Local dog inspires multimedia brand, CD

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 4, 2013

STERLING HEIGHTS — Max the English Labrador retriever and his family are putting in the maximum effort to promote the dog’s first CD this month.

On Sept. 20, Max and his owner, Anthony Majewski, will launch the children’s CD “Sing with Max,” with the help of several recording artists.

Majewski, 37, from Sterling Heights, said his dog has inspired him to write books, produce music, run a website and even oversee an upcoming cartoon series.

Even before he became the father of two boys, Majewski said he observed how children relate to animals, and he thought Max could entertain young people and teach them about life.

“It was one of those things that started off as, ‘It’d be really nice to write a book,’” he said. “And now it’s becoming more of a business.”

Max, 8, began his artistic career with Majewski in 2009. That was when Majewski and his wife wrote the first “Max” book, titled “Dogs Move Too!” The book, written from a canine’s perspective, is about having to move to a new home.

From there, the Majewskis used the Internet to promote the children’s book and establish the brand. They created a Twitter account for Max, and the pooch’s popularity eventually helped him gain more than 45,000 followers.

Majewski said social media also put him in touch with contacts in the music and children’s TV industries. That’s how he came into contact with Center Sound Records, the label behind “Sing with Max.”

According to Majewski, the songs of “Sing with Max” are based off his books, as well as other issues that kids face. Initially, the record company produced songs one at a time, such as the pro-literacy song “Read a Book” by young artist Marissa Begin.

Online demand eventually convinced Majewski to work on compiling a full album.

Composer and writer Craig Brandwynne said his Raleigh, N.C., label is wrapping up the album, which contains seven songs sung by six artists.

He explained that while children’s music is usually less intense than other genres, it still has to be interesting, and the “Max” songs’ messages accomplish this with a focus on reading, anti-bullying and more.

“You’ve got to make it very ‘hooky’ and very simple,” Brandwynne said, “yet have the production sound like it belongs in the pop industry. And that’s the challenge.”

Majewski said Max’s fans will be able to purchase the music online through iTunes, and they can buy the books through Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

Today, he says he works on Max’s media empire in the evenings and hopes to leave a legacy behind for his own young twin sons.

“Now, they can grow up and we’ll obviously read some of the books with them,” he said.

To learn more about the “Read with Max” series or to find out how to purchase Max’s books and songs, visit www.readwithmax.com. Learn more about Center Sound Records at www.centersoundrecords.com.