Exclusive

Idol's Crystal Bowersox Splits With RCA/Jive

Hot on the heels of American Idol Season 9 champ Lee DeWyze being dropped by RCA, runner-up Crystal Bowersox has also split with the RCA/Jive label, her manager confirmed exclusively to TVLine.

Speaking today about her role on next Tuesday’s episode of Body of Proof (ABC, 10/9c), Bowersox told TVLine that she expects her sophomore album to be an independent release, especially in light of the fact that RCA announced earlier this month plans to shutter its Jive, J, and Arista labels, and bring only some of those label’s artists into the RCA fold. (Furthermore, American Idol producer 19 Entertainment ended its relationship with Sony/RCA and began distributing its winners’ and runners’up’s albums via Universal Records beginning with Season 10.)

“I’m not worried about where I’m gonna be,” said Bowersox. “I’m gonna be making music if it’s on my own label or if it’s with somebody else. I’d love to work with ATO, Dave Matthews’ label. We’ll see what happens.”

Despite the new direction for her career, Bowersox said she remains philosophical about her time at Jive, where her album Farmer’s Daughter sold 58,000 copies in its first week of release (in December 2010), and has now gone on to total sales of 210,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. (By comparison, DeWyze moved 146,000 copies of Live It Up.) “For not having any radio play and any great promotion, I think I’ve done pretty well on sales,” Bowersox said. “I’m able to provide a good, comfortable life for my family, and that’s what I wanted out of it.”

Bowersox said she had to make some compromises in the recording process for Farmer’s Daughter, but so did her label. “Jive was great working with me. I’m a little hot-headed sometimes, but all in all, they’ve been really good to me,” she said with a laugh. “And I continue to do this for a living. There’s nothing better.”

Bowersox confirmed she’s in the writing process for her second album. “I’ve got a bunch of songs on a list, and I’m gonna sit and sift through them and see what I think is right for the next album,” she said. “I’m hoping for a late spring or early summer [2012] release. I’ll start recording over the winter and we’ll go from there.”

Just don’t expect Bowersox to unleash her inner Ke$ha for her sophomore set. “It’s not my concern to make a commercial pop record,” she said. “I want to make a record of music that I would listen to, that is lyrically rich and has songs that people can relate to — more along the Jakob Dylan route, people who create for the art of it and not necessarily the monetary rewards of it. What becomes pop is popular, so if it happens to be popular, great. And if not there are music appreciators out there who will like it and who will buy it and comes to my shows.” The recently married mother of one said she’s never dreamed of being “a mega pop star. I enjoy having my privacy, and not seeing my face on the cover of everything, y’know? I want my son to have a normal life.”

Check back at TVLine.com on Tuesday morning for more scoop on Bowersox’s Body of Proof acting debut, and sound off below on this new chapter of her music career. And for all my Idol news, interviews, and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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50 Comments
  1. Karen O says:

    Oh well. I adore Crystal. Her debut album was simple and beautiful and massively under-appreciated. It actually did some play on country radio. She seems perfectly fine with being a chill indie artist and I will continue to follow her music.

  2. SharonS says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised so many of idol winners and non winners have been dropped or faded away into the sunset so to speak. Crystal is very talented and should be able to stay in the music business for a long while. Sometimes it’s not just the label it’s how a singer is managed that counts. If an artist’s management isn’t promoting their songs/albums then sales will be low. RCA isn’t known for being the greatest at doing this. They need to change and stop only pushing the more commercial friendly pop singers that appeal to just kids. They need to realize that there are millions of people who want good music from great singers not just the Justin, Ke$ha, KatyP types.

    • MK204 says:

      Absolutely right. Promotion is the key word. The need to promote those singers who are talented even though they “think” they may not appeal to the public. If they get out of their little box, they’d be surprised how many artists would be hit makers. Unfortunately, the Pre Season 10 Idols, like Kris Allen, David Cook and Jordin Sparks (I think) are still managed by E19 and as Shakespeare said…”ay, there’s the rub”.

  3. Michael Sacal says:

    “Speaking today about her role on next Tuesday’s episode of Body of Evidence (ABC, 10/9c)”

    “Check back at TVLine.com on Tuesday morning for more scoop on Bowersox’s Body of Proof”

  4. kenny says:

    Way to go, Ms. Bowersox. Truly great artists create music for themselves and for listeners of great music, not for a group of money sucking leeches known as the ‘record label’.

