Michael Bolton has a new album and a fresh sound. When his first Jive set (and first album of totally new material since 1998), "Only a Woman Like You," is released April 23, it will relaunch this adu

Michael Bolton has a new album and a fresh sound. When his first Jive set (and first album of totally new material since 1998), "Only a Woman Like You," is released April 23, it will relaunch this adult contemporary hitmaker.

There can be no doubt that the album's 11 new cuts update the artist's classic sound. From the opening, Latin-flavored "Dance With Me" to the debut single/title cut "Only a Woman Like You" (penned by superstars Robert John "Mutt" Lange and Steve Lipson and produced by Rami, Lange, Shania Twain, and Max Martin), it is clear that Bolton has started a new musical chapter in his life.

"This attitude of a fresh face or sound is purposely avoiding the last thing I'd want to do -- which is reinvent the wheel or try to be the older 'N Sync guy, the male Britney. It's never going to happen," Bolton says with a laugh. "But, I expect this will be my audience's favorite record since 'Time, Love and Tenderness.' I'm hoping that the material draws them in but doesn't leave them saying, 'What the heck is he doing?' My guess is they're going to know, and they are going to love where I've gone, and in the process we are going to make new fans."

Bolton is an enduring industry figure with an impressive history. The artist has sold more than 52 million records worldwide, according to the label, and he's won two Grammy awards and six American Music Awards. But that was then.

"I was feeling stagnant. Stagnation for an artist is death," Bolton says. "We need the attitude of this being a relaunch. I believe I'm part of the next phase for Jive."

Some may see the Bolton signing as a departure for the teen-hit-driven Jive-home to 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears, among others-and ask, "What is a youth-driven label doing with such a decidedly adult artist?"

"Mainstream AC is not a foreign territory to us," Jive senior director of promotion, adult formats, Tom Cunningham says. "'N Sync and Backstreet Boys are staples at the format, and Britney Spears is charting now. We've also had Huey Lewis through Silvertone. For us, this is not new. The first single is a great song. The caliber of writers, the diversity of the talent, the song, and then Michael Bolton in the mix brings a whole new dimension to the table."





Excerpted from the April 13, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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