Already stars in their native Canada, popera quartet The Tenors released their second studio album, “Lead With Your Heart,” in the United States on Jan. 15 through Verve. It debuted at No. 21 on the Billboard 200 with 16,000 units sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan–its biggest success yet in the States.
3 Months Ago: Shortly after changing its name from the Canadian Tenors-=”for a more global branding reach,” the group’s Victor Micallef says–the foursome released its new album on Oct. 30 in Canada, where it went platinum 11 weeks later. “We held the U.S. release back so we could have more drivers in place here,” says Mike Rittberg, VP of artist development and promotion at Verve. Wise move: A month later the act taped a PBS special in Las Vegas, a key breakthrough, eventually airing on 280-plus channels with more than 850 telecasts. “The PBS special made a difference,” Micallef says. “[The label] saw how good it was, and then people started getting behind it.”
This Week: The PBS special aired on local stations in November, then was rebroadcast during December pledge drives, kicking off promotion for the U.S. release. “PBS is a key demo for the band,” Verve senior director of marketing product management Bob Kranes says, adding that the Tenors’ visits to multiple stations during the pledge period enabled them to personalize broadcasts. The act constantly engaged its fans on social media as well. “They’re personally on Twitter, daily,” Rittberg says. “Their fans have caught up with social media, so there isn’t a big disconnect.” The group also performed at the American Giving Awards and L.A. Live’s official tree-lighting ceremony, both broadcast on NBC.A week after partnering with USA Today for a free download of the album’s title track, the Tenors appeared on “Good Morning America,” CNN’s “Morning Express,” “Fox & Friends” and “Access Hollywood.” But for the act, the most memorable was singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the Jan. 13 Falcons-Seahawks game at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. “What a rush,” Micallef recalls. “We’ve done a lot of sporting events, and it’s always exciting crowds, but this takes the cake, by far.” Tenor Fraser Walters adds, “Everyone was going nuts. We got an amazing response.”
Next Up: The Tenors will continue the album push with more choice TV spots, including a performance on Katie Couric’s show, which will air Feb. 8, and a pledge-drive rebroadcast of their PBS special in March. Both will coincide with the Tenors’ 70-date U.S. tour, which begins Feb. 1 in Portland, Ore. Rittberg says the Tenors’ heavy emphasis on live performance, whether onstage or on camera, is a no-brainer. “They can really sing live,” he says. “You have to figure out your artist’s strengths-this is theirs. You can put them in a room where no one knows them and they turn heads.”