Music Promoter Louis Messina’s Best Advice and Travel Tips
After promoting some of the hottest musicians of our century, Louis Messina is ready to turn some of his attention inward. For 46 years, Louis Messina has been promoting the music of his carefully vetted stable of superstars, which includes Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, and Faith Hill. For Messina, who last year won a Country Music Association Lifetime Achievement Honor, the artists he chooses to get involved with are not picked simply for their talent. “I have to have a connection with them that’s not just artistic, but also personal and moral,” he said. “The artists I work with I want to be involved with for the rest of their career.”
Messina, the son of a boxing promoter, has known the music world was his calling since he was 7, when his father took him to an Elvis Presley concert. At the heart of Messina’s love for music is the spiritual journey that a song can take you on, so that you arrive back at yourself transformed. “Music is sacred,” he said. “There are certain songs you hear that sound as if they were written about you or for you.” Concerts, which he never tires of, are the ultimate way to listen to music. “They feel good, like church. As Kenny Chesney says at the start of his concerts: Leave your problems at the door for the next two hours. Nothing can replace live, the people around you, the charge in the air—it’s magical.”
Messina Touring Group’s success has been peaking in recent years—last year he promoted Taylor Swift’s “Reputation” tour, the top-grossing tour in U.S. history, along with Ed Sheeran, who in 2018 grossed $432 million and sold 4,860,482 tickets worldwide. His artist-centric promotion model, which delivers concierge-quality service to his artists, favors excellence over volume. Each artist has a dedicated team that’s exclusive to them. “We are 100 percent all in with each artist. I don’t shop my artists out,” he said. “I look at myself as an extension of the artist rather than their promoter.”
But such devotion comes with a cost. For decades, Messina, who follows many of the tours with his own personal touring bus, was on the road for roughly 200 days a year. This year, he said, he’s committed to a better work-life balance and has promised his wife and two younger daughters, ages 10 and 13 (Messina also has four older sons) to keep it under 100 days. When he does get the rare opportunity to travel for pleasure, Messina expects the same attention to service that he showers on his artists. He chooses Inspirato because its service is impeccable, he says, from pre-trip logistics to post-trip follow- up. He appreciates being able to delegate all the trip’s details with confidence, down to having the kitchen stocked with his family’s favorite foods.
“If there ever is an issue, no matter how slight, the problem takes minutes to fix—not days,” he said.
His favorite Inspirato travel destination was the family’s most recent trip, to Long Bay Beach Club Turks and Caicos. “The ocean was just outside our window: All day long we were mesmerized watching Caribbean ‘ocean TV.’ A couple of times we’ll hire a professional chef to create a memorable family dinner, to take utmost advantage of the privilege of privacy,” he said. Of course, music may enter the scene as well. Even on holiday, his musical mainstays are the musicians who are part of his fold. “I listen to the artists who listen to me,” he said with a laugh.
Next on Messina’s horizon is channeling some of his keen attentiveness toward someone who has been quietly waiting in the wings—himself. For his next act, he said, “I want to spend more time with my family, more time with me. I need to get back to finding Louis. That’s my next mission. I kind of like Louis,” he said, with just a hint of surprise.
As someone who is constantly on the road tending to his touring superstars, Inspirato member Louis Messina has picked these 3 Travel Tips for making vacation time sacrosanct.
First, pad your vacation with a few extra days. “It takes me a long time to decompress. By the time I actually feel relaxed, it’s time to go. Adding a few extra days to your trip can help you settle into an almost unnerving feeling of tranquility.”
Second, moderate your phone time. “At first, even on vacation, I was a phone addict, checking it every few minutes. But I’ve learned to just scan my phone in the morning and the evening and be present with my family the rest of the time.”
Third, use your vacation time to make more mindful food choices. “Take advantage of having your routine disrupted, along with less cause to stress-eat, to cut down on the eat-on-the-run, whatever’s available mentality.”