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12:01 AM Friday, 7/20/12 |   |

When Jana Kramer left “One Tree Hill” in January, her character, actress Alex Dupree, wasn’t sent to jail, kidnapped or turned into a ghost like so many characters on the CW television series. Instead, Dupree left town to go on tour as a country singer. And that’s exactly what Kramer did when she got out of her six-year contract with the show to concentrate on her music.

Kramer’s manager, Greg Hill of McGhee Entertainment, talked to Pollstar about the stigma she faced when trying to break into the industry.

“Anytime an actress or somebody from outside tries to come inside the Nashville music business, people are hesitant to give them a chance. But she was able to show people that she was committed, that she’s always been. Country for her is something that’s very natural. … People are responding because she’s able to connect and they realize that it’s genuine.”

On the plus side, Kramer was able to use “One Tree Hill” to introduce fans to her music. After Kramer worked up the courage to show OTH’s creator some of the tunes she had written, her character started singing in the next episode.

After making her Grand Ole Opry debut in April, she released her self-titled debut album in June, featuring several of the tracks she released to the public on the show. The album debuted at No. 19 on the Nielsen SoundScan Top Current Albums Chart. Her hit single “Why You Wanna” earned 55 radio adds in its first week, the most-added debut artist in the history of Country Aircheck.

CAA’s Rod Essig told Pollstar that it’s a good thing Kramer is “totally the opposite” of the manipulative starlet Dupree.

“She’s the most warm, loving person you could ever come [across.] … She’s just the best. With country music she wouldn’t have made it otherwise. You gotta be really nice.”

Essig said he’s been booking Kramer “in front of as many people as we can … because she’ll win everybody over the minute they meet her. … If we had a festival, we put her in front of a festival. She’s out with Brad Paisley right now.”

Kramer has Paisley dates scheduled through September, along with summer fair and festival appearances. Plans for late 2012 include gigs with Blake Shelton and Alan Jackson.


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