Jason Castro has signed with Atlantic Records.

The "American Idol" third runner up from last season-he was the one with dreads-is working with a number of top producers and songwriters, including "AI" judge Kara Dioguardi, Martin Terefe (Jason Mraz), Jason Reeve (Colbie Caillat) and Sacha Skarbek (James Blunt). John Fields (Lifehouse, Switchfoot) is producing the album.

While my first reaction (okay, my second reaction-my first was "Who the heck is Jason Castro and why does that name sound familiar?") was that it's too long a period of time between his season and his debut release, time has proven that a little distance between a contestant's final warble on "AI" and their first note of their solo album can be a very good thing. It took Chris Daughtry a considerable amount of time between his "AI" exit and his solo album's release and 4 million records later, he's doing just fine (and hard at work on his sophomore album). Jennifer Hudson took enough time off to win an Oscar between her "AI" days and her solo album. With the passage of time, Castro will get a fresh start with the audience, but his most fervent of "AI" will still be there for him.


The album is slated to come out later this year.