U.S. singer/songwriter Gary Jules has signed a licensing deal with Universal Records. Jules and Michael Andrews had the U.K.'s Christmas No. 1 single, a stripped-down rendition of Tears For Fears' "Ma

U.S. singer/songwriter Gary Jules has signed a licensing deal with Universal Records. Jules and Michael Andrews had the U.K.'s Christmas No. 1 single, a stripped-down rendition of Tears For Fears' "Mad World." The single has sold more than 600,000 copies in the U.K., according to Sanctuary and Adventure, the two labels that signed Jules for Europe. The track is now breaking out across the region, standing at No. 5 this week in Holland.

In a single-album deal with future options, Universal will release Jules' second solo set, "Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets," on March 16 in the U.S. The album -- which contains "Mad World" (also included on the "Donnie Darko" soundtrack) -- first appeared as a self-released set in the U.S. in 2001. It was issued in the U.K. on Jan. 19, and debuted at No. 12. It currently stands at No. 36.

Jules tells Billboard.biz that the Universal deal brings him back to old territory, as his first album, "Greetings From the Side," was released by A&M in 1998. Under the terms of the new deal, he has regained rights to that release.

"In the great justice of the universe or something," he says, "I wind up after this whole thing happens the unlikely 34-year-old guy who makes a record with his best friend for 100 bucks, and I end up licensing my album to Universal."