Mitchell Solarek, founder and president of Maximum Artist Group, has established a strong national presence by protecting the creative integrity of his clients. For more than 25 years, the Nashville-based executive has shaped an impressive body of work in music, television, and fashion.
In 1998, at the behest of music producer David Foster, Mitchell created and managed the Christian boy band Plus One, a young five-piece group who eventually landed lucrative endorsement deals, international tour offers, a gold-certified debut album, and a pair of No. 1 singles at Christian radio.
Around this time, record labels took note of Natalie Grant, whose powerful voice rivaled that of Celine Dion and Whitney Houston. As an unknown artist, a handful of pop deals fell apart before she joined the roster of Curb Records in Nashville. To this day her career remains vital in the Christian music industry, with seven Grammy nominations and five Dove Awards as Female Vocalist of the Year to her name.
One of his highest-profile clients was Mary Mary, a Gospel duo of sisters Erica and Tina Campbell. As their manager, Mitchell led them to WeTV in 2011 for the series Mary Mary (for which Mitchell was Executive Producer through 2017) – thus, becoming the first reality show for a Gospel artist.
In 2018, four of Maximum’s artists – Danny Gokey, Natalie Grant, Le’Andria, and Tauren Wells – landed Grammy nominations in the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music fields. Other Maximum Artist Group clients include pop singer-songwriter Riley Clemmons, a cappella group Committed, Gospel star Todd Dulaney, British speaker/author Charlotte Gambill, soulful newcomer Koryn Hawthorne, songwriter-producer Bernie Herms, urban-inspirational icon Donald Lawrence, and hip-hop duo Social Club Misfits.
BNA Live, a new booking agency catering to churches, has also been added to the Maximum Artist Group portfolio, which includes a record label, a management firm, a production company, and a music publishing division that includes country hits like Jake Owen’s “Alone With You” and Tyler Farr’s “Whiskey in My Water.” In early 2018, Mitchell relinquished most of the day-to-day tasks to his staff, allowing him to chase new opportunities.
Looking ahead, Mitchell is launching more TV projects and expanding the Maximum Artist Group roster, including a partnership with creative director Laurieann Gibson, whose credits range from In Living Color to Lady Gaga. Mitchell expects to add offices in New York City and Los Angeles to accommodate the demand for content creation.
Dennis, a 34-year veteran of the music and entertainment industry, joined Maximum Artist Group in January 2016. As Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Dennis oversees all company operations, business and legal affairs, and is involved in strategic planning for each of the firm’s clients.
First beginning in marketing at Word Records in 1985, moving into the manager role for Steven Curtis Chapman (1987-1990), and then back to the corporate side of the business, Dennis has held leadership and executive positions at major entertainment companies, including Reunion Records, Benson Music (both now part of Provident/Sony), and Worthy Publishing, in addition to operating his own agency (1999-2012). Notably, as Vice President of Marketing at Benson Music (Provident/Sony), he oversaw the faith-based team for Bob Carlisle’s Double-Platinum Butterfly Kisses (2.5 million units sold), Fred Hammond’s Platinum-selling double-album Pages of Life, and 4HIM’s Gold album, The Basics of Life. As Vice President of Marketing at the boutique book house, Worthy Publishing (2012-2015), he led the publisher’s marketing team on John Hagee’s ECPA Gold Medal book, Four Blood Moons (over 700,000+ in print), and TheJeremiah Study Bible (over 250,000+ in print), the top-selling Study Bible in 2014. In all, Dennis’s efforts across his three-decade career have helped generate over $1 billion in retail revenue.
For nearly 10 years, Dennis has been an adjunct instructor at his alma mater, Belmont University, teaching Entertainment Distribution and Promotion, covering film, television, recorded music, and books, and has been a frequent speaker and/or panelist at industry seminars. In addition to his work at Maximum, Dennis will begin studies at Nashville School of Law in August 2018, fulfilling a 25-year dream to earn a law degree.
