Friday, April 7, 2006

Capitol Nashville: country music needs a Hispanic star

The Washington Post reports that Capitol Nashville CEO Mike Dungan thinks the country music market is ready for a break-out Hispanic star:

"'All we need is a hero, somebody the Hispanic community would relate to and who wants to play country music and get a song on country radio,' said Mike Dungan, president and chief executive of EMI Group Plc's Capitol Nashville, home to stars like Kenny Rogers and Keith Urban."

"'The gatekeeper here has been country radio because radio programmers won't commit airtime to any artist until they are convinced that the artist is the real deal -- a 'country artist' first and foremost,' said Dungan, who believes it is imperative the record be sung in English."

"If the artist then has success, he or she can record a similar record in Spanish or blend the two languages. Dungan is convinced that American country music fans to whom Spanish is a primary language 'would love this.'"

The article cites Freddy Fender as one of the groundbreakers with a Hispanic/country profile. This year's musical reality series Nashville Star featured Hispanic contestant Melanie Torres until this week, when she was cut in the fourth episode (story here).

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