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Hotstar


12:00 AM Monday, 7/29/02 |   |

At Universal Records, there's a calendar for Paulina Rubio. It's kept with the precision of an atomic clock.

There are weekly international conferences within Universal Music Group. As Kim Garner, senior VP of marketing for the label, told POLLSTAR, somebody has to be the official "holder of the calendar."

This will shock no one, but there are a lot of busy artists out there this summer, running from radio show to radio show and doing interviews via cell phones from airport restaurants.

The difference with Rubio, though, is she has to cross over into the English-speaking market while maintaining her superstar status in the Spanish-language countries around the world.

That literally means being twice as busy. There's an interview at an English-language radio station to introduce herself to a new market, then it's off to the Spanish radio station where her presence causes pandemonium.

"It's more and more (hectic)," Rubio told POLLSTAR. "It's beautiful. We cannot stop.

We're so happy and we're so inspired in being able to express our music to the whole world."

She's used to being in front of massive crowds, headlining Spain's Son Latinos summer festival last year with 100,000 in attendance.

Born to Mexican film star Susana Dosamantes, Rubio was a teen idol, playing in a teeny- bopper group called Timbiriche in the early '80s. She's been in the spotlight her whole life and her fan base has watched her grow up.

From this summer to next spring, though, Rubio gets to be a new artist again with her first English-language record. Last year's Paulina sold 3 million copies. The new effort, Border Girl, debuted at No. 11 on SoundScan.

"We're going to rest when we die," she said. "We're going to Asia and Australia and we'll be in North and Latin America June and July. We need to go to Germany again and to Italy in the middle of July before we go to Argentina and Brazil. Do you like to travel? Don't."

With the success of Border Girl (it debuted at No. 2 in Los Angeles), it is safe to say Rubio is a crossover artist. Believe it or not, she's Mexico's first. Shakira, Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias, Gloria Estefan, etc., have Columbian, Caribbean, Iberian or East Coast backgrounds.

She has something in common with Ricky Martin, though: management. Angelo Medina and Ricardo Cordero helped shepherd Martin's career.

"They've experienced this on a global level already with Ricky," said David Zedeck of Evolution Talent, who just took on responsible agent duties for Rubio. "They're certainly not new at this. They want to make sure their i's are dotted and their t's are crossed when they come out with a game plan. They like being buttoned up; my meeting with Angelo was a pleasure and very straightforward."

The game plan includes doing a short tour of the major markets in Mexico this fall followed by a thorough tour of the whole country, with 8 to 12 U.S. dates in between. That's certainly not written in stone; Zedeck was on the job for 10 days at press time and was still formulating the plan. But the man who is also known for being RA for Britney Spears, *Nsync and the Backstreet Boys said the U.S. dates will likely show up between October and next January.

Rubio's qualities as a smart businesswoman and someone who's really involved with decision making were reiterated to POLLSTAR from several sources.

There's an obvious intangible here, though. Get used to reading "muy caliente" because English-language writers are bound to use it this summer. Hell, we just did.

Most likely, it will appear in Maxim magazine in September when Rubio is on its cover.

She recently was the pretty face on People en Espa¤ol's beautiful people issue.

Garner said Rubio is probably Universal's number one pop priority, but breaking the label's first Spanish-speaking crossover requires three times as much effort. The Latin fan base in the U.S. can't be alienated while the new fans are brought on board. The international market also has to be maintained.

That's why there are four Spanish tracks on the album and why Rubio has to do so much press.

"We all flew down to Miami," Garner said, explaining how Border Girl got launched.

"We met with all of our Latino company, we had the Mexican company come up and we had a big meeting. We had international people at the meeting, too.

"It was a collaborative effort, with us leading the charge, to break this girl worldwide," she said. "It's been a while since we've had an artist on this label where we've had the commitment worldwide. It's very exciting."

When POLLSTAR worked with a PR exec at Universal for the story, it seemed to be all Paulina, all the time, morning, noon and night. For instance, a week in Rubio's life included performing on the "Tonight Show" the same evening her album dropped, June 18th, after celebrating her birthday the night before and playing L.A.'s Wango Tango radio show that weekend.

"Right now, you need to be in balance and strong," Rubio said. "We all deserve to say that we believe in each other."


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