“This was truly the first time the masses saw her, and the feedback has been sensational. And the sales look like they’re going to be commensurate with that great performance.”
——Jack Rovner


Vector Records’ Jack Rovner Lays Out a Marketing Plan Fit for a Queen
Queen Latifah’s first album as a singer, The Dana Owens Album (Vector/Flavor Unit/Creative Battery/A&M) has already gone gold. But with her high profile as host of Sunday’s Grammys, which included a knockout performance of songs from the album, the project is poised to take a major leap forward.

Early tracking reports from retail indicate that the album stands to log a remarkable sales gain of 130-135% on next week’s album chart, bringing its weekly sales up to around 40k-45k and landing it back in the Top 50.

“This was truly the first time the masses saw her, and the feedback has been sensational,” says Vector Records President Jack Rovner, referring to Latifah’s Grammy turn. “And the sales look like they’re going to be commensurate with that great performance.”

Now the question is how to leverage the post-Grammy boost to take the project to the next level. Vector’s plans for The Dana Owens Album are long-range; the company to work it through the end of the year.

“I know this is a platinum-plus record, and it’s tracking that way,” Rovner says. “We’re closing in on over 750k shipped. We’ll get there.”

Rovner admits that working with a multitalented artist such as Queen Latifah can be challenging from a scheduling standpoint—she’s currently filming her next movie, Last Holiday, in Prague, for example—but he stands in admiration of her dedication and stamina.

In order to make the Grammys, he says, “she flew something like 15 hours, all the way from Prague, didn’t arrive until Friday morning, hosted the show, performed, and then at three in the morning Sunday night, flew back to Prague. What a trouper!”

That said, Rovner and team are focusing on lining up “event dates” to take advantage of Latifah’s charisma and ability to sell albums. “Every time she gets out there, the record goes through the roof,” he notes. A deal is in the works to have Latifah appear on Oprah at the end of March. She’ll also take part in a VH1 superstar blowout on April 11. And, in addition to an extended direct-response TV campaign, talks are ongoing for her to film a live-performance special for PBS, possibly as soon as April or May.

“We’ve received a ton of offers since the Grammys,” Rovner says.

Production of Last Holiday is set to wrap in March, after which Rovner is hopeful that Latifah will have time for a string of live shows, though he says an extended tour in support of the album is unlikely due to her demanding schedule.

A video for “Simply Beautiful,” a duet with Al Green (who wrote the song), is currently on BET and VH1, as well as AOL Music, Yahoo! Music and other major online portals. Online promotions and marketing remain a focus and continue to be headed up by Internet guru Ken Krasner.

It all adds up to a broad-based effort to expose as many people as possible to a side of Queen Latifah they likely haven’t seen or heard before, and to let the project’s high quality do the rest. “This is a big word-of-mouth record,” Rovner says. “Once you make enough people aware of it, people begin turning each other on to it.”

And what’s next? “She’s really into doing more of this type of work, so hopefully we’ll get her back into the studio,” Rovner adds. “She’s very proud of the record, and the feedback she’s gotten has made her feel extremely good and confident about this added element to her career. She truly is multitalented.”