07/08/2004 at 06:00 PM EDT
Talk about a cool birthday gift.
Lindsay Lohan, who turned 18 on July 2, has signed a long-term, multi-album contract with Tommy Mottola's Casablanca Records, which is distributed by Universal Music Group, UMG spokesman Peter Lofrumento tells PEOPLE.com.
Mottola, who joined the Universal group last year after nearly a decade and a half with Sony, has been a driving force behind several dynamic female voices, including Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey, whom he divorced in 1998. His current wife, Latin singing star Thalia, is another successful protégé.
Mottola has said of Lohan: "I think she's the next big star on the horizon. She has the potential ... of any of the big ones I've worked with."
Lohan's move into music won't come as a surprise to her ardent fans. In addition to displaying her musical bent in Freaky Friday, the young star also demonstrated a talent for tunes in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Lohan contributed songs to the soundtracks for both films. Her work with famed songwriter Diane Warren on the upcoming "I Decide," from the Princess Diaries 2 soundtrack, reportedly helped seal the deal.