In the wake of disappointing album sales, Jermaine Dupri is out - and now Kevin Liles seems to be in.
It looks like the "elusive chanteuse" continues to elude career stability.
Mariah Carey has parted ways with longtime musical collaborator Jermaine Dupri as her manager, and has been working closely with Kevin Liles, who was president of Def Jam during the singer's stint at the label, Billboard has learned. Sources say "nothing official" has been inked with Liles' firm KWL Enterprises, but the two have been working together since the June launch of Go N'Syde's Carey-branded Butterfly interactive beverage line.
"I'm a very hands-on person when it comes to my work," Dupri tells Billboard in a statement. "I put my all into every project. But when I'm not allowed to do what I do, then I know it's time for me to move on. Mariah and I enjoy working together and will continue to make great music together in the future." Reps for Liles, Carey and Carey's label Def Jam declined comment.
The reteaming with Liles is the latest in an increasingly long line of management changes Carey, 44, has undergone during the past few years, which in 2013 alone included stints with a Randy Jackson/Irving Azoff tag team and Bruce Eskowitz of Red Light Management before Dupri came onboard that fall. In the past decade, she also worked with current Jennifer Lopez manager Benny Medina (2003-2008) and the late Chris Lighty (2008-2012); other former managers include Randy Hoffman and, briefly, Sandy Gallin.
The news arrives on the heels of disappointing sales of Carey's 14th studio album, Me. I Am Mariah ... The Elusive Chanteuse, which has sold 103,000 copies since its May 27 release, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and falls off the Billboard 200 on the chart dated Aug. 9 after just eight weeks. The album underwent multiple release-date changes (it was at one point slated for July 2013 to capitalize on "#Beautiful," Carey's hit duet with Miguel), but has failed to chart a Billboard Hot 100 single since ballad "You're Mine (Eternal)" spent one week at No. 88 in February. The disco-fied "You Don't Know What to Do," featuring Wale, was announced as her latest single in June but has yet to appear on any Billboard charts.
Should The Elusive Chanteuse fail to rechart, it would be the shortest Billboard 200 run of any of Carey's studio albums.
This article first appeared in the August 9th issue of Billboard Magazine