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Tego Calderón Signs Global Deal With Atlantic
9 June 2005
Latin Rap Superstar Pacts via Jiggiri Records
First Reggaetón Artist to Ink With Major Label
NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- Jun 09, 2005 -- Atlantic Records has announced the signing of Latin rap superstar Tego Calderón via a long-term, worldwide deal with Calderón's own Jiggiri Records label. Heralded as the king of the Puerto Rican-bred music known as reggaetón, Calderón is the first artist in this rapidly burgeoning genre to ink a global pact with a major label. His debut Jiggiri/Atlantic album, to be entitled "THE UNDERDOG," is slated for release in October.
The announcement was made today by Atlantic Co-Chairman/COO Craig Kallman, who commented: "With the continuing creative and commercial explosion of new Latin music in the U.S., I am thrilled that one of its signature artists, the brilliant Tego Calderón, has joined the Atlantic family. The reggaetón and Latin hip-hop movements are rapidly merging into the mainstream of American music and media, and Tego's innovative style, street credibility, and charismatic presence have already made him a cultural icon, placing him at the leading edge of the vibrant new urban-driven Latin scene. Atlantic is committed to the aggressive development of Latin artists, nurturing their music and broadening their reach into the global mainstream. The signing of Tego is a proud moment in Atlantic history, signaling our enthusiasm and our long-term belief in this boundary-crossing music."
"This is a new stage in my life, and I am very excited about my venture with Atlantic Records," stated Tego Calderón. "I have the freedom I have been looking for, and I am proud to have Atlantic's and Craig's support backing me up with a team that believes in me. For the first time, I feel like I have control of my career."
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Tego Calderón -- AKA "El Abayarde" -- has earned international acclaim for his unique musical style, which mixes salsa and Afro-Caribbean rhythms with hip-hop and dancehall reggae influences. Lyrically, he has forged a revolutionary flow inspired by his authentic street roots, creating a social chronicle that openly addresses such issues as racism, poverty, and class oppression. Combining hip '60s slang with modern urban language, and set apart by his unmistakable Afro hairstyle and captivating stage presence, Calderón's appeal transcends economic, social, and age barriers, as he creates music with truly universal appeal.
Growing up in a poor neighborhood, Calderón was exposed by his parents to the groundbreaking music of salsa legend Ismael Rivera as well as to Latin jazz. Going on to study percussion and composition, Calderón then began forging his own multicultural rap style, earning a reputation as a street poet with a fresh musical approach. Establishing himself as a new voice of the barrio, he made a series of appearances on best-selling Latin hip-hop compilations.
In 2002, Calderón released his solo debut, "EL ABAYARDE." Breaking sales records in the underground reggaetón genre, it sold a remarkable 50,000 copies in just one week, and Calderón became an overnight Latin superstar. Just three months after making his solo premiere, Calderón was greeted with a tumultuous response at a sold-out concert at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan. The following day, he made history when he became the first rap artist to perform at the traditional National Day of Salsa celebration. Since then, Calderón's career has exploded, his success spreading throughout Latin communities in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Canada, and the U.S.
As Latin rappers have been embraced by the American hip-hop culture, Calderón has been featured on a variety of mixtapes and been invited to add his trademark vocal style to collaborations and remixes by the likes of Fat Joe's Terror Squad (the #1 smash, "Lean Back"), Usher, N.O.R.E., 50 Cent, Cypress Hill, and Wyclef Jean, along with fellow Latin stars Roselyn Sánchez, Toño Rosario, and Aventura, among others.
A household name in dozens of Spanish-speaking countries around the world, Calderón has now become a major, influential presence in the U.S. market. When he first headlined New York's Madison Square Garden in August 2003, the New York Times heralded him as "the most forward-looking performer" of the dozen artists on the bill, noting that "Mr. Calderon made the best case for reggaetón as music with room to grow." In October 2004, when Calderón returned to the stage of the Garden as the star of the breakthrough "Megatón 2004" reggaetón event, the audience had swelled from 12,000 to a sold-out 20,000. "The crowd erupted into a frenzy," noted the Village Voice. "The fruit of Tego's crossover appeal was palpable. Not only did attendance surge by thousands from 2003, but now masses of non-Spanish-speaking gringos were bopping their heads and flailing their arms to the universal beat."
From his ovation-gathering appearance at New York's annual Puerto Rican Day parade in 2004 to becoming the first Spanish-language artist to be featured on New York's Power-105, Calderón has been breaking cultural barriers. Earning widespread critical acclaim, he has been featured in the New York Times, Vibe, Fader (cover), Urban Latino (cover), Fuego, and many other publications. In its recent cover story on Calderón and reggaetón, the Village Voice noted that Calderón "almost single-handedly... steered his country's dominant youth culture out of the island and Latino neighborhoods, and into the American stream of pop consciousness."
Among Calderón's achievements are Latin Grammy and Billboard award nominations, the 2004 Source Hip-Hop Music Award for International Artist of the Year, a Tu Música award, and nominations for La Gente and Lo Nuestro awards. Calderón's debut was followed in January 2004 by a remix collection entitled "EL ENEMY DE LOS GUASÍBIRI." Primarily a compilation of material recorded prior to the launch of his solo career, its heavy street influence reflected Calderón's belief that traditional salsa music needed to be in closer touch with the reality of the young Latin audience.
Dan Klores Communications