The [article id="1581292"]Grammy Awards[/article] may be about the competition, pitting artist against artist, but according to Ne-Yo, he's more of a unifier. He says that's the case even if there are some who want to slow the freshly minted Grammy winner's roll. He's looking at you, R. Kelly.
Ne-Yo — who won Best Contemporary R&B Album for his Because of You LP — spoke with MTV News late last week in Los Angeles about [article id="1574763"]getting booted[/article] from [article id="1571099"]Kelly's Double Up tour[/article] in November, after which his camp [article id="1578828"]sued the tour's promoter[/article] in December for breach of contract.
"That's something that my management and my lawyers are doing," the singer/songwriter said. "Me personally? I've let it go. I'm not the hold-a-grudge guy. I'm not gonna see R. Kelly in the street and run up on him and swing on him. I'm not gonna do a dis record about R. Kelly. It was what it was. It happened. For whatever reason, he, I don't know, I guess felt threatened by me and kicked me off tour. Life goes on.
"I don't have a problem with the man," he continued. "It's apparent he has a problem with me — he kicked me off tour."
But if the Pied Piper isn't interested in Ne-Yo, the young R&B star certainly isn't fretting — there are plenty of other artists out there that do want his services. He recently [article id="1554601"]fielded calls[/article] from Usher, John Legend, Ciara, LeToya Luckett and Janet Jackson, all of whom have requested songwriting contributions.
Ne-Yo said he couldn't divulge too much information on his clients, citing artist/collaborator confidentiality, but he said he and Usher discussed ways to make the fleet-footed singers sound more mature. "He's not the [article id="1495342"]'Yeah!'[/article] guy anymore. He's matured a little bit," Ne-Yo said. "So we have to find a way to balance his maturity with his fanbase, which goes from the youngest to the oldest."
Although Ne-Yo has his hands more than full, the Def Jam artist said he's quietly gearing up to start work on his third album, the follow-up to last year's Because of You. No solid foundation has been set so far for the project, which is still untitled at this point.
"I'm just figuring out where I want to go," Ne-Yo said. "Me being an artist, I can't do the same [thing] two, three and four times. I have to find the next thing. That's the current battle: trying to figure where to go now. I know I want to do R&B, but at the same time, I want to be the kind of artist that can do a duet with a John Mayer and [have] it makes sense."
"I have no idea [how it's going to sound]," Ne-Yo added. "But figuring it out is gonna be fun."