Photo Credit: Vivian Martinez
DCMD welcomes a new feature called Women Who Rock, where we profile influential women in the music industry who are raising the bar and setting the standard.
Booking maven Sasha Lord stands out from the crowd—and that’s not a bad thing.
Lord has been the lead music programmer and promoter at Comet Ping Pong, a pizza restaurant and concert venue located south of Chevy Chase, for the past five years. Prior to-and partially during-her time there, she held a position as a field director for the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital and also ran a troop at the Prince William Juvenile Detention Center.
“The two jobs overlapped for about two years, and I definitely feel my experience at Girl Scouts working with volunteers, overseeing operations, and program planning experience was essential”, says Lord.
Transitioning from the very female world of Girl Scouts to the mostly male-dominated booking industry wasn’t always smooth. Lord recounts one experience where she went on tour with sister duo Prince Rama last summer.
“It was three ladies in one van, and it was one of the most empowering and positive experiences of my life. [However,] it was also disappointing to find that in a few cities, we met no females working at the venues except in the bartender position. I found we were also treated differently and negatively by other females in general at those shows and [in those] cities.”
Despite some negative encounters, Lord remains undeterred in her quest to be a force in the D.C. music scene, and seeks inspiration from a diverse group of powerful women.
“I have always admired females in entrepreneurial and leadership roles. For music, I admire Dolly Parton, and in history, I admire Juliette Gordon Low [founder of the Girl Scouts of America] and Madam C.J. Walker.
Lord continues to expand her influence above and beyond Comet Ping Pong. On top of handling logistics behind-the-scenes, Lord has recently picked up a new passion- DJing. “Every time I have DJed it’s been more fun, and [it’s] always a one-of-a-kind event,” she says.
This May, she’ll also host the third annual Artisphere Work Experience program, a three week event during which Lord will mentor a group of graduating high school seniors. Her protégés will work at the Artisphere and learn the ins and outs of the venue, where they will also book and promote their own Battle of the Bands competition.
“I am working to make Comet Ping Pong sustainable on its own, so I can continue to book Comet but hopefully tour manage more, [and] I am starting to focus on larger events that are cultural or have art components/collaborations”, says Lord.
In addition to her many projects, she’s currently working on shows in conjunction with Civilian Art Projects, The French Embassy and Artisphere.
Lord sees the D.C. music scene continuously growing and evolving, with more venues and promoters that challenge her to “always switch it up and grow.” She also enjoys the diversity of D.C. that she didn’t always encounter previously.
“We are lucky that in D.C., we have so many females in all the levels of the music industry. I have many role models that are female who I look up to from the area”, proclaims Lord.
Whether she’s breaking barriers in the District’s music scene or just laying down some tracks while DJing, Sasha Lord is unstoppable.