Kiwi singer Brooke Fraser finally cracks U.S. charts

Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:17am EDT

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NEW YORK (Billboard) - New Zealand pop singer Brooke Fraser has cracked the U.S. charts with an album that has already been out almost two years in her homeland, thanks to a spot on iTunes' editors' picks list.

Fraser's debut album "Albertine," released Stateside on May 27 via her own Wood and Bone label, hit No. 90 on the Billboard 200 and No. 4 on Top Christian & Gospel Albums during the week ended July 6.

Originally released via Sony BMG in New Zealand in May 2006 and her current home of Australia in 2007, "Albertine" has sold 16,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, half of which were during the week she was featured on iTunes.

"You obviously see the power of iTunes -- it can sell that many records and can deliver that chart position," says her manager, Campbell Smith. "We're not naive enough to think we're going to maintain that without actually working other avenues."

He says Fraser's camp will further promote the album via radio and more touring.

Fraser, 24, who is used to playing larger venues Down Under, enjoys the "nonglamorous" approach to touring the United States.

"It really is just jumping in a 12-seater van with our gear piled in the back and driving from city to city, playing some great, renowned music venues," she says.

In addition to mainstream radio, "Albertine" is being promoted to Christian formats, a genre in which Fraser has had much success, even though Smith says he pitches her as a secular artist who happens to be a Christian.

After a break in Australia, Fraser sets out on a six-show southern U.S. tour in early August, and dates are in the works for September and October.

Reuters/Billboard

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