Grammy Award-winning producers James (Jimmy Jam) Harris and Terry Lewis have formed a joint venture with MCA’s Universal Records. The pair will also provide non-exclusive production work for artists and labels housed under the MCA Music Entertainment Group umbrella.
Harris and Lewis were wooed by every major label, including a last-minute effort by Polygram, before inking with MCA (Daily Variety, Nov. 18).
The duo will share chairman titles and A&R duties for the unnamed label, which will be based in L.A.
“These guys are amazing,” Doug Morris, chairman-CEO of MCA Music Entertainment Group, told Daily Variety. “Their successes with artists like Boyz II Men and Janet Jackson, and their ability to spot and (lure) new talent, make them an incredible addition to the family.”
Harris and Lewis have worked on albums from several MCA artists, including the recently released New Edition reunion disc. They’re also producing the next record from MCA’s Uptown Records artist Mary J. Blige.
Harris told Daily Variety that among the reasons for the duo’s inking with MCA was Morris’ passion about the music business and the opportunity to be able to put their talents to work in all areas at MCA, such as films, and not just the music group.
“Doug was supportive of our interest in working in other genres, such as country, and getting involved in the other (divisions) of MCA,” Harris said.
The pair’s Perspective Records, which was founded as a joint venture with A&M in 1993, was restructured by its parent in September. All of its nearly 30 staffers were dismissed.
Harris said he expects the new label, which has tapped Gwen Irby – former general manager at Perspective – into the same post, will release a handful of artists in its first year, though no signings were announced.