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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 5

Taylor Hicks confirms label departure, says they 'mutually parted ways'

By Christopher Rocchio, 01/09/2008 

American Idol fifth-season champ Taylor Hicks has confirmed his departure from Arista Records, describing the split from his label as a mutual decision.

"American Idol winner Taylor Hicks has announced that he and Arista Records have mutually agreed to part ways," a statement from his representative announced, OK! Weekly reported Tuesday.

Hicks elaborated on his split from the record label in a subsequent posting on his MySpace website.

"To all my fans and The Soul Patrol, I want to take a moment to talk about the recent news that my label and I have mutually parted ways," wrote Hicks.

"The important thing for all of you to remember is that I've been a working musician my whole life.  This is turning the page on a new chapter of my career.  Artistic freedom and control is an exciting prospect.  The things that are most important to me is creating my art, performing it, and my fans.  With the momentum that all of you have created over the years, Taylor Hicks is not going to stop anytime soon.  I've started working on the new album, writing and scheduling exciting collaborations.  The DVD, Whomp at the Warfield, is in it's final stages, and will be released soon.  So as one door closes, a new one opens for 2008 with more excitement for all my fans than ever before.  Sit tight, because the best is yet to come!"

News that J Records -- which merged with Arista in 2005 -- had ended its relationship with Hicks had first emerged via a recent Entertainment Weekly "Hollywood Insider" blog report which claimed to have "heard" Hicks had "also" met the same fate as Ruben Studdard, who had been "quietly dropped" by J Records in December, according to a New York Post report published last month.  (Earlier this week, Studdard's rep issued a statement saying the parties agreed to "part ways to go in a different direction" sometime last spring.)

"Taylor is going to record his next album on his own," EW quoted an unidentified "label rep" as saying in a less-than-definitive sounding blog posting that featured a "Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard dropped from J Records?" headline. "He is no longer on the J Records roster." 

J Records confirmed the report of Hicks' departure, as well as the earlier reports of Studdard's departure, in a statement released Monday.

"Taylor is going to record on his own for the next album," J Records representative Liz Morentin confirmed in a statement released to E! News. "Ruben Studdard is still signed to 19 Entertainment [the production/management company behind Idol], and is currently working on his new album, however it will not be distributed by J Records."

RCA chairman Clive Davis' Arista Records and Idol creator Simon Fuller's 19 Recordings Limited had signed Hicks to a recording contract only days after the "Soul Patrol" singer had defeated Katharine McPhee to claim Idol's fifth-season title.

Hicks' self-titled debut dropped at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 album sales chart during its first week of sales in early December 2006, selling 298,000 copies.  By March 2007 the album had sold 640,000 copies, but had dropped to 136th on The Billboard Top 200 album sales chart and had Hicks hoping he wouldn't become the first Idol winner to see his debut album sell less than a million copies.

The album had sold approximately 699,000 copies as of last week.

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