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For the disco-influenced New York band the Scissor Sisters, that has enjoyed major success in the United Kingdom, the U.S. market remains a challenge.
"American music fans are just as musically open-minded as their British counterparts," front man Jake Shears told trade publication Billboard. "But the powers that be in the U.S. may not be as open-minded. Which, to a degree, will hold us back in the U.S.... Tons of Americans would love our music, but they don't know we exist."
The band's self-titled debut album was the best-selling album in the United Kingdom in 2004, moving 500,000 units, according to the Official U.K. Charts Co. To date, that album has sold 2.5 million copies in the United Kingdom.
But on the eve of the September 26 release of the Scissor Sisters' sophomore album, Ta-Dah (Universal Motown), Shears and his bandmates--Babydaddy, Ana Matronic, Del Marquis, and Paddy Boom--are still trying to crack the U.S. market.
It won't necessarily be easy. While dance-rock contemporaries like the Killers and Franz Ferdinand have successfully entered the American mainstream, Scissor Sisters has not yet extended its reach beyond its core constituency: the gay community.
For mainstream America, the band may simply be too quirky, too left-of-center, too flamboyant. Or not.
"People have lots of preconceived notions about us," Shears said. "But they get over them by hearing us or seeing us live."
U.S. audiences will have a few opportunities to do so during the week of September 25, when Scissor Sisters will appear on ABC's Dancing With the Stars and NBC's Late Night With Conan O'Brien, among other TV shows.
A chart-topper in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Scissor Sisters went top five on the European Top 100 Albums chart. But in the United States, the album sold only 283,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, compared with 3 million for the Killers' Hot Fuss and 1 million for Franz Ferdinand's self-titled debut disc.
The new album's lead single, "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'," is already off to a strong start overseas, topping the Official U.K. Singles Chart after entering at number 4.
Stateside, the label has delivered the single to adult top 40 radio. If it gains traction there, it will be promoted to mainstream top 40 radio.
Adult top 40 KIOI San Francisco program director James Baker believes the group eventually will break in the United States, but he doesn't think it will be with "I Don't Feel Like Dancin'." The song, he said, is "too out of the norm, too reminiscent of the '70s for soccer moms to relate to."
Shears disagrees. "People just need to be exposed to this song--and our music in general," he said. "They'll get it. People may look at us and think, 'What a bunch of weirdos.' But give them time, and they'll see that we're pretty special." (Reuters)