Sara Evans is the latest country artist to establish her own record label, with the first album due this summer, Billboard has exclusively learned.
Evans named the imprint Born to Fly Records, branding it after her 2000 single, which embraced adventurous messaging and became the second No. 1 hit of her career.
The firm's first album, which is still untitled, follows seven other studio projects Evans recorded for RCA Nashville, her label home since she signed her first recording deal. Sony RED will distribute Born to Fly, and a single will ship to radio in the coming weeks, though the promotion structure is still under discussion.
Evans worked on the project with producer Mark Bright (Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts), who also guided her albums Real Fine Place and Slow Me Down, and with label/publishing veteran Tracy Gershon, who handled A&R. Evans continues to be managed by The Collective's Brinson Strickland and Craig Dunn, with William Morris Endeavor's Becky Gardenhire handling concert booking.
"I feel like I'm an adult now and I've got my own home and my own family instead of following the rules of anyone else," says Evans, echoing the Born to Fly spirit.
This month marks 20 years since the release of her first single, 1997's "True Lies." Evans garnered 14 top 20 singles during her tenure at RCA, with five rising to No. 1, including 1998's "No Place That Far," featuring Vince Gill; 2005's "A Real Fine Place to Start"; and 2011's two-week chart-topper "A Little Bit Stronger."
Evans has left the door open to work with other acts through Born to Fly. She mentions daughter Olivia Schelske, who provided background vocals on the new album, as a budding artist who could benefit.
"I'm so excited," says Evans, "because it's like I'm taking complete control of my music."