After celebrating the 25th anniversary of releasing a Christmas album that changed the music industry, Chip Davis, founder of the multi platinum selling group Mannheim Steamroller, reflects on the beginnings of what has become nothing less than an amazing musical journey.
“I remember when I created Mannheim Steamroller Christmas,” Davis says of his landmark 1984 album. “I took it around to all the major buyers and distributors. Back in those days, there were about 20 or 30 independent distributors and hundreds of retail stores and chains. There were a lot places to go and sell. I remember taking it out and showing it off and playing it for people, and the first thing out of their mouths was: ‘This is a Christmas record; that'll never work!’
That across-the-board skepticism only fueled Davis’ determination. “For me, it was like, ‘OK, tell me something else I can't do…’ And today, with 9 million copies sold of that one record, we can look back and say: ‘Well, we were right – you can successfully market Christmas music.’"
When it comes to the music he has created and the massive audience he has built behind Mannheim Steamroller, Davis has rarely been wrong. From his unlikely base of operations in Omaha, Nebraska, Davis has sold over 40 million records – 27 million in the Christmas genre– making the group one of the top 50 biggest selling musical artists of all time and THE biggest selling Christmas artist of all time. He’s produced hundreds of sold-out Mannheim Steamroller concerts around the world, and his American Gramaphone record label stands as one of the most successful independent music franchises in history.