‘Idol’ winner in Harmony with J Records

Studdard's album to bow by September; Aiken also inks

Just one day after beating out the competition on the latest season of Fox’s pop-star elimination show “American Idol,” singer Ruben Studdard has inked a recording contract with Clive Davis’ J Records in a joint deal with “Idol” Svengali Simon Fuller’s 19 Recordings.

Under the new deal, Studdard’s forthcoming CD will be exec produced by Davis, who has helmed recordings by such acts as Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Carlos Santana. Album will be out by September, and Studdard’s show-winning song “Flying Without Wings” will be released as a radio single over the next week.

Davis, who is chairman of J’s parent company the RCA Music Group, said he plans to capitalize on Studdard’s short-term TV success to help him build a long-term career.

Musical background

“I deal with him not as a winner of ‘American Idol,’ but as a recording artist,” Davis told Daily Variety. “He and I have spent time together, and he’s very musical — he’s very aware of his musical roots. We’re going to work very closely in putting together the best album of the best material available.”

Exec will also release the debut album of “Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken, through the RCA Records imprint, in the fall, with radio singles — including a rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” — due out next month.

Last year’s winner, Kelly Clarkson, has parlayed her victory into substantial chart success to date. The singer’s debut album “Thankful” (RCA) opened at No. 1 in April, and was certified platinum at a special ceremony during this season’s final broadcast.

Davis said Clarkson’s success — and Studdard’s newfound stardom — are a testament to the renewed popularity of pop standards, which allow new artists to ride lyrics and melodies penned by other songwriters to worldwide success.

“There are incredibly gifted artists who don’t write their own material,” he said. “There’s a long tradition of that, from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday through Aretha Franklin. It’s a big plus, beyond the contest, that America is once again listening to popular songs.”

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