Former Vice-President and General Manager of the Texas branch of Arista Records talks with Manuel Peña about the Tejano Music Industry.
Interview (70:35) LISTEN HERE: Cameron Randle
Interviewed by Manuel Peña
Date: May 9, 1996
Original Recorded Media: Cassette
The interviews by Manuel Peña presented on this website were originally recorded for research purposes only, and are presented here in their raw state, unedited except to remove some irrelevant sections and blank spaces. They were often recorded in conditions adverse to obtaining good audio quality and often using very basic recording equipment. All rights to the interviews are reserved by Manuel Peña. Please do not use anything from this website without permission. firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction by Manuel Peña
Cameron Randle was born “in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri but reared in Southwest Kansas, near the Oklahoma/Texas panhandle.” He has worn two disparate cultural hats during his life, one as music industry executive, the other, later one, as an Episcopal priest. Attaining a comprehensive education, both religious and secular (the latter including a Juris Doctorate, the former a divinity degree), Randle may be considered a “Renaissance Man.”
Randle first got into the music-industry business as an artist manager, with an agency called Refugee Management. In 1990 he was involved in helping put together the Texas Tornados (Flaco Jimenez, Doug Sahm, Freddie Fender and Augie Meyers). In his early days as manager of the Texas Tornados, Randle met rising Tejano star Emilio Navaira and was thoroughly impressed—so impressed that he decided to dive into the emerging Tejano market by trying to guide Emilio toward exposure in a wider audience.
Wading into the Tejano market seemed natural to Randle, since his stepfather was a Mexican immigrant, and little Cameron had had ample opportunity to listen to popular Mexican music. As Randle put it, “Tapping into the music of the Texas Tornados and Emilio brought me sort of full circle, and [I] felt very comfortable to help bridge the gap between the Anglo world and latino world through music.”
By then Vice-President and General Manager of the Texas branch of the giant Arista Records (part of the Berttlesman Music Group), Randle became instrumental in promoting not only Emilio’s career—although he was not able ultimately to bring him into Arista–but a number of other Tejano performers as well.
In the end, however, the Tejano market gold mine that Randle’s Arista and several other major labels had envisioned went into sharp decline, and Randle relocated to Los Angeles in the early 2000s, where he obtained a position as a senior executive at the Disney subsidiary, Hollywood Records.
After several years in Los Angeles, Randle apparently decided to exit the music business. In 2009, he was ordained to the Episcopal diaconate and priesthood in the Diocese of Los Angeles, and a couple of years later he accepted a position as Rector at St. George’s Parish in Accomac, Virginia.