With the face of an ingenue and the lyrical bite of a social commentator, Kany Garcia debuted in 2007 as part of a new crop of Latin female singer-songwriters.
She struck a nerve, selling 57,000 copies of her debut, Cualquier Dia, in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and winning the 2008 Latin Grammy Award for best new artist.
Beyond the artistic success, she has become something of a poster child for a new business model: Garcia is the first artist signed to a management deal by Day 1, Sony Latin's artist development company.
Now she's preparing for the September 22 release of her second album, Boleto De Entrada. The set is receiving traditional radio promotion but is also backed by a series of innovative marketing campaigns by brands that include Dove, Ford, Coors and Centennial, a Puerto Rican wireless carrier. All campaigns play on Garcia's identity as a multifaceted songwriter, as exemplified by the album itself.
This album defines me to a fault, Garcia says. I'm a different person at home, on the stage and as a composer. And I wanted my album to have different facets.
Boleto De Entrada veers from a reggae-tinged, danceable first single to acoustic, pared-downed ballads.
Garcia's multiple sponsorships, however, are designed to promote the artist herself, rather than a particular track. Dove, for example, is using her image for a Spanish-language campaign titled Ama Tu Beleza (Love Your Beauty), which, like other Dove campaigns, seeks to raise women's self-esteem. The campaign includes press, radio, posters and billboards as well as in-store appearances by Garcia in Wal-Mart stores. In addition, 100 girls will be chosen to participate in a self-esteem chat with Garcia. Wal-Mart will also feature Garcia in its Soundcheck Acceso Total series, for which artists record an exclusive acoustic live show and an interview.
Centennial, which in 2007 used Garcia in a multimedia campaign promoting a contest to find new talent, will once again use her as the face of the competition and has filmed spots with her. A Coors Puerto Rico campaign is also in development.
Kany does what every singer-songwriter, male or female, should do, which is remain very true to themselves and be unique and write about things that they care about, says Ruben Leyva, managing director of Sony U.S. Latin.
Indeed, at a time when other singer-songwriters like Shakira and Nelly Furtado are on the charts with uptempo dance songs, Garcia is following the beat of her own drum with the sound and sentiment most associated with the tradition of Latin songwriters with powerful voices.
I have two totally different careers, Garcia says. I consider myself a composer, but I also consider myself a singer, independent of my writing.