Ruben Studdard Inks Deal with SRG/ILS, Taps Balewa Muhammad for New Album

Ruben Studdard Inks Deal with SRG/ILS, Taps Balewa Muhammad for New Album


Ruben Studdard has signed a new record deal under SoNo Recording Group (SRG/ILS), the independent boutique label founded in 2012. He joins a roster that includes Chaka Khan, Kenny Lattimore, Raheem DeVaughn, Angie Stone, Eric Roberson, and more.

“I am truly excited to join a label that is always looking out their artists and making sure that whatever they release, it’s great music that is impactful to the culture,” Studdard said in a statement.

“After partnering with veteran songwriter and producer Balewa Muhammad and executive producer, Walter W. Millsap, I just knew that finding the right home for me was key and I am happy to be here, and I am ready to rock and roll with Claude Villani and the entire SRG/ILS team.”

Balewa Muhammad, who has worked with artists such as Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, Ciara and Fantasia, commented on Studdard’s new deal.

“Working with Ruben, I just knew that we needed the right partnership, and with all the buzz that the SRG/ILS Group has been getting on making sure that legacy artists in the R&B space still had a voice, it was only right for us to meet with them and speak about Ruben joining the family,” Muhammad shared.  

Claude Villani, founder and CEO of SRG/ILS Group, added, “Ruben is a perfect fit for SRG/ILS. He is incredibly talented and always working. We are excited about the partnership and ready to help him continue his amazing career.” 

Studdard is hard at work on a new album, which features production and songwriting input from Muhammad. It will mark Studdard’s first album of new material since 2014’s Unconditional Love. The album debuted at No. 7 on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart and No. 46 on the Billboard 200.

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Unconditional Love included a vocal appearance from Lalah Hathaway, as well as the single “Love, Love, Love.” The latter track peaked at No. 25 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Airplay chart.

In 2018, Studdard, who won cycle two of American Idol in 2003, released a tribute album to Vandross titled Ruben Sings Luther Vandross. He toured the album on a 22-date trek dubbed the Always and Forever Tour.

Speaking of American Idol and touring, Studdard is co-headlining a 20th-anniversary tour with Idol alum Clay Aiken, who was a close second to Studdard in season two.

The joint trek, dubbed the Twenty The Tour, begins April 12 at Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, New York. From there, the two gents will perform nationwide in various cities, including Norwalk, Connecticut; Bensalem, Pennsylvania; Charlotte, North Carolina; St. Charles, Illinois; and Wabash, Indianapolis.

The Twenty The Tour concludes at Grant Theater on May 16 in Wausau, Wisconsin. Get more information on tickets at

Revisit Ruben Studdard’s breakout hit “Sorry 2004” below.

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