Jewel joins Borchetta's new label Valory


NASHVILLE -- Scott Borchetta, the president and CEO of Nashville-based independent Big Machine Records, is launching a second imprint, the Valory Music Co., and has signed Jewel to a multi-album deal.

The label's name is a variation on June Carter Cash's birth name, Valerie June Carter. According to Borchetta, the name means "fierce; the brave one; of valor."

Along with Jewel, whose album was produced by Big & Rich's John Rich and is expected in the spring, Valory is also home to Justin Moore and Jimmy Wayne. Moore has been in development and Wayne moves over from the Big Machine roster. Like Big Machine, Valory will be distributed by Universal.

Jewel, who is managed by Irving Azoff and who previously recorded for Atlantic Records, has sold 14.8 million units in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. She has scored seven top 10s on Billboard's Adult Top 40 chart, including two No. 1s, "Foolish Games" and "You Were Meant for Me."

A veteran promotion man, Borchetta launched Big Machine in September 2005. The label is home to rising star Taylor Swift, Trisha Yearwood and Jack Ingram, among others. It also handles promotion for Garth Brooks, whose current single "More Than a Memory" is one of four new tracks on his forthcoming "The Ultimate Hits" (Pearl).

While the two labels will share marketing, publicity, creative and backroom services, Valory will have it's own promotion department, which will be headed by veteran promoter Jon Loba. "He's a great organizer, planner and executer and those are the three top things on my list," Borchetta says of Loba, who will hold the title of vp promotion and artist development. Loba exited Broken Bow Records in August.

Loba's promotion team will include JoJamie Hahr, who worked with Loba at Broken Bow, and will handle the Southeast. Chris Loss, who recently left Lyric Street Records, will handle both West Coast and national duties. Miranda Williams, most recently at CMT Radio, will cover the Southwest. Another regional promoter will be added soon.

Jewel, who has cut five of her six albums in Nashville, said country has always been in her plans. "I've been wanting to do this record my whole career," she said, "but my label was always scared of country music. I've always had country songs on my records."

"If I had been discovered now, living in my car in San Diego, I think I would have been signed as a country act," she added.

Although she lives in Texas with bull-riding star boyfriend Ty Murray, Jewel has spent a good bit of time in Nashville over the last few years. Earlier this year she hosted the country reality show "Nashville Star" and she has made a number of appearances at Muzik Mafia events. She co-wrote and dueted with new artist Jason Michael Carroll on "No Good In Goodbye," which appears on his debut album, "Waitin' in the Country" (Arista Nashville).

She will be a presenter on the Country Music Association Awards show with Murray on Wednesday.

After surveying the label landscape, and even considering releasing her album directly to retail, she met with Borchetta, who before launching Big Machine was a senior promotion executive with MCA Nashville, Dreamworks Nashville and Universal Music Group Nashville. "Radio is still the best way to sell records and I heard that he was a great radio promoter and tenacious," she said.

"She's just one of the best singer/songwriters in any genre," Borchetta said, adding that a move to country is "a natural progression for her."

Valory plans to have all three artist's music to radio in the first quarter.