By Jack Barnes
NE-YO has been a tastemaker for a whole generation of popular music. An artist only reaches such permeating success when they apply skill and hard work to their innate talent. A singer, a dancer, a songwriter, a father (and a vegan) — there’s more than meets the ear to this R&B hitmaker.
“It feels great considering I’ve never attempted to start any sort of trend,” he says. “I just do music the way it feels good to me. Glad to know that what feels good to me feels good to quite a few people! I’m honoured.”
The R&B sphere has migrated significantly away from the music he grew up listening to. Classic R&B was an emblem of romanticism, affection and passion-fuelled lyricism. In today’s world of warped ideas on masculinity, excessive materialism and objectification Hip-Hop and R&B have all but erased any remnant of vulnerability. The 38-year-old is conscious of this shift in authenticity but insists artists upholding the core of R&B still exist.
“I’ve been blessed to have worked with a number of amazing artists,” he says. “It’s always a memorable experience when the song comes together so well you can already see yourself performing it.”
NE-YO’s self-awareness is encouraging to see. Music sets the framework for what’s acceptable and his message is a progressive step in the right direction. Read the full interview here.
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