  5. Elaine says:

    I’ve always thought she ws a very special person and artist and she continues to have my respect. Now I’ve just gotta get my butt in gear and buy the cd.

  6. GaryM says:

    Well,I’m not surprised by this news. I have to say though that Crystal always comes off sounding so full of herself. It’s a big turn off. She needs to be a bit more humble. She thinks her music is so great … too bad people don’t agree. If they liked it, they would buy it.

    So who do you think is next on the RCA/Jive chopping block? My money is on Kris Allen. He has no timeline for a new album and no producer. Add in absolutely no media buzz or interest for that matter and there you have it. I think David Cook might also be on the “chopped” list.

    • Michelle says:

      When people don’t know what they are talking about best not to say anything. I have met Crystal a couple times, I know many others who have and she is the most humble person I have ever met.

      She knows who she is as an artist and there is a huge difference between confidence and arrogance. This woman truly is the most humble person I have ever met, so your assumption just made you look really stupid to all of those who know differently. I wish I had 3 pages to write about all of the charity work she does and the things she has done for fans.

    • Snsetblaze says:

      Cook just released an album. It is quite good. Its too bad it doesn’t get more radio play but then again, radio – at least in the NYC metropolitan area – mostly plays garbage (unless you can find a decent college station). The one or two rock stations that I get are stuck on classic rock and play very little new rock (or women for that matter).

  7. Chris L says:

    I almost forgot that “Body of Proof” was fka “Body of Evidence.” At least it’s not on Fridays at 9 like ABC planned originally.

  8. booboo says:

    If only Adam Lambert felt how she felt about making music. We might have a great album by now and now something he keeps second guessing and piling more surefire pop song writers on. Real pop songs that resonate and last don’t come from a formula or writers’ camp. They just happen to connect with a large number of people at the same time. You can’ aim for that.

    • Kenny says:

      Most accurate post in here. Yet somehow, I’m looking forward to watching Lambert’s career ship sink like a stone. He is the prime example of an overhyped, mediocre, attention seeking “artist” who is afraid of challenging himself by learning how to write and sing a proper melody without resorting to stage histrionics in a feeble attempt to cover up his mediocrity. He’s all play and no effort. Hopefully, his desire to sell out to the mainstream will eat him alive and sink his career.

    • Debbie222 says:

      LMAO at you Butthurt Idol fans. Still bringing up Lambert in any comment section. Why is Lambert always on your minds that you just have to negatively comment on him? Come on little children…come towards the light. It’s safe for you to come out of the closet now.

    • Lily says:

      Like some people say.. James Durbin is making an album that actually Adam Lambert should make… I agree with what American Idol Judge Kara said… Adam Lambert should just make a (glam)rock album… and like Chrystal.. just listen to his heart

  9. RM says:

    Not a huge surprise at 210k in sales for a label like RCA/Jive. I think it is great that she did an album that represented her musical sensibilities rather than fold to the label’s dream of quick buck pop trash. If she was going to get cut no matter what, it is much better going out with a Farmer’s Daughter than a Kara Diogardi Hold On. DeWyze toed the line with RCA A&R and look what happened to him. He lost any sliver of musical gravitas and got cut anyway after moving only 160k. Kris Allen looks shaky at 400+k units sold. From RCA’s perspective, what is the likelihood that it can get a better bang for the buck by hitching up to another wagon?

    • MK204 says:

      However, Kris Allen went platinum with Live Like We’re Dying which is something the others you mentioned didn’t do. Furthermore, Kris is now working side by side with the VP of A&R on a kid project, so I’m guessing they have plans for him. Also, there is a new regime at RCA, so with luck they’ll treat all the remaining Idol winners better than they have. In today’s digital day and age, selling over 400K CDs is pretty good. Lauren Alaina just debuted her first CD and sold only 69K but debuted at number 5 on Sound Scan.

