SANTA CLARITA, California — Ne-Yo literally had the women lying at his feet. Six of them. Dressed in black tops and white pants to match his pearly hard-bottom shoes. When director Ms. Melina yelled, "Action!" Ne-Yo walked around the ladies, who rose, spinning in concert with the singer until the action was halted by a "Cut!"Ne-Yo promised that his latest video, "Closer," will be slightly different from most of his other clips. We'll see him moving a lot more.
"The name of the game is entertainment," he said earlier in the afternoon, before any intense shooting. "Normally, I don't dance a whole lot in my videos, because in the beginning, my whole thing was for you to pay attention to the song, pay attention to the lyrics. Let people know I am a songwriter and I write about things with depth and reality. I feel that now I've gotten that point across. So now it's all about entertainment. It's about bringing out these multi-facets that are my personality. I can dance. I'm no Chris Brown, or nobody like that, but I can cut a rug a little bit and you will see in this video."
Sure enough, before the final "cut" of the day, Ne-Yo was dancing in sync with his ladies under flashing lights.
"Left or right?" he asked Melina. "Right," she said, instructing his two-step.
"[It's] a little different than what I normally do," he said of the track. "This song was inspired by the nightlife in Europe. I spent a lot of time in London, just in Europe in general and the club scene over there. House music is really popular over there. House and trance. I wanted to capture that energy and put the Ne-Yo thing on it and see what it sounds like."
While preparing for his upcoming tour with Alicia Keys and Jordin Sparks, Ne-Yo is trying to finish his latest LP, Year of the Gentleman. Most of the meat for his third project — which he describes as "not exactly urban, not exactly pop" — is done, and he's thinking about guest appearances.
Close friends and recurring collaborators Rihanna and Jay-Z have been in talks, as well as other peers he admires: John Mayer, Natasha Bedingfield and even Keys and Sparks.
"Everything is in conversation because of scheduling," Ne-Yo said. "My schedule is over here. Their schedule is over there. Just trying to find the time to do it is troublesome. But my album ain't finished yet, so we'll see what happens."