Jaci Velasquez? Spanish-language
debut bows on Sony Discos
by Trisha Hubbs
Jaci Velasquez is diving head-first into the Latin music market.
Following on the heels of the recent Latin pop craze that?s hit the
U.S., Velasquez released her new Spanish-language album, Llegar a Ti (Sony
Discos), Aug. 31. Releasing simultaneously in the U.S. to general and
Christian markets, the CD is also planned for release in Mexico and South
America in the future.
This album represents a pivotal point in Velasquez? music career, one
which could result in major international pop acclaim if Latin listeners
respond. It?s an opportunity that follows last year?s complicated
negotiations between Velasquez? Christian label Myrrh Records and Sony
Discos, a label catering to the Latin music market.
Sony Discos? president, Oscar Lloyd, compares Velasquez to the late
Latin superstar Selena and to Celine Dion in her abilities as a performer
and vocalist. "She?s young, she?s got a world ahead of her, and
we think with the resources that Sony Discos has made available, we can
build a very successful Latin music career for her."
"I love challenges, and this is a challenge for me," says
Velasquez, who has no plans to leave the Christian music market. "It?s
something I?m nervous and very excited about."
Part of the challenge facing Velasquez is the pressure to adjust her
standards. "I?m not willing to compromise who I am," she says.
"First of all, before anything, I?m a Christian and then after
that, everything else follows."
John Lannert, who covers Latin music for Billboard, believes
there is plenty of room for Velasquez in the Latin market simply because
she is unique. "There are very few female solo artists that have
really made much of an impact. It?s (also) a good move for Sony from the
standpoint that Christian music or spiritual music is definitely starting
to gain popularity in the Latin market."
But Lannert also feels Velasquez must aggressively invest time and
energy in her Hispanic audience. "She certainly has the vocal talent
to make it big in the Latin market," says Lannert. "It?s just
a matter of if she?s got the time to go out and visit all the radio and
TV stations and properly promote her CD like she does on the Christian
While Sony Discos is not marketing Velasquez as a Christian artist,
they aren?t obscuring her beliefs either. Llegar a Ti features
five brand new songs as well as Spanish versions of six tracks previously
released on her U.S. Christian albums?songs like "DeCreer En
Ti" ("On My Knees) and "Al Mundo Dios Amo" ("God
So Loved"). The title track, "Llegar a Ti," is saturating
Spanish radio stations and is also being played on stations around the
U.S. in Miami, San Antonio, Los Angeles and New York.
"I would love to be the (Latin) artist whom parents can buy for
their kids and know that what they are listening to is totally and utterly
pure and good for them," says Velasquez.
Velasquez is scheduled to head back to the studio next spring to record
her third Christian album with Myrrh, which should be in stores by fall.
"Originally published in the October 1999 issue of CCM magazine,
copyright 1999, CCM Communications. Reprinted with permission. For CCM
subscription information, please call: 800/333-9643."