Music Feature

Christina Martin & The Backstage Artist Lounge

by James Boney
Bringing a little bit of paradise to the rock star -- one tour date at a time.
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Success in an industry dominated by controlled chaos requires nerves of steel; and Christina Martin, 33, is about as cool as they come. Speaking nearly five languages and holding a degree in international affairs from the University of Colorado, life on the road with rock stars was not necessarily what she had planned for herself. “I’m attracted to creative types,” she tells me as we walk through the dimly lit rock-musician-laden backroom of the Electric Factory. “I love people. I love meeting people. You can always learn something from the people you meet.” It goes without saying that such a positive outlook is a requisite for working in the music industry. And Martin’s strategy seems to be working rather well. So well, in fact, that her company, Backstage Artist Lounge(BAL), had to pass on working with Lil’ Wayne this past year – they are just too busy.

Martin’s path from the outskirts of Washington D.C. to Beverly Hills was not necessarily a straight one. Getting her professional start on a trading desk with Charles Schwabb, Martin had established herself as a formidable business woman prior to heeding the calls of Hollywood. “I raised about 2 billion dollars in a year and a half with my last boss,” she tells me with a smile on her face, “And that was before I could even rent a rent-a-car.” This is not to say that Martin doesn’t have the touring gene. “I just recently learned that my great grandfather was a touring musician during the prohibition era! He played the trumpet. You should see what his tour bus looked like. It’s overwhelming to think that I now have my own tour bus.”

It wasn’t long after she established herself as a financial consultant to the elite that Martin’s talent was acknowledged. “Before you knew it, I was working for D.B. Sweeney, Emilio Esteves and a lot of important people in Hollywood.” BAL, however, didn’t become a reality until a few years later in 2006.  After forging a relationship with Stryker at KROQ, Martin hosted a private event designed exclusively for the artists at Pointfest. The BAL mission is to create a luxurious backstage environment for the touring musician. For Martin, “it’s all about the artist and the music.” And according to her, they deserve it. “It’s rough on the road. You’re lucky if you get sleep or a shower or two matching socks.”

As the consummate professional, its clear Martin has a fire inside that demands excellence. “There is a thing about entrepreneurs,” she says. “You have to have an impetuous within.” Martin’s internal drive combined with her savvy intellect has resulted in a powerful business model. By injecting a heavy dose of marketing into the music industry, Martin aims to bring a little bit of paradise to the touring musician. And it seems to be working. “In 2010, we had thirty-six dates, and this year we have over forty.”

Martin’s marketing insight extends beyond the products and services and music; she is also a brilliant self-promoter. With an infectious energy, Martin’s presence in a room is undeniable. It also doesn’t hurt that her intellect is rivaled only by her looks. It would be at your own expense, however, to underestimate her. “This is the touring industry, and I am a girl. Sometimes people will try to not treat me fairly. In the end, they’re sorry for it.”

The kinds of services that BAL brings to the artists range from clothing to instruments to surfboards. “Paintball has been easily the most popular,” she says. The backstage Shangri-La that Martin has crafted is self evidently effective. The artists and industry insiders react to her in a way that speaks for itself. “The bands are truly my friends. I really love them.” And there doesn’t seem to be anything slowing Martin down. “Right now things are moving so fast. In 2012 we will have our first European tour, and we are adding new Canadian tours regularly,” she says. “There is a list of things that I want to do.”

There is an excitement and sincerity in Martin that is hard to deny. Her passion for the work is tangible, and the BAL clients are better for it. When asked if she would ever like to step back and enjoy her success, Martin responds, “I am enjoying it, but I don’t have to step back. I step right up into the thick of it.”

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Christina with Tommy Lee. Photo courtesy of www.backstageartistlounge.com

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Christina with a member of Papa Roach. Photo courtesy of www.backstageartistlounge.com

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