Prince Royce at the Billboard Latin Music Awards last month (photo: Arnold Turner)
Prince Royce, the Bronx native whose eponymous debut became the top-selling Latin album by a new act in 2010, has signed with Atlantic Records to release English-language recordings, Billboard can exclusively report. Royce, who sings a blend of urban and tropical music and won four awards -- including Best New Artist -- at the Billboard Latin Music Awards last month, will remain signed to indie Top Stop Music. The label, founded by producer Sergio George, released Royce's self-titled debut last year, with sales climbing with the popularity of Royce's bilingual cover of "Stand By Me."
The Atlantic deal, which Atlantic Chairman/CEO Craig Kallman describes as a "total partnership," has Royce signed to both labels, with his English language albums released under the Top Stop/Atlantic rubric.
Royce is already working on his Atlantic debut, with A&R being supervised by George along with Atlantic's executive VP of A&R Mike Caren, who first heard Royce's music on Myspace and reached out to George last November. The new album, Caren told Billboard.biz, will be mostly in English although there may be some "experimentation" with Latin music.
"[Royce] is doing what comes naturally to him," Caren said. "When I met him I asked what he was listening to, and I think he said Michael Jackson three times in a row, and then he said Usher. He's just going to make music that comes naturally to him. The pocket that he's responding to is the urban side of pop music." However, he added, "Everything he's doing, he leaves his own stamp on it."
While Royce's new album will probably not drop until early 2012, a first single is expected in the fall, when Royce will go out on tour with Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull.
Royce's signing comes at the same time Anthony "Romeo" Santos, lead singer of urban bachata group Aventura, is readying to release his solo debut, "Formula," later this fall. Santos signed as a soloist to Sony Music Latin in partnership with Jive Records, which will promote his album in the mainstream market. His first single, a bilingual track titled "You," debuts this week at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs chart.