With various police and FBI investigations underway, it all seems to be coming to a head for R Kelly, whose decades of sexual predation on black women and girls have come under media scrutiny once more. But it seems the R&B singer is still trying to release new music.
According to Billboard, Kelly has recorded an album he wants to release “imminently.” His last studio album was the 2016 holiday record, 12 Nights of Christmas.
Per Billboard, the singer’s team has been pursuing new distribution avenues for several months, even before Lifetime aired Surviving R Kelly, a bombshell documentary series about Kelly’s victims, and before the singer was dropped by Sony’s RCA Records earlier this month.
It’s still unclear how successful Kelly’s search for a distributor will be, though his spokesperson—Don Russell, a longtime friend of his who also serves as an advisor and consultant—told Rolling Stone they were optimistic. “I can’t quite speak on the labels, and whether they’re indie or major, but the interest is there,” Russell said earlier this month. “We’ve got a handful of files to deal with. Rob is an international star.”
Other industry experts RS interviewed noted that despite the outcry against Kelly, he might very well ink a deal with a distributor or label, especially in the independent sector.
Former Island Def Jam chairman Jim Caparro told RS that he personally does not condone any of Kelly’s behavior, but said, “It would be very surprising if some label did not sign him. He’s too big of a talent and there’s too much pressure to ignore the commercial aspects.”
“I imagine there’s someone out there who’s always trying to make money no matter how low they’re willing to stoop,” said Michael Tolle, director of operations of hip hop label Mello Music Group. “The world is so full of talent, I don’t know why, as a label, anyone would overlook this kind of stuff and choose to work with somebody [like Kelly].”