May 2019 Attorney Spotlight: Christian Barker - Articles

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Posted by: Stephanie Vonnahme on May 28, 2019
This month we are shining the spotlight on Nashville entertainment attorney, Christian Barker — the 2018-2019 President of the TBA Young Lawyers Division. Christian has done a superb job as YLD president, and his passion and newfangled approach to the position will be missed. However, before sailing off into the sunset, check-out the interesting facts we learned in our interview with Christian: 
What's the best gift you've ever received?
The summer after I graduated from high school, one of my best friends gave me a shout to let me know that his cousin and a couple of her girl friends were coming into town from North Carolina to visit for a few days and he wanted to know if I, along with a couple of other guys, would like to go with them bowling and to show them around town. What 18-year-old would turn down such an invite!?! The invitation to join him in hosting the girls was the best gift I've ever received, as it was the first night that I met Brittany, his cousin, who is now my wife.
How do you relax?
For me, self-reflection and space to think are key factors in achieving max relaxation. Nothing beats a long drive down Tennessee backroads with the windows down and no destination in mind to self-reflect and relax.  
What was the most indulgent purchase you’ve ever made?
When I was growing up, one of my most fond recollections was the bonding that my father and I had over Indy car racing. My father is a huge car enthusiast and from as early as I can remember, Memorial Day weekends revolved around gathering to watch the Indy 500. It was a date marked on our calendar that we looked forward to all year. So, shortly after graduating from college, I spent my entire first paycheck of my first ever job on tickets to take my Dad to the Indy 500. We were in the homestretch in 2006 to see the closest finish in Indy 500 history when Sam Hornish Jr. beat Marco Andretti by a fraction of a nose. It was the first time a driver successfully made a pass for the lead on the final lap for victory in history.
If you weren’t a lawyer, what profession would you be?
Growing up an avid basketball player and huge fan of the game, I can say that if I weren't an attorney or didn't work in the music industry, I would have found my way into coaching basketball. In fact, I initially pursued several college basketball assistant coaching positions upon graduation from college before turning my interest to other areas. Who knows what would have happened if I'd leaned harder in that direction?
What is your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place is wherever my wife Brittany and our four children -- Emmanuelle, Lochlin, Aspen and Kellaway -- are as they ARE my world.  
That being said, in the summer of 2011, as part of my Master in Environmental Law & Policy program (another dream for a rainy day), I had the opportunity to spend several weeks in Montana as part of a survey course on public land management. During the program, we backpacked across several national and state parks and forests, including spending some substantial time in Glacier National Park. The views from Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier were the first time in my life I'd ever questioned what I was actually seeing in front of me as real. It was an unbelievably majestic visual that I'll never forget and hope to return to one day with my family in tow.
What’s next on your bucket list?
Professionally ... I have been lucky to be a part of several music industry careers and projects from either a management or legal perspective. My goal for the next decade is to win an award on the creative side. Whether that be as a publisher, producer, writer, or graphic designer, I'd like to be tied to an award-winning project creatively.
As for travel ... the only region of the country that I've never spent substantial time in is the Pacific Northwest -- I'd like to do that sometime soon. My top five international travel bucket list right now is Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the Swiss Alps, Japan and Egypt.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Cynicism. And people that chew with their mouth open. If you're a cynical open mouth chewer, you're dead to me ... haha.
What fictional character do you most relate to? Why?
Although not a purely fictional character, when I was a child, I was obsessed with the Disney portrayals of Davy Crockett. A true-blue East Tennessean, he was adventurous yet introspective. A statesman with an appreciation for the wild. Rambunctious but also both in tune to and in opposition to social injustices across race classes. I'm sure that there are variances between the fictional portrayal of Davy by Disney and the actual person, but I related to the juxtaposition of his character tremendously -- always teetering between rowdy and stately.
What are three books that influenced your life?
The three books that have had the greatest impact on me are The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism by Timothy Keller, Life, Sex, and Ideas: The Good Life Without God by philosopher A.C. Grayling, and George Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow.
Although the first two books at first glance may seem contradictory to one another, they capture the foundation for self-reflection and existential contemplation that has long been thought-provoking for me. Keller asserts that while non-believers often key in on scientific explanations for human decision-making and feelings, that there are many unexplained appreciations -- e.g. appreciation for the minutia of nature or art -- for which there is no scientific explanation, thus evidencing clues of a higher being. On the other hand, in Life, Sex, and Ideas: The Good Life Without God, which houses a series of essays by Grayling, "A Moral Education," is an essay about the importance of exposure to literature and the arts as vital in the development of empathy from a young age. Both of these books are very thought provoking to me and the impact brought has been a clarifying comfort.
Chernow's biography of George Washington holds a spot in my top three as well. The fascinating yet fragile evolution of our democracy is astonishing when assessing through Washington's story. From surveying southwestern Virginia and running into battling Native American tribes at just the age of 14 to leading military charges with bullets whizzing by his head, Washington was absolutely fearless. He also lived his life with a tremendous deference to service over self.