The Greatest Contract Of All: 6...

[From BBC Online]

Singer Whitney Houston has become one of the highest-paid musicians in the world after agreeing to stay with record company Arista. She will be paid more than $100m (70m) in a new long-term, multi-album deal.

That puts her in the same league as Mariah Carey, who was said to have signed the biggest record deal ever earlier this year, getting a reported $80m (56m) for four albums.

Arista's outlay comes after Houston had drugs charges dropped in March, and despite parent company BMG Entertainment's expected financial losses.

Houston, who turns 38 next week, has sold more than 140 million records worldwide and has won seven Grammy awards*. Her hits include I Will Always Love You, Saving All My Love For You and I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

"I am so excited with this new deal and I'm looking forward to going into the studio soon to start work on my next album," she said in a statement.

"Arista Records has been my home since the beginning of my career.

"I am happy to be continuing the relationship and I look forward to working with [Arista president] LA Reid and the new Arista family."

There had been speculation that she would move to J Records, which was set up a year ago by Houston's mentor and Arista founder Clive Davis.

Mr Reid said: "I've had the pleasure of working with Whitney as a producer and songwriter for more than 10 years and I regard her as a close, personal friend. I look forward to a warm and productive relationship with Whitney at Arista for many, many years to come."

She is now expected to begin recording her first album under the new deal within weeks.

It is likely that a suggested tour with husband Bobby Brown will now be put back until the new album is finished.

Houston's career appeared to have stalled until 1998's My Love Is Your Love album, which featured collaborations with Wyclef Jean and Missy Elliot, and a duet with Mariah Carey.   Five songs from the album went on to reach the top 10 of the UK singles chart**.

But she landed in trouble after marijuana was found in her handbag at a Hawaiian airport in January 2000.

She was ordered to pay fines and could have faced jail in Hawaii, but charges were dropped earlier this year.

Arista have decided to take a risk to keep the singer with the label despite BMG Entertainment's expected losses more than $150m (105m) for the year up to 30 June.

* Whitney has six Grammys
** My Love Is Your Love produced three UK Top Tens

NEWSFILE: 3 AUGUST 2001
 

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