First, former NSyncer JC Chasez decided to part ways with Jive Records, and now, EW has learned, Kelis has been dropped from the label that’s home to Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, and R. Kelly. The R&B singer’s 2003 album, Tasty, yielded the massive hit “Milkshake,” and was certified gold, but Kelis’ most recent effort, 2006’s Kelis Was Here, had less success in the U.S.—despite plenty of guest spots, including a collaboration with her husband, Nas. Kelis was originally signed to Pharrell Williams’s Star Tracks, which had a distribution deal in place with Virgin, which was later moved to Arista and, through the SonyBMG merger, she ended up with Jive. “It was a case of being in the ever-shrinking world of the record industry and finding herself on a label she wasn’t signed to and without a champion,” says Kelis’ manager, Jeff Rabhan. “She’s a different kind of artist — very image and style-driven. It’s either something you get or you don’t.”
Kelis has been working on an indie dance record with Cee-Lo. A full-on pop effort with Guy Chambers (Robbie Williams) will be shopped around soon. “We’re not opposed to another major label deal, but it would have to be non-traditional,” adds Rabhan. Kelis is also in talks to host a Project Runway-like show on VH1 and is auditioning for numerous TV and film roles.