Former "American Idol" contestant Latoya London has signed with independent label Peak Records. She's due to begin recording a mix of original material and covers in January with an eye on a summer re

Former "American Idol" contestant Latoya London has signed with independent label Peak Records. She's due to begin recording a mix of original material and covers in January with an eye on a summer release for her debut disc.

A part-time professional singer going into the "Idol" competition, London was considered the competitor to beat in the show's third season. But just two weeks after an early May Billboard.com poll voted the Oakland, Calif., native the clear favorite to win, she came up short in viewer votes on the Fox show, which eventually anointed Fantasia Barrino as the current "Idol."

"Latoya will follow in the footsteps of Whitney Houston and the other great female R&B singers that shaped the genre," Peak president Andi Howard says. "She's smart, beautiful, witty and incredibly talented."

Founded in 1994 by Howard and Rippingtons bandleader Russ Freeman, Peak is a contemporary jazz label whose roster includes Regina Belle, David Benoit and Gato Barbieri. Since 2000, the label has been partnered with Concord Records, which distributes all of its releases.

London spent most of the summer with her fellow finalists on the American Idols Live tour, and has a busy schedule planned through the end of the year. She has appearances planned in parades in Orlando, Fla. (Nov. 26), Oakland (Dec. 4) and San Jose (Dec. 5). She will perform Dec. 5 at the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation in San Francisco and make a Dec. 11 appearance at the 16th Annual 100 Black Men of the Bay Area gala fundraiser.

Meanwhile, the fourth season of "American Idol" will kick off Jan. 18-19 with footage from various auditions held in recent months. Barrino will join previous winners Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard for a Nov. 24 Fox special, "Home for Christmas."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print