Jessica Simpson's relationship with Columbia Records Group may have lasted longer than her marriage but, as in life, the songstress has decided to move on.
After working with Columbia since 1999, Simpson, 25, is now moving to Epic Records, where she'll finish her follow-up to 2003's In this Skin. The new as-yet untitled album is expected sometime this year, and an unnamed source told Billboard magazine that an R&B-style single is on the way. Simpson has said that her record will have "a little bit of everything in it."
The Dukes of Hazzard star's trip from Columbia to Epic was a short one--both labels are owned by Sony Music Group--and she will see familiar faces upon arrival. Epic President Charlie Walk, who was promoted to his position in December, used to be executive VP of creative marketing and promotion for Columbia Records.
"I love all my friends and supporters at Columbia," Simpson told Billboard. "I will miss them as I start this new relationship. Charlie Walk was my first hero at Columbia?I couldn't think of anyone I would trust more than Charlie to present my new music to the world. Epic is in a new place with a new leader. It just seems the right place for me as I begin my new journey."
In this Skin has sold 2.9 million copies in the United States, buoyed by the number one single "With You" and a lot of MTV exposure for Simpson via Newlyweds. When "With You" was in regular rotation, it seemed obvious that the lovey-dovey lyrics were directed at hubby Nick Lachey. Now that the couple have moved out of their mansion and into Splitsville, Simpson will need to tap into a different source of inspiration for her upcoming album.
Meanwhile, Lachey is idling on the charts with his new single, "What's Left of Me" (which, he has told reporters, is not reflective of his state of mind). He was also a regular fixture on the sidelines when younger brother Drew was quick-steppin' on ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Nick Lachey is also currently in talks to star in the first original sitcom for the new CW network, She Said/He Said.
Although Lachey, 32, reached a certain degree of popularity with boy-band 98 Degrees, Simpson passed him in earning power during their time together, prompting Lachey's request for spousal support during their ongoing divorce proceedings.
"Not to be crass, but divorce seems to suit Nick Lachey," Billboard wrote in a review of "What's Left of Me," saying the singer had never sounded "so impassioned or more mature." The song peaked at number 67 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, so perhaps not everyone has gotten the message that we're dealing with a new-and-improved Nick.
Meanwhile, in addition to her musical wheeling and dealing, Simpson has been busy shooting Employee of the Month with costar Dane Cook in New Mexico. She has been photographed on set sporting a fake pregnant belly for her role as a bombshell small-town cashier.