9. Ne-Yo – November 2006
Ne-Yo speaks to Aries from UrbanBridgez.com on his debut album, writing hits for other artists, his favorite male artists and much more!
Aries (UBG): How do you feel about the Usher comparisons?
Ne-Yo: Oh wow! You know what, I take that as the highest compliment I could get because he’s the best doing it right now, how can you really be mad at being compared to the best? But I want to be the first Ne-Yo and not the next Usher.
Aries (UBG): How do you get your creative juices flowing?
Ne-Yo: Umm, I’m weird. I don’t do things like some other people, like light candles, sit in front of the Ocean view (laughs). I just sit down and listen to the track and end up writing the song in like 15-20 minutes. Inspiration can come from anywhere. I can be in my house and glance over at the trash can, then look at a chair and start writing from that. Using the chair as the girl and make a story about her writing me a love note and just take it from there.
Aries (UBG): Who are the producers on the album?
Ne-Yo: My production company Compound did half of the record. Remember Something for The People? Two of them are down with Compound now. Six John out of L.A. Stargate from the UK. Just really a lot of up-coming producers. I wanted to do it that way because it’s almost like you’re forced to listen to something if a big name producer did it, our ears are tuned to give it a chance. These guys I worked with are not known, so when people hear the music, they can get how good it really is without it being the name. Everybody should get a fair shot.
Aries (UBG): Did you write Let Me Love You for yourself first? Or was it for Mario & did you expect it to be that huge?
Ne-Yo: No it was always for Mario, people always ask me why didn’t I keep it for myself (laughs)? I met Scott in L.A. and he told me whenever I was in Miami to stop by so we could work on something. So when I went to Miami I did and he happen to be working with Mario at that time. So we just wrote the song then and Mario was actually there when we wrote it. Did I expect it to be that huge (laughs), not at all. I was very surprised, but happy
Aries (UBG): What’s your favorite song, other than one of your own?
Ne-Yo: It’s actually a song by Prince that people always have a heard time finding, like me. It’s called “Joy in Repetition” it’s on the Graffiti Bridge soundtrack. I’m currently looking for it now.
Aries (UBG): Has Jay-Z given you any advice as a new artist?
Ne-Yo: Oh yeah actually him and LA Reid both have. Jay-Z just told me to be myself at all times. He said that’s why people like him because he’s Jay-Z all the time. Being in the public eye, you have to be yourself. There’s Ne-Yo then Shaffer, Shaffer is my birth given name (laughs), and Ne-Yo is my stage name. So I have to be Ne-Yo at all times.
Aries (UBG): What are 5 other males that are out now that you like and listen to?
Ne-Yo: Wow that’s hard, are there even 5 male artists out right now (laughs)? Chris Brown, I worked with him, he’s a real cool person. Mario of course, he’s doing his thing, of course I worked with him. Jamie Foxx is about to drop and I worked with him and Trey Songz is hot, I’m feeling him. Last let’s see, oh yeah John Legend.
Aries (UBG): Your bio mentions you wrote for Faith Evans, Exactly what songs did you write for Faith?
Ne-Yo: I wrote a song for her current album “The First Lady,” it’s actually on the international release, but that’s cool. It’s called “Do My Thing.”
Aries (UBG): What does Ne-Yo mean, is it symbolic for anything?
Ne-Yo: Naw the name came from Big D, he’s a producer, he did Tupac’s Brenda’s Got A Baby. Out of the blue he just started calling me Ne-Yo, he use to say music can be Ne-Yo, whatever that means (laughs), it just stuck.
Aries (UBG): What is Ne-Yo thankful for this year?
Ne-Yo: Man I’m thankful for everything. To be here doing what I love is something to be thankful and I’m thankful for that every year. To be able to provide for myself as well as my family.
Aries (UBG): What’s the next single?
Ne-Yo: “So Sick” it was done from some kats from the UK, Stargate. It’s dope!
Aries (UBG): How did you hook up with Stargate?
Ne-Yo: I met them through my friend Tim, he saw me in the studio. They were working with this artist Lee Ryan who’s real big in the UK. So I went in the studio with them and the tracks were just hot. If they gave me a CD with 10 songs on it, you could guarantee 9 would be hot! So I did something for Lee and that’s how me and Stargate started working together.
Aries (UBG): What’s next for Ne-Yo?
Ne-Yo: I’m actually headed to Toronto to start filming a movie. It’s for Save The Last Dance II, I’m not the main character, I’m a club owner. I’m writing the whole soundtrack, so they wanted to give me a role in the film. And I’m about to start my tour with John Legend.
Aries (UBG): Any last words for your fans?
Ne-Yo: Thanks for all of the love and support. I’m trying to bring real R&B music back to the forefront, feel free to help me anyway you can (laughs). The album In My Own Words will be out December 27th.