2017 BET Awards

Michael Jackson Sails With Two Seas

Michael Jackson has taken a step towards a return to his musical career by signing an exclusive recording agreement with Bahrain-based Two Seas Records. The label is a joint venture between the embatt

Michael Jackson has taken a step towards a return to his musical career by signing an exclusive recording agreement with Bahrain-based Two Seas Records. The label is a joint venture between the embattled pop star and Abdulla Hamad Al-Khalifa.

Jackson, who has been in Bahrain since shortly after his June 2005 acquittal on child molestation charges, is said to be working on new material. A new album is tentatively scheduled for release in "late 2007," according to a statement.

"I am incredibly excited about my new venture and I am enjoying being back in the studio making music," Jackson says.

U.K. record executive Guy Holmes has been tapped as CEO of the Two Seas label and will also be tasked with managing Jackson's other business interests.

Holmes will also remain chairman of Gut Records, which last spring scored a massive U.K. hit with Crazy Frog's version of "Axel F," essentially a popular ringtone attached to a manic animated character. Gut has also released music from Tears For Fears, the Wildhearts, Sparks, Fannypack and Aswad.

Holmes' Gut label is already promoting an association with Jackson, as a digital player on its Web site is streaming a Hi Tack remix of his 1983 hit "Say Say Say," subtitled "Waiting for U."

In his earliest solo years, Jackson recorded for Motown, which had been home to his sibling group, the Jackson 5. The group shifted to Epic in the mid-1970s and in 1979 released Jackson's breakout solo album, "Off the Wall." His international superstardom was solidified with subsequent albums "Thriller" (1982), "Bad" (1987) and "Dangerous" (1992).

His final studio set for the Epic was 2001's "Invincible," which debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 and has sold more than 2 million copies in the United States alone, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

Jackson accused the label of poor promotion, which led to a public spat with label parent Sony and its then president, Tommy Mottola. Epic has continued to mine the artist's career with a string of releases since then.

Holmes appointment to effectively manage Jackson's career comes on the heels of reports last week that Jackson, in a move to stave off insolvency, has reached a deal with creditors to refinance more than $200 million in loans secured by his stake in the Beatles' song catalog.

Jackson had been living off his 50% share of the Sony/ATV Music publishing catalog, which includes more than 250 copyrights from the Beatles. Jackson purchased ATV in 1985. Ten years later, in a deal orchestrated by his longtime attorney John Branca, Jackson merged ATV with Sony's music publishing division; the entire catalog is valued at around $1 billion.