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COLUMBIA NAILS NALICK DEBUT

California Singer-Songwriter Reaps Benefits of Nine-Month Word-of-Mouth Campaign
She’s 20, she’s talented, and now, Anna Nalick has a debut album on Columbia.

Wreck of the Day, which streeted Tuesday (4/19), is the result of a nine-month development campaign by the label, which, despite the strength of single “Breathe (2 A.M.),” has seen a concerted effort to introduce her as an artist, not just a song.

 “We started the record in September, and at Adult Top 40, she’s #9 right now,” says Columbia EVP Creative Marketing and Promotion Charlie Walk. “Our strategy has been to slowly but surely infiltrate the marketplace through radio, online and word-of-mouth kind of places like coffee shops.”

The video for “Breathe” was added to VH1 last week, and began in Medium rotation Tuesday, the same day the album was released. The video also simultaneously went online at AOL Music, Yahoo! Music and iTunes.

The 20-year-old Glendora, CA, native, who writes her own material, also has the benefit of being just about the only female singer-songwriter breaking at the moment—something that could help her garner attention from gatekeepers and consumers alike.

Nalick signed with Columbia in October 2003, deferring college plans. She then entered the studio with Christopher Thorn and Brad Smith (members of Blind Melon, now a production team) and Eric Rosse (Tori Amos) as producers.

With the album in hand, the coffee shops Walk mentioned became an important starting point. A five-song sampler was prepared, as were special coffee sleeves printed with Nalick’s picture and online information. “Wherever we saw market airplay early on, we made sure we covered the right coffee houses—and it wasn’t necessarily Starbucks. They were the places where we found that the soccer moms, adults and even young people went,” Walk says. “We felt that a big part of this was just giving the samplers out in the right markets to start familiarizing her and to let everyone know this is a true artist in development.”

Meanwhile, as the radio story developed at Adult Top 40 and AAA—and “Breathe” is now at Hot AC and crossing to Top 40—online support began to kick in as well, with AOL Music, Yahoo! Music and iTunes all seeing strong demand. The result was 3,000 album pre-orders online—an impressive number for a new artist.

Nalick is about to embark on a Borders tour through the end of April, after which she’ll open for Gavin DeGraw in May. Upcoming TV includes Regis, The Tonight Show and Today. Her music’s been featured in Joan of Arcadia and One Tree Hill on TV and in the new Ashton Kutcher/Amanda Peet flick A Lot Like Love. Nalick also made Rolling Stone’s “The Next List.”

Walk says patience has been key. “We’ve really tried to nurture her in the most organic way a record label can, and be smart about it—not put too much pressure on her, but really let people identify with her,” he says. Still, things are lining up for a solid debut for Wreck, with projections pointing to a first week of over 30k.

“But it’s not even about the first week,” Walk says. “It’s about this record starting somewhere and spreading for months and months. This could be a two-year record.”

HITS LIST: AMPERSANDS
Dynamic duos (12/3a)
TAYLOR'S TREMENDOUS YEAR
She'd make one helluva CEO. (12/3a)
THEY CALL THE WINDFALL MARIAH (HOLIDAY EDITION)
Ch-chingle bells (12/3a)
SONG REVENUE:
BOWS OF HOLLY
Adele is money. (12/3a)
UTA MUSIC EXPANDS IN NASHVILLE
Reshuffling the deck (12/3a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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