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Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Local label gears up for award

While perusing the Latin nominations for Wednesday's Grammy Awards, everything seems to be in order. The corporate conquistador EMI Latin has its heavyweight boy Oscar de la Hoya nominated for Best Latin Pop Album, and Sony Discos is pressing Latina rockette Shakira for the same prize. WEA Latina has a few nods in multiple categories.
   But when you get further down to the Tejano category, the omnipresent big-business powerhouses are nowhere to be seen. Corpus Christi's Freddie Records is the label-of-record for all five nominated bands: Jimmy Gonzalez y El Grupo Mazz, Leonardo Gonzales y Los Magnificos, Jaime y Los Chamacos, The Legends and Solido.
   "Obviously it's pretty exciting to know that one of your guys will bring it home," said Freddie Martinez Jr., senior vice president of the recording company. "But it's still nerve-racking because we don't know who is actually going to win."
   In addition to the five Tejano nominations, another three artists signed by Freddie Records are nominated in the Mexican/Mexican-American Regional Music Album category: Ramon Ayala, Grupo Atrapado and Los Terribles del Norte.
   Martinez, his wife and his father are in Los Angeles for the ceremony , along with all of the label's nominated artists and some of his music representatives from L.A. and San Antonio. His brother and vice president of the company, John Martinez, is staying in Corpus Christi to take care of the business.
   Freddie Martinez Jr. said all of his artists are looking forward to the awards ceremony, and the ideal situation would rely on a freakish turnout.
   "I'm hoping that it will be a 5-way tie in one category and a 3-way tie in another," he said. "Dad's already there, and he was nominated two years ago, so he's experienced it and knows what it's all about."
   Freddie Records, which was started by Alfredo "Freddie" Ricardo Martinez Sr. in the '70s, generally has a sound that leans more toward norteno, which draws on northern Mexico-style play, said John Martinez.

Pop culture and media critic Ricardo Baca can be reached at 886-3688 or by e-mail at

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