Danny Nozell is a titan of the entertainment industry. His fierce yet good-natured personality accompanies his well-known reputation for high profit margins, long-term client retention, and diversification of revenue for clients and his own companies. Danny’s career began in the trenches, touring globally with hip hop, rock, and heavy metal bands like Slipknot. However, arguably his most notable achievements have been with cultural icon and country music superstar Dolly Parton.
Danny and his team at CTK Enterprises have a diverse roster of talent that spans a spectrum of genres. Alongside Dolly Parton, Danny currently works with Megadeth, Kenny G, KC and the Sunshine Band, Jessica Simpson, Kellie Pickler, Paula Abdul, Cheap Trick and Mya.
In addition to CTK Enterprises, Nozell has several other companies and provides a complete range of services for clients, including:
NOZ Entertainment which owns, operates, and produces its own TV, film and musical content, having done over 250 productions to date.
Nash Aviation which is a specialized private jet broker that does comprehensive background checks on pilots and thorough vetting of maintenance and refurbishment schedules to ensure safety requirements are the highest standard for the industry. Nash Aviation has booked jets globally for major stadium artists as well as several arena tours and private families.
Nozell has three record labels, Dolly Records, Butterfly Records and CTK Records.
We also do global branding for all of our clients and have extensive partnerships in this space.
Over his decades in the industry, Nozell has mastered every facet of the entertainment business. Through awe-inspiring innovation, he has spotted new trends ahead of the curve and made trends. And his constant ability to rebrand and grow his artists has kept him ahead of the game.
Nozell’s original inspiration for entering the entertainment business came when he was eleven years old. His Uncle, Leo, snuck him, his brother, and his cousins through riots and teargas into a sold-out Rolling Stones concert at the St. Paul Civic Center. Nozell says: “When the band came out, I was just blown away. Looking up at Mick performing out over the crowd was incredible. That changed my life. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to be in this business.” From that moment on, Nozell says he had his eyes set on working in the live music industry.
Growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota, Nozell’s childhood was a humble one. His father was a litigation attorney and his mother was a stay-at-home mom. He grew up attending various schools before shipping off to Saint Thomas Academy, an all-boys military high school. Afterwards, he went to college. First, he went to St. Mary’s, University of Minnesota, then to the University of Wisconsin-Stout, and lastly, to the University of St. Thomas, where he earned an Associate Degree in Business. However, the entertainment business always beckoned. While in college, he landed a dream job with JAM Productions which was a major promoter in the Midwest. He started out as a runner before working his way up into production. After working for JAM Productions, he put his entrepreneurial hat on and started a furniture rental company. The company rented dressing room furniture to all major promoters in the Midwest and his furniture was used on major tours including: Black Sabbath, Janet Jackson, and The Rolling Stones.
Nozell then made the natural transition to tour management. He met nine country boys from Iowa who became the band Slipknot. They asked him to be their tour manager/tour accountant and this eventually led to him getting a position with their management. Nozell was with Slipknot from the beginning in 1997 until 2003. He toured the world nonstop with an impressive 85-person traveling staff. He says: “I learned everything about touring, and the most important thing I learned is how to make a band a lot of money through creating real budgets and implementing them properly. I got an education that no school or money could buy. Touring is one of the largest streams of revenue that you can generate for a band.”
Nozell spent the next three years troubleshooting tours that were in financial distress and became the go-to problem solver for tours in trouble. Nozell would go in as a cleaner and re-do budgets to get them back on a profitable financial trajectory. He then took his solution-oriented approach and combined it with his branding and marketing savvy and went to work for Dolly Parton. After sorting through the star’s SoundScan data and Pollstar history, he crunched the numbers and realized she had never sold out any of her own tours globally. Historically, Dolly did global package tours with acts such as Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, and Johnny Cash. However, she was not a headliner.
Equipped with this information, Nozell set to work on her global touring strategy. He chose the dates and venues that she did best in, based on his research, and then put her in smaller venues that he was confident she would sell out. Nozell put her 2006 North American tour on sale six months in advance so that he could geo-target any market that was underperforming. After two months on sale, the entire tour had sold out.
Following the successful 2006 North American tour, Nozell talked Parton into going back overseas. She had not toured overseas in 28 years and had never headlined overseas. Nozell determined that the reason Dolly had not sold well overseas was that she had the wrong agents and the wrong promoters. He then hired Neil Warnock, the CEO of The Agency Group, who he had worked with for eight years with Slipknot. What happened next would go down in the history books. Tickets went on sale for 23 shows, six months in advance, in scaled arenas. Neil called Danny the morning that tickets went on sale and let him know that all 23 shows had sold out in 60 minutes. The biggest surprise was that all of the 15,000-20,000 seat capacity arenas that sold out were billed as An Evening With Dolly with no opening acts. Needless to say, the tour grossed tens of millions of Dollars, and at the time was the largest grossing tour in the history of Dolly’s career.
