New York-based E1 Entertainment and Purpose Music Group have partnered to release new albums by R&B artists Elisabeth Withers and Anthony David. The exclusive licensing deal covers all territories excluding Europe, Australia, the U.K. and South Africa, with the labels collaborating on the artists' development and marketing.

The first E1/Purpose release will be singer/songwriter Withers' as-yet-untitled sophomore album, due June 2010. Withers, a Tony Award nominee for her role as Shug Avery in Broadway's "The Color Purple," released a debut album on Blue Note in 2007: "It Can Happen to Anyone." The album has sold 50,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

David, formerly on India.Arie's Universal Republic imprint SoulBird Records, is set to release his first E1/Purpose project in summer 2010. The singer/songwriter's SoulBird tenure yielded 2008's "Acey Duecy," which featured his and India.Arie's Grammy Award-nominated duet "Words." The album, which has sold 35,000 per Nielsen SoundScan, was comprised of tracks from David's two previous independent releases, 2006's "Red Clay Chronicles" and 2004's "Three Chords and the Truth."

E1's R&B roster includes Faith Evans, Brian McKnight, Dwele and Vivian Green, who recently debuted on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart after a five-year absence with "Beautiful." Purpose, co-owned by Russell Johnson and George Littlejohn, is also home to Grammy Award winner Maya Azucena, DJ Spinna, Angela Johnson, Monet and Shae Fiol.