genre story that is rising fast in Nashville and we want to be part of it.” Jonas, Sr. says.
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