Magazine Feature

How To Get Flo Rida To Play Your Bat Mitzvah

Flo Rida
Michael Jurick/

iPhones and hands were in the air when Flo Rida performed at a New York bat mitzvah in 2014.

When kids don't want to settle for a luncheon at the synagogue, they have their parents call Ryan Schinman.

Drake taking the stage to perform "Hotline Bling" at a New York bat mitzvah on Feb. 20 had the Internet ablaze, but kids competing for the most talked-about affair isn't anything new: In October 1972, then-CBS Records president Clive Davis threw a reported $20,000 bar mitzvah for his son Fred (the scenario supposedly inspired HBO's second episode of Vinyl and would have roughly amounted to $111,000 today). Having the best post-haftorah party often includes booking a flashy headliner better fit for a ­concert hall than a country club -- but how do those with a hefty budget even make it happen?

Watch Drake Perform 'Hotline Bling' and More at Bat Mitzvah in New York

They call Ryan Schinman, founder/chief executive of Platinum Rye Entertainment and founder of RBS Celebrity Bookings. Schinman, 44, founded his company in the early 1990s to broker talent with such ­corporations as Microsoft and DirecTV; in 1999, he founded RBS Celebrity Bookings to bring his same unique services to the high-end private sector, ­including weddings, birthday parties and bar and bat mitzvahs. "We've booked everyone from LMFAO to Chicago to Drake," says Schinman, who is based in New York. Among his favorite events: "We did Rod Stewart in Italy for 30 ­individuals, and we had seven ­staffers present; we were 20 percent of the party."

Courtesy of HBO
A bar mitzvah scene in HBO’s Vinyl supposedly was inspired by one held for Clive Davis’ son.

According to Schinman, The Weeknd and Ariana Grande are the hottest requests for bar and bat mitzvahs. Flo Rida, he adds, "is one of the best because he has had hit after hit after hit. There are a lot of requests for DJ Khaled, too."

As for cost? "Sometimes it's a $2 million bar mitzvah and the ­parents spend $50,000 on the ­talent. When done right it makes the party, but you don't want to take away from the child and have the sole focus be on the talent."

Michael Jurick/
Jason Derulo with a bat mitzvah girl in New York in 2015.

Rachel Dalton, president of Premier Parties -- who has booked Austin Mahone, Sean Kingston and Jason Derulo for bar and bat mitzvahs -- is a New York-based attorney who handles the ­contractual side of booking ­entertainment for her clients. In her 15 years of ­experience, she has learned that celebrities aren't the only ones kids go wild for. "One of the most surprising hits was when YouTube comedian GloZell made her entrance at a bat mitzvah: The kids went absolutely wild! It was as if Taylor Swift had shown up -- that kind of craziness."

?This story originally appeared in the March 19 issue of Billboard.