Prince Royce, the Bronx native whose eponymous debut became the top-selling Latin album by a new act in 2010, has signed with Atlantic Records to release English language recordings, Billboard has learned.
Royce, who sings a blend of urban and tropical music and who also won Billboard's New Latin Artist of the Year Award at the Billboard Latin Music Awards April 28, was originally signed by indie Top Stop Music. The label, founded by producer Sergio George, released Royce's debut last year, with sales climbing with the popularity of Royce's bilingual cover of "Stand By Me."
The Atlantic deal, which Atlantic Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman describes as a "total partnership," has Royce signed to both Atlantic and Top Stop, with his English language albums released under Top Stop/Atlantic.
Royce is already working on a first Atlantic album, with A&R supervised by George along with Atlantic's executive VP of A&R Mike Caren, who first heard Royce's music on myspace and reached out to George last November. The new album, says Caren, will be mostly in English although there may be some "experimentation" with Latin music.
"He [Royce] is doing what comes naturally to him," says Caren. "When I met him I asked him what he was listening to, and I think he said Michael Jackson three times in a row, and then he said Usher. He's just going to make music that comes naturally to him. The pocket that he's responding to is the urban side of pop music, as well as urban pop that has a musical quality to him."
However, adds Caren, "Everything he's doing he leaves his own stamp on it."
Royce's signing comes at the same time Anthony "Romeo" Santos, lead singer of urban bachata group Aventura, is readying to release his solo debut, "Formula," later this fall. Santos signed as a soloist to Sony Music Latin in partnership with Jive Records, which will promote his album in the mainstream market. His first single, a bilingual track titled "You," debuts this week at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart.