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'American Idol' winner Jordin Sparks finally signs record deal


By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 08/17/2007 

Better late than never.  Nearly three months after her crowning, sixth-season American Idol champion Jordin Sparks has officially signed a recording contract.

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The 17-year-old Glendale, AZ native -- who was the youngest Idol winner in the show's history -- will cut her debut album with 19 Recordings/Jive Records.  Jive is part of the Zomba Label Group, a division of Sony BMG. 19 Recordings is part of 19 Entertainment, the company founded by Idol creator Simon Fuller. 

"We're thrilled to welcome the partnership with 19 Recordings and Jordin Sparks as the first Idol winner to make her home at Jive," said Barry Weiss, CEO and president of Zomba. "Her poise, her amazing vocal ability, her relentless optimism has been apparent to millions of fans all around the world. We're honored to have this burgeoning worldwide superstar on Jive Records."

Idol's five first winners had all signed with Arista Records, J Records, or RCA Records -- three labels that are part of Sony BMG's RCA Label Group.

Jive is scheduled to launch Sparks' first single "Tattoo" on August 27 for radio airplay, with plans to drop her debut album in November.

"American Idol has truly been a life altering experience," said Sparks.  "Signing with 19 Recordings/Jive and Barry Weiss and his great team is hopefully the beginning of another dream opportunity for me to deliver the kind of meaningful music I love. I can't wait to share this next chapter of my story with all the fans that have supported me so far."

While Sparks is obviously elated to have signed her record deal, its announcement has come much later than that of previous Idol finalists.

Idol 5 winner Taylor Hicks saw his deal with 19 Recordings Limited and Arista Records announced less than a week after his victory over runner-up Katharine McPhee, who had her own deal with 19 Recordings only two weeks after the fifth-season finale.  The year before, Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice's deals were announced in early June.

But the delay could be worth the wait for Sparks, as Jive was responsible for signing the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and N'Sync during the late 1990s and helping them achieve pop stardom.  In addition to Spears, Zomba Label Group's roster currently includes Ciara, Justin Timberlake, Nick Lachey, Pink, R. Kelly, and Usher.

"Jordin is a terrific young singer who has found a great home at Jive," said Sony BMG chairman Clive Davis.  "[Weiss] and his successful team know how to patiently nurture career artists, and Jordin Sparks hints of a legacy and longevity waiting to be fulfilled."

Sparks can currently be seen performing on Idol 6's summer tour, which is scheduled to come to an end September 22 in Manchester, NH.  In addition, she's also scheduled to appear on Fox's The Teen Choice Awards on August 26.


(Photo credit Fox)


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