October 24, 2008

Ne-Yo Featured In Asbury Park Press!

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The future is here for R&B superstar Ne-Yo. Well, it's almost here, give or take a few songs. Ne-Yo's hit album, "Year of the Gentleman," almost represented a complete stylistic change for the Las Vegas-raised singer and composer. But then he reconsidered. "The first time I turned it in, I went to the label (Island/Def Jam) like "I need it back, because I'm not finished,' " Ne-Yo said. "I listened to it again, and I realized that I left out my core Ne-Yo audience, who listened to my music as is and aren't necessarily ready for me to grow and evolve yet." "I had to put some songs on there that were very recognizably Ne-Yo as opposed to trying to create this whole new sound." New tracks with a bit of a rhythmic edge were added. " "Miss Independent' was added and "Mad' was added," Ne-Yo said. "Some songs were taken away that maybe went a little too far in one direction that we'll probably bring back later on." As it stands, "Gentleman" is a singular work that stands alone among the hype on today's urban charts. The album is refined, soulful and musically oriented — as opposed to beat oriented — R&B-leaning pop. Such are the shades of delicacy — especially on tracks like "Why Does She Stay," "Lie To Me" and "So You Can Cry" — on the album as to make it a type of easy listening for the hip-hop set. "With this one I decided to do some experimenting as far as the sound of the music," Ne-Yo said. "We took bits and pieces of different genres and incorporated them into what I'm doing. I kind of wanted to be, "If it didn't work, let me think by myself, and if it does work, let me ride this wave by myself.' " Ne-Yo is riding high. The album made its debut at No. 2 on Billboard's albums chart (No. 1 on Billboard's R&B and hip-hop chart) when issued on Sept. 16 and has so far sold close to half-a-million copies. Ne-Yo, born Shaffer C. Smith, presently lives in Atlanta. He made his name in the game as an ace songwriter early on, co-penning Mario's smash, "Let Me Love You." "So Sick," a mournful ballad, put Ne-Yo on the map, as did his co-writing of the Beyonce hit, "Irreplaceable," in '06. The Grammy winning Ne-Yo has remained very active since then, releasing three albums and writing hits, including "Take a Bow" for Rihanna, for others. Michael might be up next. "I'm trying to write a song for Michael Jackson, that's a head-trip in itself," Ne-Yo said. "They're being very selective and careful in what they choose to keep or not." What can fans expect at the Izod Center Tuesday? "Energy and quality overall," Ne-Yo said. 

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