“Sometimes the music that feeds your soul isn’t necessarily the music that feeds your family. So I never envied those cats who had to make those types of decisions,” Ne-Yo told MTV News.
On Tuesday, news broke that Ne-Yo made a move from Def Jam, where he started his career, to Motown, where he will now record and help to develop new talent. The Grammy Award-winning singer explained to MTV News that he still has close ties to Def Jam, which like Motown falls under the Universal umbrella. It was Universal Republic and Island Def Jam Motown chairman/CEO Barry Weiss and senior vice president of Motown Ethiopia Habtemariam who were instrumental in bringing Ne-Yo over in an effort to re-brand the storied label that Berry Gordy started back in 1959.
“They sat me down and talked to me about the whole revitalization of Motown, bringing Motown back to its original glory,” Ne-Yo said. “I gotta say, beyond anything else, I was just flattered that they thought me worthy of such a responsibility.”
Music legends like Diana Ross, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson all at one time recorded for Motown. “It’s great big shoes to fill. I was told at one point the title that I now hold is the title that Smokey Robinson held when he was there,” he said.
Yes, he’s been named an executive, but the “So Sick” singer has not lost his passion for music. His upcoming fifth album, which was originally titled The Cracks in Mr. Perfect, has now taken a new turn. Though fully confident in his new material, Ne-Yo said he’s undecided on a title. For now, he is just creating.
“As I’m writing and recording records, the project would take on a whole new personality within itself. That’s just the creative process,” he said. “So as of right now, there is no title for the album. I’m still working on that … the running title was The Cracks in Mr. Perfect, but I’m in a whole ’nother head space now.”