Universal Records has inked a deal with U.K.-based indie Dramatico Entertainment to develop and sign up-and-coming singer/songwriters for worldwide distribution.

Universal Records has inked a deal with U.K.-based indie Dramatico Entertainment to develop and sign up-and-coming singer/songwriters for worldwide distribution.

The first artist under the deal is jazzy singer Katie Melua, whose debut album, "Call Off the Search," has sold more then 1 million copies in the United Kingdom, according to Dramatico. The album will be released June 8 in the United States.

Nineteen-year-old Melua's first single, "The Closest Thing to Crazy," entered the U.K. singles chart at No. 10, and her album has been in the top 10 on the U.K. albums chart since the beginning of the year.

The agreement was negotiated by Dramatico chairman Mike Batt, Universal Motown Records Group chairman Mel Lewinter and Universal Records president Monte Lipman. Dramatico previously had a deal with EMI Classics.

"Mike and his team have built one of the most creative and successful independent labels in the market," Lewinter says. "Since both Universal and Dramatico share beginnings as independents, we are uniquely positioned with the right understanding, sensitivity and skill to provide Dramatico with the best platform to grow even further."

Dramatico is an independent record label and production, music publishing and management company.

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