Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis have signed with BMG to make their own music, marking their first recording contract as artists with releases due out in 2021.

The very pinnacle of R&B’s turn from the funky and organically raw sounds of the 1980s to a still sweat-inducing sound that was sleek and synthetic throughout the decade, Jam (pictured at left) and Lewis worked with the S.O.S. Band, George Michael, Mariah Carrey, Alexander O’Neal, Usher, Herb Alpert, and, most famously, Janet Jackson, for whom they’ve shared a platinum-plated relationship starting with 1986’s “Control.”

“It’s crazy to think we’re about to release our debut album after all these years,” said Lewis. “This is going to be a very special moment and we are grateful to have this team behind us.”

Added Jimmy Jam: “BMG immediately got our vision and understood where we wanted to go with this album. There was real mutual respect. We’ve found the perfect partner to kick off this next era and finally deliver our first record to the world.”

A self-contained Verzuz unit if ever called upon as such, the Minnesota-born Jam and Nebraska-born Lewis started their union as collaborators as musicians — the keyboardist and bassist, respectively — in the affiliated The Time in 1980, before going their own way to produce the swirling, soulful, tech-heavy likes of Cherelle, Alexander O’Neal and the S.O.S. Band. From that patented “Minneapolis Sound,” Jam and Lewis played a major role in turning Janet Jackson’s career from child’s play into sensualist empowed adulthood. After that, Jam and Lewis went onto man the boards behind artists from Elton John, Luther Vandross, Boyz II Men, TLC, Mary J. Blige, Patti LaBelle, and more, and, in 2020, received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for outstanding music direction” for “Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince with Sheila E.”

John Loeffler, BMG’s executive vice president of repertoire and marketing, New York, added: “It is an honor for BMG to be Jimmy and Terry’s label partner on their epic journey. This album is an extraordinary celebration of Jimmy and Terry’s musical brilliance, influence, and legacy they’ve created over the course of their musical career. Each song is remarkable with awe-inspiring performances to create a career-defining master work.”

The duo, which has won five Grammy Awards, is managed by Primary Wave’s Steven Greener.