Ne-Yo chats to entertainment.ie
Ne-Yo is one of the busiest men in music. The RnB star juggles a career as a renowned performer and songwriter, coupled with the position of Vice President of A&R at the world-famous Motown Records. His fifth album R.E.D. was released in October of last year and entertainment.ie music editor John Balfe caught up with him for a chat about that, his Motown position and just how crazy it can be to guest host Nevermind The Buzzcocks.
I just wanted to talk about the new record first, while it's very much an RnB record at its core, I think it has crossover elements into other types of music, firstly would you say that's correct, and secondly, if so would you say that's a deliberate attempt to diversify, to make the album go in different directions, or do you just not really care about what other people label it?
My plan for the album was to basically split it down the middle. RnB is definitely my core. It's where I came from, but I've been blessed enough to be able to do some of this pop stuff too, some of the more pop and EDM type stuff. It is an absolute blessing that my fans have allowed me to be this adventurous, to try out some new things. With that being said, I get a lot of love on both sides, so I decided to make one half of the album predominately RnB the other half predominately pop.
Well that must be quite satisfying to hear as well, especially considering that you were going for that reaction from different sorts of people different crowds.
You know what, I make music for the world man. If that's who you are, check out R.E.D.
The Tim McGraw collaboration on R.E.D., how did that come about?
Well I went out to Nashville, which is funny that's actually where I am right now. I went out there a few years ago for some writing, y'know, I'm a songwriter first and foremost. It was my first time coming out, I didn't know what to expect, I'd never been here before, I'd never worked with any country artist before, but I was supposed to do some stuff with Tim McGraw and possibly his wife. So I was supposed to show up at his studio, you meet a producer and the producer, he plays you some music and you write what you're gonna write, you get on a plane and you go home. That's the normal happening. Until that the home of Tim McGraw which, by the way, is the biggest house I've ever been in. I went in, they greeted me at the door it was Tim, Faith [Hill], the kids. And y'know I met the kids the kids are running around, Faith went into the kitchen, cooked everybody chicken. It was just a really, really cool experience. Then it was me, Tim McGraw and a guy with a guitar and we wrote, and y'know we kept in contact, y'know this really down to earth group of people. So when I put together the song 'She Is' I wanted to have something that towed the line between RnB music and Country music. And I said to myself, if I'm gonna do that the best way to do that is to get some country music royalty. So I called up Tim McGraw, he was all for it.
It's funny when things come about that way, when you meet people like this and they're exactly how you want them to be, the perception you have in your mind is actually correct.
You met him and you really have no perception at all, you don't know what to expect and that can be positive.
I wanted to ask you very quickly if I may about your position in Motown.
Yeah! I'm the vice president of A&R.
Do you ever sit back and get taken aback by how cool a position that is? This record company, their achievements over the last fifty or so years are just incredible.
I've definitely sat back for a couple of minutes and y'know, basked in the light. But you can't do that for too long. Motown, that's a huge name to uphold. The position I hold now is the same position as Smoky Robertson held and he's one of my idols in music. So y'know no pressure! The people you look up to, no pressure at all.
How much extra work have you taken on for this?
Well, Motown has a whole roster of brand new artists, I'm basically writing songs for everybody on the roster now. As well as putting my two cents in on the artist development. Now that's something the labels used to do back in the days, when we had a bunch of icons running around, and they don't do it anymore. It takes a lot of money and a lot of time, but at the end of the day it's an investment it's worth it. I've gained a bit of knowledge over the time I've been here so it's cool to take that knowledge and give it to some of the new artists.
You must have a unique perspective because you're in this position now but 13, 14, 15 years ago you were in their position, trying to get to the next level. Is there anything that you wish you could have told yourself then?
To be honest, no. If I had the power to go back to 15 years ago I would tell myself to do everything that you are planning to do. Everything that happens to you good and bad, leads to where you are. If you went back to change something, you might not be in the place you are right now. I definitely don't want that.
What about your stint as a guest host on Nevermind The Buzzcocks? It looks like you had a good time, I certainly hope you did.
Yeah it was fun it was a lot of fun! They told what the show was, about the people on the show, how it can be a little crazy. But there's no preparation for that show, you can't prepare for that. I was trying really hard to read the teleprompter because I was cracking up.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Monday 21st January 2013 | Music
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