Zachary Kelm is the founder and president of Q Management Group. Based in Franklin, Tenn., Q Management Group currently houses an artist roster that includes the multi-Platinum and Grammy® nominated rock band Skillet, “American Idol” alum and Dove Award winner Colton Dixon, Skillet drummer and vocalist Jen Ledger’s solo endeavor (LEDGER), and pop/country group Leaving Austin.
After spending four years in college promoting concerts at his alma mater, Kelm began his management career in 1997 when he left his home state of Missouri for Nashville and accepted a position with Smallbone Management, helping to steer the career of GRAMMY® winner Rebecca St. James for more than five years. In 2002, he launched his own company with Q Management Group, solely managing Skillet. Following over a decade of success with the band in both the Christian and Rock markets, including multiple Gold and Platinum albums and singles, in 2013, Kelm expanded his portfolio with the addition of imprint Hear It Loud, a creative partnership with Atlantic Records and Skillet’s John and Korey Cooper. Over the past 20 years, Kelm has steadily built a business laser-focused on strategy and relationships—the key to his success.
“Early on, I recognized I can’t be who I’m not; but I can be who I am. At the core, I love people, and I love the relationships that you develop and nurture in management. I’ve found that’s what my brand of management needed to be,” Kelm says. “You can be the best at all these things, but it doesn’t help you if you don’t have any relationships that are meaningful with people who respect you for who you are and for doing what you say you’re going to do.”
Across nearly two decades, Kelm has helped propel Skillet from a 100,000 unit-selling band to a multi-Platinum success story. The award-winning act has sold 12 million units to date and garnered two GRAMMY® nods, as well as a Billboard Music Award. Their electric live show sells out arenas around the globe.
Kelm’s collaboration with Colton Dixon has enabled the singer and songwriter to perform for more than 1 million people in the years following his debut on Season 11 of “American Idol.” In addition, Dixon has received two Dove Awards and achieved four consecutive No. 1 hits, including the most-played Hot AC single of 2014, “More of You.” Dixon is currently in the studio working on new music after signing an exclusive label deal with Atlantic Records.
Upon release in early 2018, LEDGER’s self-titled EP debuted at No. 5 on Billboard’s Emerging Artists chart to a flurry of critical acclaim, and she’s already wowing audiences opening for Skillet. Although Leaving Austin is a new signing, and marks Kelm’s entry into the country genre, he is committed to developing their unique brand from the ground up. While Leaving Austin is currently in the studio crafting new music, and LEDGER takes on the world of rock music, things continue to progress, and Kelm looks forward to a long, bright future with both acts.
“I love stepping into new genres. I love stepping into completely different styles of music and artistry. But for me, it always goes back to that relationship with the artist, what their goals are, what they want to accomplish. If I sync up with the artist and their vision, along with the gifts I feel God has given me, then we can do it together—because no one can do it on their own,” Kelm says. “The people we do life with and communicate with—those end up being the things that pull us through both the good and the bad days. You can’t celebrate on your own, and it be meaningful; and you can’t mourn on your own, and it be meaningful. Ultimately, that’s where I find fulfillment; and it gets me excited for the next chapter.”
Kelm resides in Franklin, Tenn., with his wife, Velvet, and their three children: Quinn, Zander and Siena.