winner Ne-Yo, who has impressed audiences with his talents since
his 2006 with his multi-platinum, chart topping debut, In My Own
Words, is fed-up with the sloppiness of current R&B. "Years
ago, if you weren't wearing the right suit or have a correct crease
in your pants, you couldn't even get in the door--let alone on stage
third disc, Year of the Gentleman, the Las Vegas native and premier
songwriter has constructed a suite of songs that shows exactly what
he means by class. Written over the course of travels through Europe
last year and influenced by his own fascination with the Rat Pack,
Ne-Yo explains, "For me, the sharpness of Sammy and Sinatra
is the kind of style I strive for in clothes and music. Year of
the Gentleman is named in honor of those guys."
Like the best
artists, Ne-Yo's music has an eternal sound that appeals to fans
of all ages. "As a songwriter as well as a singer, I think
it's important to cast my words wide. In other words, I am not trying
to contain myself in some little box marked 'urban.' I have traveled
the world, and I want to bring that across in the material. Forget
about urban, pop or whatever, Year of the Gentleman is a worldly
staying at his favorite hotel, the Courthouse, Ne-Yo would sometimes
sit at the bar and write songs. "It's funny, because the hotel
used to be a real courthouse," he says. "There was also
a small jailhouse in there where supposedly David Bowie and Mick
Jagger were both held at one time."
proves on the first single "Closer," it is possible to
be classy and funky at the same time. Produced by Stargate, the
track is an electro-excursion in the glam of Euro-disco. "I
just love the beat on that record," says Ne-Yo. "When
I was hanging-out in clubs in London, everything had energy. I wanted
to merge that sound with American soul music, and 'Closer' is the
to a late-sixties retro sound, the beautiful "So You Can Cry"
was one of the first songs Ne-Yo recorded for the project. Opening
with an enchanting guitar resembling soft rain, "So You Can
Cry" is a heartbreaking tune about a friend mourning a break
up. "This is a true story," explains Ne-Yo. "A friend
of mine just broke up with her boyfriend and I said, 'Ok, take this
moment to be sad. I'll turn the sun away from you so you can cry
today." Embracing Lennon and McCartney with the same vigor
as Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson, the amazing "Stop This
World" should be hailed as one of the most beautiful love songs
in years. When Ne-Yo swoons, "She's got heaven in her eyes,"
there is no denying his passion.
know what puts certain ideas in my head when I'm writing,"
explains Ne-Yo. "Sometimes I see a picture in a magazine, a
painting in a museum or a word on a page, and that's all I need
to trigger the thoughts."
to penning this new collection, Ne-Yo once again showed his writing
prowess, penning lyrics for Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Mary J. Blige
and Celine Dion as well as the chart topping, record breaking, Grammy
nominated song "Irreplaceable" for Beyonce.
As well recording
Year of the Gentleman, last year proved to be a very busy time for
the young talent. He release his award winning album, toured nationally
and made multiple appearances TV appearances including Christmas
In Washington making an appearance in front of George Bush but he
declined to attend the a meet & greet with the current President.
the competition by just being himself, Ne-Yo's Year of the Gentleman
is right on time to usher in a new era of "world music."