Chris Tomlin

One of the best-selling shirts on Chris Tomlin’s merch table is one that simply states: “I am not famous.” It speaks to the real star of Christian music versus those who are the servants, but it also speaks about Tomlin directly.

“When you sit down and get to know him, you learn he’s one of those guys who got into the business not for the reason of being famous,” CAA agent Bryan Myers told Pollstar. “It’s interesting that all this happened. He wasn’t looking for the fame and the glory but it’s just gone pretty well for him.”

Tomlin toured last year with Christian superstar Steven Curtis Chapman, and in the wake received nine Dove nominations, topping everybody. He cleaned up in Nashville April 5th, winning five Gospel Music Association awards: artist of the year, male vocalist, song of the year and worship song (“How Great Is Our God”), and special event album of the year for his contribution to Music Inspired By The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Just when it was time for Tomlin to deal with the publicity and the press, he and his band went into the studio to record the follow-up to his gold-certified Arriving, leaving the curious in the dark. But he does plan to tour the upcoming album before next year’s awards show.

“Touring is ministry for me,” Tomlin told Pollstar. “If it ever becomes something different, then I need to do something else. We take things in seasons. There are some seasons when we are at home more and can be a part of our home church, and others where we are out on the road. But it’s all ministry to me.”

More than a decade ago, Tomlin studied sports medicine at Texas A&M, but it was probably the only time in the 30-something-year-old’s life that didn’t focus on Christianity and Christian music. Even then, he was asked to play music at various churches.

In 2002, Tomlin helped form the Austin Stone Community Church, which draws a college crowd.

“He’s been doing this a long time,” Myers said. “I want to say 13 years. He got started in worship music. His objective was to write songs for the church. It’s kind of funny because we have this business called the Christian music business and a lot of radio stations wouldn’t play his songs because, well, I’m not sure what the reason was.

“Maybe they thought the songs were too worship, too churchy. Now he’s become the golden child. Worship has become the hot item and he’s at the top of that game. Thirteen years later, he comes out with this album and it’s sold over 600,000 now.”

Chris Tomlin

Tomlin did his first headline tour in the fall and this spring, averaged more than 2,300 paid attendees per night and grossed more than $1 million, Myers said.

The musician is also involved in an organization called Passion, which tours with fellow songwriter David Crowder and the event’s founder

inspirational speaker and author Louie Giglio. The relationship between Tomlin and Giglio is now a decade old, and there’s been a longtime business tie between Tomlin and Giglio’s wife, Shelley.

“The first time we met was actually on a trip to Africa,” Tomlin said. “It was just the three of us. Being in a different country, especially in Africa, can bond you real fast. In 2000, sixsteprecords was founded. As things began to grow for me, I knew that it was time to start thinking about management.

“I do remember talking to Shelley about it, but she didn’t know if that was really where she needed to be. I knew she did and everyone else did as well. I am glad she took that step and decided to manage this little family of artists called sixsteps.”

Not to say others had not approached Tomlin as potential managers, but the songwriter “knew that God had put us together.”

Because of his long background as a Christian performer, Tomlin spent many years booking himself, but there came a time when it got too big and he and Shelley Giglio needed to seek help. He felt CAA had the most direction and understanding.

Arriving garnered three No. 1 Christian hits, but it is not Tomlin’s first success. He released The Noise We Make on sixsteps in 2001 and Not To Us in 2002. He toured with Rebecca St. James in 2002 and Chapman in 2004-05. Meanwhile, Tomlin won two Worship Leader Magazine Praise awards and gained three Dove Award nominations.