Originally from the small town of Platteville, Colorado, Kristi Brazell grew up with a love for music and a fascination with the "behind the scenes" side of the music industry. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in the Music Business from Belmont University. Upon graduation, her internship with Maximum Artist Management grew into a full-time staff position. During her 11-year tenure with the company, Kristi has led several initiatives including helping launch Maxx Music Publishing, which has had multiple #1 hits on the CCM and Country Billboard Charts, as well as handling writer and publisher communications. She eventually moved into working with Grammy-winning writer/producer, Bernie Herms, before shifting into the day-to-day management position for the firm's flagship artist, Natalie Grant who, during Kristi’s term, has garnered seven Grammy nominations along with two albums debuting at #1 on the Billboard charts. In addition to working with Natalie, Kristi also manages the Dare to Be brand, which began as a live event tour for women and has had nearly 100,000 attendees.
A native Floridian and a pastor's daughter, Penny Railey, developed her love for music in the church. Throughout her life and career, she's been an avid CCM fan, but initially pursued a career in marketing and advertising. A seasoned 18-year veteran of marketing and advertising, she's worked with such national brands as Harley-Davidson, NASCAR, “Deal or No Deal,” “The Price Is Right,” and Chevrolet. Her passion for music finally led her to pursue a career in the music industry, first working at one of Nashville's largest recording studios (The Sound Kitchen), an indie Christian record label,and, finally, landing in artist management where she has worked with several artists under the Maximum Artist Management umbrella. Most notably, Railey co-manages Danny Gokey of “American Idol” fame. Gokey's accolades include a recent Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, three #1 Billboard album debuts, a certified Gold single in "Tell Your Heart to Beat Again,” and three multi-week #1 Billboard singles. Gokey has toured with artists such as Taylor Swift, Sugarland, Tim McGraw, Toby Mac, Casting Crowns, Natalie Grant, and Mandisa.
Born and raised as a Texan, Jordan Greiner grew up with music being an influential part of his life. In his early years, he developed a love for music by drums, which lead him to pursue a degree at Baylor University in Music and Entertainment Marketing. Quickly after graduating, Jordan migrated to Nashville, TN to pursue a career in Music where he landed at Eaglemont Entertainment. While at Eaglemont, Jordan had the opportunity to assist in managing artists such as High Valley, Jason Gray, Aaron Shust, and Grammy Nominated Lauren Daigle. Continuing to pursue a career in music ultimately lead him to Maximum Artist Management where he currently oversees Artist Management roles for Tauren Wells, Social Club Misfits, Todd Dulaney, and Koryn Hawthorne. Though he loves long walks on the beach, you are most likely to find him at the nearest golf course on any given sunny day.
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Ben Pogue was raised in a musical family where his passion for the music industry began. He moved to Nashville after high school to attend Belmont University, graduating in three years with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Production. Early in his Belmont career, Ben interned with Maximum Artist Management where he helped plan and implement the music industry’s first ever live-streamed concert for Maximum Artist client, Danny Gokey. While at Belmont, Ben’s studies included terms in London, England and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he immersed himself in the internal workings of the international music industry. He brought his experiences and network back to Maximum where he’s been a vital team member for over four years. Ben’s roles include overseeing the day-to-day management duties for GRAMMY Award-winning songwriter/producer, Bernie Herms, and newcomer Pop artist, Riley Clemmons. He is also the primary point person in Maximum’s relationships with all major Digital Service Providers on behalf of all Maximum clients.
Born and bred on a dairy farm in Plymouth, Wisconsin, (Cheese Capital of America...literally), Tina Johanning is the third of four daughters. After graduating high school in 2007, Tina jumped into an itinerant lifestyle, moving to Mexico to serve in an orphanage for six months and then to a church in Kentucky, integrating into their community and cultivating a family away from home. Since high school, she has gained experience in caregiving, public relations, marketing, management, sales and team building. While working in the automotive industry, she decided to revisit the possibility of going back to school, enrolling in Belmont University in the Fall of 2014 to pursue a degree in Music Business and working three jobs throughout the duration of her education. Meeting Maximum’s founder, Mitchell Solarek, in the Fall of 2017 ultimately took her to her current role at Maximum Artist Group as Executive Assistant to the President and Senior Vice President, keeping everything in order and training in Artist Management.
Proving his skills and talents, especially in the areas of technology and design, the agency hired Jordan in the Spring 2018 immediately after completing a one-semester internship with the company. Hailing from Minnesota, Jordan is a rising senior at Belmont University, majoring in Entertainment Studies.