James Minchin III
Jennifer Nettles has announced that she and Universal Music Group are parting ways.
“I want to thank Universal Nashville for 11 wonderful years,” the singer said in an exclusive statement to Billboard. “This change is the first step on a path I’ve been wanting to take. I am so excited about the next part of my journey and I invite my fans to stay tuned.”
Nettles originally became part of the company as a member of Sugarland. Signed to Mercury Records, the duo (then a trio) debuted on the charts in 2004 with “Baby Girl,” which hit No. 2 on Hot Country Songs. Sugarland would go on to tally 10 additional top 10 records for the label, as well as four platinum albums. After founding member Kristen Hall left the trio in December 2005, Nettles and Kristian Bush continued the act as a duo.
After Nettles topped the chart with Jon Bon Jovi on the country charts in 2006 with “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” there was considerable demand for her to record a solo record. In May 2013, she announced plans to do just that. Rick Rubin produced the singer’s solo debut, That Girl, which debuted atop the Top Country Albums chart in January 2014. However, the project’s singles didn’t fare as well at radio, with the title track being the album’s biggest hit, peaking at No. 37.
Nettles’ departure comes just a few days after the label released “Sugar,” the lead single from what was to have been her sophomore project for the label.
While Nettles has departed Universal Music Group as a solo entity, a rep from the company’s Nashville office confirmed to Billboard that Mercury still holds the rights to any future Sugarland projects.
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