Ne-Yo the artist is busy these days, touring with Alicia Keys and preparing for the Aug. 15 release of his third Def Jam album, “Year of the Gentleman.” But Ne-Yo the songwriter is equally, with rash of high-profile tracks either just out or coming.
One surprising entry on his docket is an uptempo track called “Bossy” the he worked on with Stargate for Lindsay Lohan’s next album. “I gotta admit, we were like … Lindsay Lohan?'” Ne-Yo says with a laugh. “I mean, I’ve written for Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Celine Dion and … Lindsay Lohan? But I will say this; we gave her a quality record and she did a ridiculously fabulous job. I was so shocked I had to call her and apologize for what I was thinking because she did so good. I think the world is gonna be surprised.”
Just out is the Ne-Yo-penned “Spotlight,” the first single from ex-“American Idol” contestant and “Dreamgirls” Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson’s self-titled debut, due in September. Ne-Yo says “they’re still putting the (album) together right now” but that he’s “really, really proud” that his song was chose to be its calling card.
“They were really trying to figure out where to take her,” he explains. “The main issue with Jennifer Hudson is her voice is so huge, so how do you take that and radio-ize it, make it radio-friendly. She can’t do (‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’) every song ’cause you’ll eventually be tired of it. So (‘Spotlight’) is kind of a classy midtempo, and I hope and pray it does well ’cause Jennifer is an amazing talent.”
Ne-Yo also wrote for Leona Lewis’ “Spirit” album and says he’s “not surprised at all” by her success. “Her voice is incredible. She’s beautiful. She kinda has all the ingredients to be a major star.” He co-wrote the track “His Mistakes” for Usher’s new album, “Here I Stand,” and is happy that “I actually got to sit down wtih Usher and talk to him and see where his head is at now so I could write the right record.”
As for the forthcoming Michael Jackson project he’s been linked to, Ne-Yo says “there’s nothing new. I’m submitting songs and I… still don’t know anything about a release date or any of that.”
Ne-Yo will be on the road with Keys through June 18 in New York.