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That Was Then

Recent years have been unkind to Alejandra Guzman

To stage her comeback, Castellanos suggested Guzman spend more time in Miami, where it would be easier for the two to collaborate. He founded Cast Entertainment exclusively to represent her, and in a rather unusual move, retained the services of Guzman's former manager in Mexico, Luis Olmos. "He's been a friend for many years, someone whom I trust. He represents Alejandra in Mexico so that I don't have to be there physically," explains Castellanos.

According to him, the wheeling and dealing with BMG was not as painful as it might have been. "I think I went in with such enthusiasm, so convinced that Alejandra would once again be the “Queen of Rock,' that it just rubbed off on everyone," laughs Castellanos.

The deal also was a lucrative one. Although neither Castellanos nor BMG would reveal exact figures, Castellanos admitted he got Guzman what is probably her best contract ever, worth millions. And it is secure for three albums, to be fully promoted by the label.

Business taken care of, Castellanos turned to Desmond Child -- the Cuban-American music veteran who made a name for himself writing and/or producing for Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Cher, Kiss, Hall & Oates, Bonnie Tyler, and Michael Bolton, among many others -- for creative direction. Child's forays into the Latin-music world had been rare, yet very, very successful. It was he who collaborated with Puerto Rican Robi Draco Rosa on the hit song that made Ricky Martin a worldwide hip-shaking phenomenon, "Livin' la Vida Loca."

"That was essential. To find someone with a name, who could give me back the sound of pure rock," says Guzman. "To show that we could make good rock in Spanish. It was a matter of going back to basics, of doing whatever had to be done to put out a good product. And Desmond gave me that chance."

Child didn't know much about Guzman at first. He did believe enough in her voice and delivery, however, to make her his first project entirely in Spanish. "Alejandra is an intense woman. Intense in everything she does, and she has given all she's got for this album," said Child at a press conference held in his North Miami Beach mansion last summer, when both artist and producer discussed their collaboration on Soy. With nary a hint of modesty, he added, "My goal is to put her back on top."

Easier said than done, perhaps. "Alejandra Guzman has come back strongly because of who she is," observes Diego Aguilar, of the Miami offices of Broadcast Data Systems, which monitors radio airplay in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. "The problem I see to sustain that, especially in Miami, is radio. There are not enough stations that play pop rock music, the kind of music she sings."

For her part Guzman has no intention of slipping again. "I have learned from my mistakes, and I am never going to let this ship sink," she vows. "It may be damaged at one time or another, but I will keep it afloat."

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