The diva ends months in the music industry wilderness after her departure from Virgin...

Mariah Carey has ended months in the music industry wilderness by signing a new deal with UNIVERSAL/ISLAND imprint DEF JAM RECORDS.

The fallen diva, paid off in a multi-million pound deal by EMI Virgin earlier this year, is expected to set up her own imprint, though it’s yet to be named.

“I’m incredibly happy,” Mariah Carey said in a statement. “It’s a tremendous and unprecedented opportunity to be working in tandem with [Universal Music Group Chairman/CEO] Doug [Morris], [Island/Def Jam President/CEO] Lyor [Cohen] and [Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman] Jimmy [Iovine], and to have the benefit of their powerful international forces led by [Universal Music International Chairman] Jorgen Larsen. They have collectively helped redefine pop music, and I am excited to be part of their family.”

A deal with Def Jam had been mooted as far back as January, just days after she was bumped off by Virgin. At the time, Mariah Carey was reportedly talking to the rap super-label about a two album deal worth between $3 million and $5 million (£2.1 – £3.5 million) an album. Negotiations were said to be going on between Mariah Carey and Def Jam CEO Lyor Cohen.

Yesterday, Cohen said: “Despite offers from many of our competitors, we are delighted that Mariah has chosen Island as the place to begin the next phase of her unprecedented career. The hallmark of Island Records has always been to take the current model of bringing music to the fans, turning it on its head, and redefining it for a new generation.”

Mariah Carey will find herself vying for pole diva position within the Universal group with another huge selling female star, Shania Twain. Twain is signed to Mercury, also owned by Universal.

Mariah Carey received a £19.6 million pay-off when she was dumped by EMI/Virgin in January. The star had banked £14.7 as an up-front fee when she signed to the label early last year.