Ne-Yo on state of R&B, being the 'love song guy' and #MeToo

Mesfin Fekadu, AP Music Writer | 6/10/2018, 9:03 a.m.
While trends in music are ever-changing, Ne-Yo knows one thing: He's the "love song" guy, and he's fine with that.
Recording artist Ne-Yo posing in New York to promote his new album, "Good Man." (Photo by Amy Sussman/Invision/AP)

AP: You've always been supportive of women. What's it like to see the #MeToo grow so rapidly?

Ne-Yo: I'm really happy about it. Women get a bad rep, and it's been like forever that women been getting a bad rep. Black people, we got it bad, but the worst thing in the world to be would be a black woman. Like a double whammy, like you gon' have to work your (butt) off to get crumbs as a black woman. To see what's happening right now with #MeToo and Times Up and all that, I'm happy about it. Because it's true. Respect is not optional.

I had to take it upon myself to sit with myself in the mirror and go, "Have you ever really and truly given your 100 percent to any relationship you've ever been in? And the answer was, "No." ...I think back to some of the best relationships I'd ever been in, and even in that moment where I was just super happy, super cool with the girl that I was with, she cool, she ride for me, once she's out of sight, if it's something over here that's ready to go, I'm gone. I'm gonna be respectful of my lady in that she'll never find out. That's not respect, bruh. That's not what that is. So with my current relationship, I'm really doing it the right way and realizing that, "Yo, you can really be (expletive) happy. You can be really, like really happy."

AP: Do you want to start writing songs for others like you did before?

Ne-Yo: I started being real selective about who I was going to work with. Again, not a lot of free time, which is another thing that stood in front of it. And with the change of the sound — and again, faulting nothing and no one, and no animosity, no diss or nothing like that — I felt like the sound that'd become popular, I felt like I would have to kind of dumb myself down to do this sound. And I don't want to do that. I didn't want to write like that. ...I've been blessed to the point where I've made enough money to where I can wait. I can sit at home and wait for people. "Oh, we feeling real emotions again?" Cool. Let's get it. I'm back.

AP: Had you ever thought about going independent?

Ne-Yo: Ultimately, yeah, you want something as personal as your art, your music, to be yours. I feel like, should I get the opportunity to be independent, I'm going to probably go that route. 'Cause then it aint no deadlines and I can put it out when I feel like putting it out.

AP: Did you ever rap?

Ne-Yo: Yep. I still do in my free time, by myself. I gonna be real honest with you, I don't have a lot of insecurities anymore, that's one of them. I know that I can write it, I don't know that I have the voice for it. That's why I gotta give so much props to Chris (Brown). -- (AP)