By Rob Markman
Since Berry Gordy founded Motown Records in 1959, the iconic label's roster has included marquee acts such as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Temptations, and now Ne-Yo has officially joined the Motown family. The Grammy Award-winning singer (and co-star of the George Lucas-produced "Red Tails") has moved from Def Jam to Motown Records, according to a statement sent to MTV News on Wednesday (January 25). Not only that, Ne-Yo will also take over as the label's senior vice president of A&R.
"I'm honored that I¹ve been given such a prestigious title and trusted with such responsibility; terrified because I know that playing this role in the fashion of one of my career role models, Mr. Smokey Robinson — these are big shoes to fill. But trust, I can handle it," the singer said in the statement.
Ne-Yo released his debut In My Own Words on Def Jam in 2006 and dropped three subsequent albums with the powerhouse hip-hop label. The singer/songwriter's fifth LP will now come through Motown, which, like Def Jam, falls under the Universal umbrella. In addition to his artistry and ear for talent as an A&R, Ne-Yo will also bring his Compound Entertainment imprint over to Motown.
"His track record of success at Def Jam will always be a benchmark," said Universal Republic and Island Def Jam Motown chairman/CEO Barry Weiss in the same statement. "But this move to Motown will provide new and inspiring challenges for Ne-Yo as both an artist and a key member of the new senior management team that is taking form at the label in 2012."
Senior Vice President of Motown Ethiopia Habtemariam added that signing Ne-Yo, who has written for Rihanna ("Take A Bow"), Beyoncé ("Irreplaceable") and Mario ("Let Me Love You"), will only bolster Motown's historical reputation for making great R&B.
"We are committed to discovering, developing and nurturing R&B/soul superstars here at Motown," she said. "In Ne-Yo we have both a global superstar and arguably one of the best songwriters in music. His presence on the executive team only strengthens our commitment to be the very best in R&B."
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