When Anthony Hamilton, one of the last mainstream singers working in the southern soul tradition, releases his eighth studio album in 2021, it will mark the first time that the 49-year-old R&B veteran owns the rights to his music. “We’ve thought about this day since 2005,” says Eli Davis, Hamilton’s longtime manager. “You’re no longer a ‘slave’ to a system.”

Hamilton, whose tender, tortured “Back Together (Quiet Storm Mix)” is currently playing at radio, is part of a growing number of R&B acts cutting ties with major labels. After years of fealty to a broken system — one that often takes ownership of a singer’s masters as part of any deal — many R&B acts are regaining control of their music, and their careers.

Charlie Wilson, the former Gap Band member whose exuberant “One I Got” single is number one at R&B radio, is now operating independently after fulfilling a six-album major label deal. Ledisi’s The Wild Card, out now, is her first independent release in over a decade. These singers join a growing movement: Leela James, Raheem DeVaughn, India.Arie, Fantasia, Brandy, K-Ci Hailey, and K. Michelle are among the artists who enjoy some commercial success — R&B radio hits, well attended shows — and have decided (or been forced) to create their music outside of the major-label system.

“Everyone came to the point: What are you all doing for us?” explains Michael Paran, who runs P Music Group, a label and management company that works with Wilson and Hailey, among others. “Major labels are not gonna do anything for me. The only thing I would want is for them to go work mainstream radio, but that’s not gonna happen. So why do you give up everything just to have a label?” Read more in Yahoo.