With his blond, almost Scandinavian good looks, Venezuelan Carlos Baute doesn't fit the typical Latin American pop idol mold. But he has connected with Spanish fans who are setting download sales records for his latest single, "Colgando En Tus Manos" (Warner Music Spain).
Baute's sultry duet with Spanish star Marta Sánchez is certified eight times platinum (320,000 copies) in Spain-unprecedented sales for the download era, according to Warner. The tune, featured on Baute's album of string-drenched love songs, "De Mi Puño Y Letra," has spent 25 nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Promusicae/Media Control singles chart. In addition to his album being certified platinum (80,000 copies), Baute hosts the TV dating show "Elígeme" and is the face of department store El Corte Inglés' summer sales ad campaign.
"I guess it's been my year," says the singer, who relocated to Madrid from Caracas nine years ago. "But it's not just the TV show. The single had been No. 1 for 13 weeks when the show started, and the album had been on the charts for a while. It's just all come together. When one door opens, others open-proposals have been flooding in."
Baute has improved the show's ratings, boosting the Cuatro TV channel's share for the 5 p.m.-6 p.m. time slot from 8% to 10% since the show started in March, according to the channel. But the singer says he was "scared" about hosting.
"As I'm a musician, why would I want to be No. 1 on TV if I'm No. 1 in the record charts?" he asks.
Warner international exploitation manager Adriana González says there was a concern about "image saturation." But she adds, "This really is 'the year of Baute.' Somehow it feels normal for him to appear everywhere."
Warner wants to expand Baute's international presence. The album has already gone gold (5,000 copies) in Venezuela and has also been released in Colombia and Chile. It will arrive in Mexico Aug. 25 and be out in the United States through Warner Music Latina in September. Baute is then slated to make a U.S. promo trip in October during breaks in his 50-plus-date Spanish tour, which began in June and ends in October.