  10. MJ says:

    I have to agree with some of the other posters that things don’t look so good for Kris Allen. My bet is he’ll be the next one dropped. There’s definitely something going on with him. Asanother poster said, there is no time line for another album. I believe in the last day or so he confirmed that he still has no producer. Plus what I find really interesting is the fact that he’s practically begging for twitter followers. He’s even encouraging existing followers to create multiple accounts so he can reach 300,000 followers. To me that reeks of desperation. Maybe RCA is trying to guage how much interest there is in him. He sold 324K albums from his debut. Historically second albums (from Idols) don’t do nearly as well as the first. So, they’re maybe looking at 50K, if that, in sales if he puts out another album? It may not be worth it to RCA. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    • MK204 says:

      Article is about Crystal, not Kris Allen. Why is it always that Kris’ detractors…probably fans of another Idol singer, always feel the need to disparage him? Read my post above if you need clarification.

  11. Julia says:

    Classy interview from a classy performer. Good luck Crystal, and I hope to see you at some of the awesome music festivals around the country.

  12. Donna M. says:

    I give Kudo’s to Crystal Bowersox!! RCA/Jive has not premoted her at all. Her album sales of “Farmers Daughter has been mostly from her touring all over. She gets more premotion from twitter and facebook fans then she got from her label. She is the most pure artist out there today.She cares about the music and not the fame. I have met her 4 times and she is the sweetest and most caring person you will ever meet!And Can’t wait to see her episode of “Body of Proof”

  13. Alice says:

    It’s hard for quality artists to thrive in a country that gobbles up garbage like Snotty McCreepy.

  14. Suzanne454 says:

    Why the positive spin Slezak? When Taylor Hicks “parted ways” with “J” you couldn’t have been happier and splammed into him fiercely. Why is this any different? At least Taylor already has his own label now (selling 100K and pocketing most of the money from those sales himself with The Distance and Early Works) – and his own restaurant – and is preparing to release his 5th CD. If Crystal is LUCKY, she might be 1/2 as successful…. remember Taylor had a starring role and rave reviews for his Broadway role in Grease. Five years plus and STILL going strong… playing for the likes of Clint Eastwood and sharing the stage with country heavy weights as Brad Paisley and Sheryl Crow at BamaRising a few months ago. Just sayin….

  15. Kim J says:

    Crystal and Lee received only moderate promotion from Sony, which no longer has the Idol contract and is now connected with XFactor. The latest sales number for Lee’s album is 168k, not the figure cited in the article.

  16. GaysWithOpinions says:

    Shocking? Really? Crystal and Lee should start a duo or something. They’d be much more successful.

  17. BrianC82 says:

    Put a fork in Crystal Quittersox. You’ll never hear from her again.

  18. Jason says:

    “For not having any radio play and any great promotion, I think I’ve done pretty well on sales,”

    What about that 5 months of promotion week after week in front of 25 million people?

    • Snsetblaze says:

      If the album was already in the bag and released at the time the tv show as on, that would count. But we all have short memories and if you don’t know she released an album, you are not going to buy it. I personally did not see any announcment – even on Itunes – that it had been released (ditto for DeWyze). I found out because I looked it up. Not everyone will do that. And yet, right on Itunes this week up front was an ad for both Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina. You’d have to pay me to listen to their albums. So we know the record label failed to promte her.

  19. L says:

    Sad for her, but not surprised. As for Kris Allen, I loved his album, still play it often. My daughter has Adam’s and loves it. I would doubt that David Cook would be dropped. His new album is a masterpiece.

    • Yasi says:

      His album is a commericial flop, bigtime. RCA doesn’t give a crap if he thinks it’s artistic or not. WHere’s the $$$$$$? There’s no question he lost money bigtime for the label.

  20. darcy's evil twin says:

    Good for Crystal! I hope she enjoys continued success and has the life she wanted. I remember her tryout on Idol when Simon commented (paraphrased) that this didn’t seem to be her “thing”. She replied it wasn’t and she was doing this because of her son. She wasn’t all boo-hooey about it and never acted as though it would be the end of the world is she didn’t make it, she had nothing else to live for, and this was her “last chance” – she was very unassuming but confident at the same time.
    If she stays true to her music, has a modest fan following, and has the comfortable life she sought, then good for her.
    Honestly, I also liked Lee DeWyze. I struggled to like him due to his occasional off-key dalliances but I liked his voice and hope he’s able to find success as well. He seemed like a nice guy.

