When chart-topping singer/songwriter Ne-Yo isn’t headlining around the globe, the daddy of two always makes time to re-visit his second home, the studio. Remaining true to his R&B roots, the "Let Me Love You" singer has been keeping busy, collaborating with music's beloved while mentoring a new crop of talented hopefuls.
His latest endeavor includes a remastered version of Ciara’s “Body Party,” where he brings an even more sensual atmosphere to the soirée.
“Ciara is a friend and I know a few of the people that work at her label. I made sure that I got the blessing from her first before I did it,” he tells VIBE. “They sent me the instrumental and I did what I did. It’s a song that I really like from her so I just decided to throw the gentleman’s touch on it.”
When it comes to double takes, the dapper crooner is more prone to crafting originals but when asked if he considered touching Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie" given his affinity for black tie ensembles, Ne-Yo said hopping on the feel-good track crossed his mind.
“I didn’t want people to feel like I was taking a jab at him or nothing like that, but when the song came out, a lot of people came at me like, ‘Suit and Tie? Okay Justin is trying to jump in your lane,'" he said. "I’m not the first person to wear a suit and tie. C’mon y’all, it doesn’t have to be that.” He mentions that it would have been a different story if the pair did the song together. "I wouldn’t take it upon myself to take the liberty," he adds. "I wouldn’t do that.”
Still, the seasoned hit-maker continues to juggle fedoras with his A&R position at Universal Motown Records and spearheading his Compound University label. He says that his first signee Soona Rele, a singer/songwriter from the United Kingdom, is a fusion of Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys and Weeknd. “I’ve been really focusing on making sure her stuff is all the way right as well,” he said about his discovery.
Despite his tight schedule, Ne-Yo has also managed to squeeze in some time with hip-hop's first couple, Jay-Z and Beyoncé, separately. While he's tight-lipped about the "Grown Woman" singer's upcoming project, he says she is preparing something that “she’s not going to put it out until it’s all the way right.”
He also hinted at a possible record with Bey's other half, who is piecing together his forthcoming album Magna Carta Holy Grail, due July 4.
"I did a session for Jay-Z. He’s back in the studio putting some stuff together," he said. "I don’t know if I’m going to make the cut but I put some hooks together. We’ll see what happens."
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