In the time since his last album, Ne-Yo has become a father for the second time, hit the big screen (with a role in the George Lucas-directed "Red Tails") and he recently took on the job of senior vice president of Artists and Repertoire at a little company known as Universal Motown, a job that music legend Smokey Robinson once held. But even with a full plate, he says he is focused on making sure his newly released set "R.E.D." -- which stands for "Realizing Every Dream" -- is a success.
"I started setting a lot of dreams and aspirations for myself," he says about his childhood. "I wanted to win Grammys. I wanted the respect and appreciation of my peers. I wanted to travel the world behind my music and provide for my family. I can honestly say that from [the age of] 9 until now at 33 years old, just about every dream I set for myself has been realized through music."
On what he calls the most well-balanced project of his career, "R.E.D." is split between R&B and dance tracks in an effort to satisfy his entire fan base. The result is an album equally useful in the bedroom as it is in the club.
The singer/songwriter has been outspoken about the lack of passion in today's R&B. Yet even with his criticism, he is quickly able to point to a few artists that get him going. "I love what Frank Ocean is doing with the R&B right now," he says. "He definitely has a different take on it. That's a good step in the right direction."
Ne-Yo also admits that the criticism he offered to Trey Songz was premature.
"I had made some comments about Trey that I have to retract and apologize to him. I hadn't listened to 'Chapter V' yet," he says of Songz's latest work. "He is putting the passion back in it. His performance is definitely there."
With his new role at Motown, Ne-Yo hopes to be able to do just that. He also says he likes the idea of being a part of history. "I'd like to be instrumental in the revitalization of Motown," he says. "And more importantly ... I'd like to be able to take the knowledge that I have acquired and ... pass it down."
‘In My Own Words’
Ne-Yo says that although he enjoys performing, what has always been more important to him is that he actually has a song that’s worth performing.
“At 9 I discovered the beauty of songwriting,” he says. “I didn’t know if I was going to be an artist. I didn’t know if I was going to play an instrument. But I knew it was going to be music.”