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Jon Secada Goes GNR and Springsteen One Better

Jon Secada is the latest pop artist planning to release two albums simultaneously, but with a different twist from such predecessors as Guns N’ Roses, Bruce Springsteen and Harry Connick Jr.

In a sign of the growing internationalization of pop, Secada, whose debut album on SBK Records has been on the national pop charts for almost a year, is preparing to record two completely different albums--one in English, the other in Spanish. No release date has been set.

He’s not talking about Spanish and English versions of virtually the same album--which many artists, including Secada, have done (indeed, the Spanish version of Secada’s debut album is currently No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin album chart and won the Latin pop Grammy last week).

Secada is going to tailor the material and instrumental tone of the albums to separate markets. There’ll even be different titles and artwork.

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“Although the markets are similar and the Spanish version of Jon’s album has done very well, everyone would be better served if we (made separate albums),” says Don Rubin, executive vice president of A&R; of the EMI Records Group, which includes the SBK label.

“We may do a couple of songs that are both English and Spanish, but we can make two distinctly good albums for both audiences. Inherently, some songs just sing better if they’re in the language they were originally written in.”

This move comes at a time when Spanish-speaking communities are growing in strength around the country, most significantly in Los Angeles--where traditional Spanish music outlet KLAX-FM (97.9) ranked No. 1 among all radio stations recently--New York and Miami.

Mike Missile, vice president of Radio & Musica, a weekly Spanish radio trade publication, hailed Secada’s move.

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“He’s going in the right direction, very respectful of the audience, and I hope it becomes a trend,” Missile says. “Too many times people think that anything in English can just be done in Spanish. A lot of people just do (Spanish versions of singles) and drop them on the market, but that doesn’t create full acceptance of the act in the Spanish-speaking market. But there’s great sales potential in a real Spanish album.”

Missile says that at this point, 100,000 U.S. album sales constitutes a “hit” in the Spanish-language market, with 300,000 being the goal of major stars. Only one, Luis Miguel, has reached the 500,000 level.

“Secada may be able to do that too,” he says. “The table is set.”


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