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NEW YORK (Billboard) - The list of professional athletes who have crossed over to success music careers is pretty short. Former pro surfer Jack Johnson is the most notable exception; the rest of the crew seems to be composed of basketball stars trying their hands at rap or signing their rapping friends to vanity labels, and the Chicago Bears.
Professional snowboarder Trevor "Trouble" Andrew is making a valiant attempt to be the next exception to the rule. He recently signed with Virgin Records, which will re-release his self-titled debut album February 10, with a follow-up scheduled for early summer.
"I initially found the record poking around on iTunes," said Virgin president Rob Stevenson, who characterized Andrew's sound as a mix of "new wave and punk and hip-hop."
"It was rough," Stevenson said, "but there was an element of passion that I liked. He's big in one arena, but he's still pretty unknown in the music business, so we're going to re-release the first album to give people something to hear.
Andrew hopes to carve a niche for himself as a serious musician, but he and his label are aware that his primary occupation provides a host of branding and marketing opportunities.
"He comes with a built-in audience," Stevenson said. "We're in talks with (sports gear manufacturers) Oakley and Burton and other brands he's affiliated with, because I think there is a very natural synergy there."
Andrew agrees. "I think we have endless opportunities, because I've had very long relationships with most of these brands," he said. "We've been touring the last few years and played a lot of snowboard contests and trade shows. Other people in the community know about the music because it was in the 'Skate' videogame.
"We're thinking of doing stuff now like a special release that's only available in Burton stores, or playing in-stores in snowboard shops rather than record stores," he added.