One way Nozell got Dolly back into touring was by making her custom tour buses. He designed a bus in America that had bathtubs and showers in it. He then sent these blueprints overseas to a company called Beat The Street. Since Nozell had a great relationship with the owner, Joerg, they made a handshake deal and Joerg built the first two buses to have bathtubs and showers in Europe. These buses were two and a half million sterling per bus. Nozell then took all of the comforts of home for Dolly — including her coffees, teas, candles, and incense, etc., — and packed all of these things into cases to be shipped overseas. Dolly does not sleep in hotels so Nozell designed a global logistics system to keep one bus in one city while the other bus proceeded to the next to wait. Then when Dolly was done with one show she headed straight to the jet to fly onto the next city where an identical bus was waiting for her. The opposite bus would then go onto the next town and the buses would leapfrog all over Europe with Parton never stepping foot in a hotel. Dolly said that this was the smoothest tour that she had ever been on.
In 2007 Nozell was approved by Dolly to start Dolly Records. Backwoods Barbie was the first release and debuted at number two on the Billboard Country Album Chart. Since 2007 she has released 400 master recordings and has broken her charting history. In 2008 Nozell took Dolly back overseas for a stadium and arena tour. Parton again sold out not only arenas but nine major stadiums across Europe as well.
Then in 2011 Parton decided that she wanted to go back over to Europe and wanted to add Australia to the tour as well. The only caveat was that she wanted her buses in Australia just as she had them in Europe. The problem was that the European buses that were custom made were four feet too long and five inches too wide for Australian roadways. Nozell lobbied the government in Australia and eventually, after six months, was able to have the government overturn their decision. They agreed to allow both of Dolly’s buses into their country for the first time in history. Nozell shipped the buses via major shipping vessels from the U.K., down around the South of Africa, and back up to Australia. The buses leapfrogged in Australia just as they had in Europe. For the first time in history Dolly sold out 14 arenas in Australia and New Zealand.
In 2014, Dolly wanted to go back to Australia and back to Europe. After ten years of turning down offers from Glastonbury, Nozell was able to talk Parton into performing at the historic event. The show drew a record-breaking 180,000 people and Nozell reminded the industry of Parton’s unstoppable magnetism and enduring relevance. The 2014 tour ended up selling out all of Europe. Also in 2014 Nozell repeated history and talked the government into letting Dolly ship her buses back to Australia for another 14 sold out arenas. During this time Dolly broke several charts and the records were achieving gold and platinum globally.
In 2015 Dolly decided to get back into TV and film. She partnered with NBC and they released Coat of Many Colors in 2015 and Christmas of Many Colors in 2016, both of which Nozell consulted on and oversaw marketing for. These two movies did 13+ million a piece and were number one in the market and on NBC.
Additionally in 2016, after having enormous success with overseas territories, Nozell decided to embark on Dolly’s largest North American tour in the history of her career, consisting of 65 sold out arenas. In 2018 Nozell received a call about partnering for a movie called Dumplin’ which was originally a best-selling book about a Dolly fan’s journey to find confidence and acceptance within herself. Nozell proceeded to executive produce the film with Jennifer Aniston. Dumplin’ is still one of the top streaming films on Netflix.
In 2019 Dolly put out three singles, two of which went number one, and she was up for two Grammy awards, taking home a win with no major label support. Additionally in 2019 Nozell executive produced and partnered with NBC, BBC 2, and A&E on two very successful projects. The first project was Dolly’s 50th Anniversary at The Opry. This special was number one in viewership for NBC and BBC 2 for all of 2019. Nozell also produced the first-ever documentary on Dolly’s songwriting. This was number one for A&E in the market as well as BBC 2.
On the horizon for Danny Nozell is TV, film, real estate, as well as other private investment ventures, many of which are being announced this year. Within an ever-changing landscape his progressive approach and flexible company structure allows him to pivot marketing efforts as music consumption avenues shift during economic highs and lows. Nozell’s management company grinds out splashy marketing, flawless execution, comprehensive management services, and self-sustaining business models for stadium acts as well as hand-selected rising stars. The company is robustly staffed with experienced and talented team members who are empowered with niche specialties and focused on maximizing ROI with a steadfast desire to protect brand authenticity.