After a lifetime with one manager, and following an eight-year hiatus since the release of his last album in the U.S., Colombian star Carlos Vives has signed a new management deal with Walter Kolm, former president of Universal's Latin pop/urban imprint, Universal Music Latino.
Vives will release a new single Sept. 24 and is working on a new album to be released in 2013. Negotiations are currently underway with a major label.
The news has taken many observers by surprise. From the very beginning, Vives' career was helmed by Manuel Riveira, who negotiated all his deals and who, sources say, was close to finalizing a deal with a major earlier this year.
That conversation fell through, and now, Vives has officially signed on with Kolm, who left his Universal post last year and launched a management firm. His first client was crooner Cristian Castro, who was previously one of his artists at Universal Music Latino, and who had the Top Latin Pop Album of the year in 2011.
"It's been a long time since I felt so excited with a musical project," said Kolm, who no longer handles Castro. "Carlos' campaign will be very dynamic."
Vives, whose combination of traditional Colombian vallenato with rock and pop broke ground internationally and opened the doors for the subsequent success of Juanes and Shakira, is still considered one of Colombia's pre-eminent stars and leading musical exports, with equal success in sales, radio and touring.
However, Vives hasn't released an album outside of Colombia since 2004's "El Rock de Mi Tierra," his last studio set on EMI Latin. That album yielded a No. 1 hit on the Hot Latin Songs chart-"Como Tú"--as well as Vives' last showing on the chart, "Voy a Olvidarme de Mí," which peaked at No. 10.
Backbeat: Cristian Castro Celebrates Jose Jose Tribute Album, 'Mi Amigo el Principe,' at Las Vegas Release Party
Since then, Vives remained mostly in Colombia, where in 2009 he released the successful "Clásicos de la Provincia II" via an alliance with Éxito (basically the equivalent of Target in Colombia), and most recently released a children's album that won a Latin Grammy.
Although Vives' U.S. touring has also been on hiatus, he is one of the few Latin acts who can routinely fill arenas in this country.
Vives is currently a judge on "La Voz Colombia," that country's version of "The Voice," which begins airing Oct. 1.