Former "American Idol" finalist Phil Stacey has partnered with Reunion Records and plans to release his first project with them later this summer.
Stacey, who before "Idol" was a church music minister in Jacksonville, Fla., was among the final six contenders during the sixth season of "American Idol" three years ago and noted for his upbeat personality and openly religious style.
The relationship between Stacey and Reunion, a division of Provident Label Group, began last fall following his performance at an event honoring Christian music star Michael W. Smith in Nashville.
"Phil is a great vocalist with a friendly and approachable style," says Provident President and CEO Terry Hemmings, who attended the event last year. "He owned the room when he performed and I thought he'd be a great fit with our label group."
Following Stacey's moving performance, Hemmings reached out to the former "Idol" to inquire about his career plans. At that time Stacey's self-titled debut album had been out for only a few months after debuting at No. 43 on the Billboard 200 and selling 24,000 copies.
Regarding the invitation to join the Reunion Records family, Stacey said he was "incredibly excited."
"The artists and music they have released over the years have helped shape and mold me into the person I am today," said Stacey, who is working on his new project with producer Brown Bannister (Amy Grant, Mandisa, Steven Curtis Chapman).
"This will be an amazing journey," Stacey added.
News of Stacey's latest move broke out just days before fellow season six "Idol" contender Melinda Doolittle released her first album, Coming Back to You.
"Melinda's CD is incredible," Stacey twittered on Tuesday, the day Doolittle's CD released.
Season six of "American Idol," which featured both Stacey and Doolittle, was noted as the TV series' most Christian-dominated season with five of the top ten finalists having strong church ties. All five have since gone on to pursue their music careers, with four having released albums. The fifth, LaKisha Jones, will be releasing her debut album on Feb. 17.