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'American Idol' Alum Kellie Pickler Signs New Record Deal

The season five finalist and country singer joins the roster of Nashville-based Black River Entertainment.

Kellie Pickler CMT Awards - H 2012
Getty Images

American Idol season five alum Kellie Pickler has signed a new recording contract with Nashville-based Black River Entertainment, joining country artists Craig Morgan, Sarah Darling and Due West on the roster.

"What's not to love about Kellie?” says Black River CEO Gordon Kerr in announcing the signing on Oct. 8. “She's real, she adores her fans, she’s rooted in and committed to country music and she's genuine.  How can you ask for more than that?"

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Adds Pickler: “In looking for a label partner, I was really drawn to the Black River family because they hold similar values that I do,” shares Pickler.  “From our initial meeting, it was clear to me how much the entire team respects the artists’ musical vision, and I’m really looking forward to getting back into the studio to record and release new music to country radio.”

Previously signed with 19/BNA Records, a subsidiary of Sony, in 2006, the Albermarle, North Carolina native released three albums -- her gold-certified debut, Small Town Girl, a self-titled second effort in 2008, which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200, and January 2012's 100 Proof, on which she co-wrote six of the 11 songs.  

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In what seems to be a growing trend, Idol grads such as season nine's Crystal Bowersox are seeing non-major label deals that are better-suited for their careers. These more reasonable contracts allow singers the freedom to keep recording and nurturing their respective fanbases while getting the personal attention that a smaller roster offers.

(Pictured L to R: Fitzgerald Hartley's Larry Fitzgerald, Black River VP of A&R Doug Johnson, Pickler, Black River CEO Gordon Kerr and GM Greg McCarn)

Twitter: @Idol_Worship