  21. Craig Kirkendall says:

    Crystal has had great success and will continue to have success in everything she does… Not only is she extremely gifted, but she is an amazing person and knows how to harness her talents… These, not record sales or popularity, are the key to a true musician’s success

  22. zaza says:

    I was never a fan of her musical style, but I think she is very down-to-earth person and I look forward to seeing her on “Body of Proof.” Wish her the best of luck on her musical career as well.

  23. rebboo says:

    She should have never been on a major label to begin with. She would have been better off financially signing to some sort of imprint or speciality label where success is measured by consistency over breaking records. Hopefully now she can transition towards cultivating a dedicated fanbase rather than being pushed towards competing for space on the radio. I dont see the musical or sales appeal of her at all, but those that do will be in position to buy from her forever, like as someone pointed out above, the fans of taylor hicks will. She’s definately more of a put-food-on-the-table sort of musician, who personally I dont think should have been past hollywood week on idol in the first place (and to be fair, neither should have Lee)

  24. TinCan says:

    I always liked Bowersox and I hope she makes the record of her dreams and a good money return from it.

    However, if these are the dollar numbers for AI graduates, how on earth will the winner of X-Factor make a five million dollar return for their label?

    Just saying…

  25. crystallized says:

    Best of luck to Crystal with this next stage in her life & career. And welcome to Portland – keepin’ it weird! I am one of the 210K who bought her Farmers Daughter album (online), but I hardly ever play it because it’s too country for me. Nonetheless, I look forward to her next album, which I hope will be more indie-folk-rock. She should get more play on AAA radio with it.

    Crystal, if you self-publish and need to raise funds, start a KickStarter project, and many of us will be sure to contribute!

    • Snsetblae says:

      Good idea for the kick starter. I listen to several artists in indie-folk-rock area that have gotten their albums made due to fan contributions (and the fans get copies of the albums later on.)

  26. Phoebi says:

    When I read ‘shocking’ I thought she was dying or something. This was completely expected.

  27. Yo says:

    I don’t know whether to be pleased or dismayed for Crystal. She will do just fine, with or withut RCA, and her goals seem reasonable and worthwhile. She will be entertaining for many years and I will be buying her albums, which I fully expect to get better and better.
    She has only just begun.

  28. laurirose says:

    I too agree with everyone who has met Crystal and noted above how truly humble and gracious she is, not just in person but in all of her communications with admirers.

    I’ve had the good fortune to see her perform several times, and every show was extraordinary. Particularly exciting were shows were she performed with other well-known artists like Melissa Etheridge and Michael Franti, who were in awe of her multi-faceted talents as a musician and songwriter.

    I bought more than a dozen copies of FARMER’S DAUGHTER and gave away many as gifts. The lack of meaningful promotion by 19 & the Jive label of that wonderful debut album was pathetic and incredibly frustrating. There were so many opportunities to reach a wide range of crossover audiences, from indie to alt-country to folk to world music, etc. that Sony/RCA never actualized and could have…

    I’m hoping now that she is on a new path (moving to Portland, Oregon, connecting with a new label, etc.) that she might consider creating a duo-type band with her super-talented husband Brian Walker, who has a fantastic new album out called LOOKIN’ FOR LIGHT (best price on CDBaby.com) – Their co-written song “Mason” (on both their CDs) is one of the greatest love songs ever, imho…

    One final thought: I’m not aware of anyone who ever graduated from American Idol except Crystal who has donated so much of their time to numerous charitable causes and nonprofit events. Her ongoing work on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is just 1 example of her commitment to making this world a better place and I personally find her to be a real inspiration.

  29. Mary says:

    Crystal is an indie artist: always was; (probably) always be. And I mean that as the highest compliment. It’s great that she has an appreciation for country music and other styles, but marketing her album to country stations seemed like a groveling play for air time on the part of her former label to me.

    Now, perhaps, she will finally be free to be who she truly is. In this day of social media and the Internet, and given her already-dedicated fan base, does she really need a major label, anyway?

  30. carol glasgow says:

    I believe the voting is “fixed” the last 3 shows I was only getting 3 calls/votes then it would say I have reached my limit voting for crystal my neighbor watches with me got all his votes for Lee. I talked to approximately 15 people and 2 had same problem so as millions vote for crystal, she did not get all votes she deserved. Did this happen to you?