Pink Martini is described by many members of the band as a little orchestra, had a very unusual start. Thomas Lauderdale, pianist and founder of Pink Martini was involved in politics. Before he became a professional musician, Lauderdale had set high expectations: he wanted to become Mayor of his home town, Portland, Oregon. In 1994, he discovered that after attending many galas and fundraisers, that although the party was lively, the music that the musicians played during these events were not. It was then and there he set to fix the situation by creating Pink Martini, who originally set out and created lively and sometimes interactive music for the audiences. Lauderdale would draw from various world musical influences including jazz, pop, and classical music to compose songs about libraries, civil rights, and other political messages. In 1995, he contacted former Harvard classmate China Forbes, requesting that she join Pink Martini. She agreed and a couple years later, their first single “Sympathique” was released. Although the album, Sympathique didn’t quite click with American audiences, the album was certified gold in Greece and the title track and group was nominated for two Victoires de la Musique (the French equivalent to America’s Grammy Award) for Song of the Year” and “Best New Artist” in 2000, respectively. One thing that is unique about Pink Martini is that a lot of the band are world travelers and are polylingual. This makes it possible to branch out to audiences that may not have been otherwise accessible by not only using the audience’s native language, but letting their culture influence their music as well. In 2004, Pink Martini’s second self-released album Hang on Little Tomato, was released and received even more international fame. Sung in seven different languages (French, Italian, Japanese, Croatian, Spanish, Greek and English), this album managed to sell over 550,000 copies, take the number one slot on Amazon.com, earned gold album status in Turkey, Greece, and Turkey, and was certified as double platinum in France. In 2007, Pink Martini found its American audience with the album Hey Eugene! Just like Hang on Little Tomato, songs are sung in several languages including: French, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, and English. Hey Eugine! debuted at number 30 on Billboard’s 200 Chart and was certified double platinum in France.
In 2010, the band released Joy to the World, a multi-denominational album featuring holiday songs from all over the globe. Sold in Starbucks during the 2010 and 2011 holiday seasons, the album has gotten glowing reviews and has sold 2.5 million copies worldwide. After releasing A Retrospective, a greatest hits album in 2011. Pink Martini was introduced to the Japanese audience with 1969, a collaborative effort with Saori Yuki. 1969 reached number two on the Japanese music charts and was certified platinum in Japan. In 2011, Storm Large took over singing for the group while China Forbes healed from vocal cord surgery: when looking for tickets, there will oftentimes be a mention of who is going to be performing during a specific concert date. In 2013, Pink Martini released their seventh self-released album, Be Happy, a collaborative album featuring Phyllis Diller, who passed away shortly after its release.
Pink Martini Dream a Little Dream & Pink Martini 2015 Tour
In 2015, Pink Martini released Dream a Little Dream, a collaborative effort with the von Trapps, a Polish group that consists of the descendants of the von Trapp family, the family portrayed in the biographical musical Sound of Music. Depending on the show, you may see either China Forbes or Storm Large performing vocals. Pink Martini has planned an extended stay in the US, starting in November 2015 and continuing on into the next year. Featuring tracks from their entire collection as well as accompaniment by various orchestras, watching a Pink Martini concert will be a refreshing experience for the music lover.