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Former 'Idol' finalist Melinda Doolittle inks record deal with indie label

By Christopher Rocchio, 07/29/2008 

Melinda Doolittle is finally ready to record.

The American Idol sixth-season third-place finisher has inked a recording contract with independent label Hi Fi Recordings, Entertainment Weekly reported Tuesday.

Doolittle's late signing falls in line with her fellow former Idol sixth-season finalists.

Jordin Sparks inked her deal with 19 Recordings/Jive Records nearly three months after she was crowned the sixth-season champ.  Runner-up Blake Lewis then signed with 19 Recordings and Arista Records a week later.  However he was dropped by Arista last month -- before Doolittle even had her deal announced.

While it may have taken a while for Doolittle to sign her contract, she spent some of the past year flexing her philanthropic muscles.

Last summer, she teamed up with Malaria No More and traveled to Africa with First Lady Laura Bush to assist in the distribution of 500,000 bed nets in Lusaka, Zambia.  She also performed a concert.

Then in November, Doolittle gave back to her alma mater by performing at the Belmont University's annual "Christmas at Belmont" concert.

Doolittle's debut is currently slated to be released this fall.  Hi Fi Recording was founded in 1995 by music industry veteran John Hecker and was originally a joint venture with major labels Elektra, Arista and Virgin Records.

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