Left to right: Universal's Barry Weiss, Ne-Yo and Motown's Ethiopia Habtemariam after announcing Ne-Yo's new role at Motown in January
While walking the red carpet at the MTV Video Music Awards, Ne-Yo took a moment to talk with Billboard about both his upcoming album, "R.E.D.," and his new day job as Motown's new senior VP of A&R.
"I do have an office and it's bigger than a lot of other people's offices, but I'm rarely there," he said, before a joking grin began to creep onto his face. "I have my own parking space with my face in it. They actually painted a picture of me on the asphalt … I have seven white doves that are flown every time I enter the building," he laughed.
In January, Motown announced exclusively to Billboard.biz that the singer/songwriter would be moving from Def Jam to the Motown family. "In Ne-Yo we have both a global superstar and arguably one of the best songwriters in music." Ethiopia Habtemariam, senior VP of Motown, said in a statement announcing the move.
He brings with him one of the more enviable track records of the past decade. With Def Jam, he had four top 10 albums on the Billboard 200: "In My Own Words (2006), "Because of You" (2007), "Year of the Gentleman" (2008), and "Libra Scale" in 2010. He's also written or produced hits for artists like Rihanna, Beyonce and Leona Lewis.
With his upcoming album, "R.E.D." (an acronym for "Realizing Every Dream," due in November), he detailed one of the skills that can make him a strong A&R person as well as a producer.
"I pride myself on being able to do a song with someone like Young Jeezy and then turn around and do a song with, say, Calvin Harris and they both make sense," he said.
He did note that the first few months in his new job have not been without their challenges.
"It's definitely something that I have to learn," he said. "It's a task. The mindset of an artist and the mindset of an executive -- they don't necessarily speak the same language all the time, if you know what I mean. So the language of executive is one that I am learning currently."