Although often outshined by her castmates on the Fox hit “Glee,” Naya Rivera is surprising fans by being one of the first to announce a record deal with Columbia Records.
Teresa LaBarbera Whites, senior VP of A&R at the label, confirmed the news, noting that Rivera will begin working on her debut album after the Glee! Live! tour wraps in late June.
On the series, 24-year-old Rivera plays Santana Lopez, a malicious former cheerleader at McKinley High. In season 2, Santana saw a bigger presence on the show as she struggled to reveal her lesbian identity.
On the show, Santana has sung everything from Amy Winehouse (“Valerie”) to Lady Gaga (“Bad Romance”) to Monica (“The Boy Is Mine”), but the musical style of her forthcoming debut remains vague. In the past, Rivera has cited Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul as heavy influences.
Rivera’s deal follows recently released solo albums by costars Matthew Morrison, who’s signed to Universal-owned Mercury Records, and Mark Salling, who opted for the independent route.
Sony Music-owned Columbia has first dibs on most “Glee” stars.