Ne-Yo is a household name in R&B. Being introduced to music at a young age, the chart-topping artist credits his upbringing as the foundation of those melodic harmonies. “Everybody in my family from my mother’s side and my father’s side does something in the realm of music, be it singing, or writing or playing an instrument. I didn’t have a choice, it was going to be music for me.” In an exclusive interview with Billboard on the heels of taking a 23andMe DNA test, he credits his family, values, and experiences as the foundation of his melodies, “These things make up who I am, therefore, these things make up what my music is.”<br><br>
Ne-Yo is having a major come-back this summer with his new album Good Man. The Pop and R&B singer opened up to Billboard about his identity and recent body of work, saying fans will get the chance to experience a different sound. Good Man sees Ne-Yo blending genres with the same red thread throughout — strong melodies.
While melodic hooks have long been his trademark, the singer-songwriter is looking for new ways to express them. “I’ve started experimenting with different sounds and my taste for different melodies has started to grow and evolve. The game is different, the sound is different, but at the core of it, it’s still me…My voice is my voice, albeit over a country record or over a hip-hop record, it’s still me,” says a forward-looking Ne-Yo. The new album blends pop, dancehall, and electronic synths featuring impressive names like Bebe Rexha, Stefflon Don, Romeo Santos and PARTYNEXTDOOR.
“Usher said it best. He said, ‘Evolve or evaporate,’ and I don’t plan on evaporating anytime soon, so evolution is what it is.” He continues, “Romeo Santos is featured on this album, and I didn’t go in with him like, ‘Let’s do a song for the Spanish market now.’ It was just, ‘Here’s a guy who I’m actually a fan of. Let’s get in the studio and just see what happens.’ And the song we came up with is actually one of the standouts on the album. It just came from two guys who share the same passion for music in the studio doing what came naturally.”
Staying true to who he is, while always looking to his full potential is what Ne-Yo sees as the crux of his drive as an artist. An integral part of his artistic success is constantly reminding himself of his value as a father, son, and husband, saying, “When it’s all said and done, I want people to say, ‘Ne-Yo was a real guy, a genuine guy.’ I’m more than grateful for everything I’ve accomplished at this point, but my idea of success has changed…If I never go platinum again, I’m not really tripping. For me, it’s more about getting my message across to the people that are there and willing to receive it.”