R&B superstar Ne-Yo has released his sixth studio album today, Non-Fiction. The all things love, sex and relationships album is brutally honest and musically brilliant. Non-Fiction is not only Ne-Yo’s loved and lost soul bleeding all over the tracks, but he also crowd-sourced his fans for love stories. That’s right, Ne-Yo asked his fans for the heartbreaking tales so that he could write songs about them and in turn share those relatable experiences with the world. Ne-Yo tells #TeamBeautiful exclusively, “I just wanted to do something special for my fans. They’re the entire reason I’m still here. As opposed to just telling my story, I wanted to give them an outlet to tell theirs.”
Non-Fiction offers up the R&B we’re used to with Ne-Yo, but he’s also got some upbeat EDM tunes, symphonic melodies and soulful hip hop. There’s even a track (“Too Hood,” where Ne-Yo raps). And by now, you’ve probably already heard about “Storytime,” it’s the song where Ne-Yo tries to convince a woman to have a threesome. “I wish you’d just give it a try, you’ve never done it, how you know what you don’t like?” Ne-Yo sings before offering to the woman in question that she can even pick the third woman.
During our sit down with the “Money Can Buy” crooner, he revealed to us what he’s been doing in the two years since his last album, how his sound is evolving and who the Hollywood powers that be wanted him to play in a biopic. Check out our chat below.
What’s Ne-Yo’s sound now?
The sound for this album is a bit soulful. A good majority of the album is R&B, a little dance and EDM sprinkled in there. There’s something that everyone who calls themselves a Ne-Yo fan can latch on to.
Do you always prefer to include the things that you go through on a record?
This time around it was slightly different. I knew I was going to be telling a lot of truth, even some painful truths, I knew that was going to be important. I tell people if they want to know me, they’ve got to listen to my music and not the blogs.
Why be transparent with people with your music if they’re going to be critics anyway?
Only half of it is for them. The other half of it is for you. I’m very proud of this album, the way it came out, the songs, the way it’s put together—that 50 percent is me. Now I have to see what everyone else’s 50 percent looks like. Do they like it as much as me? Less? Do they care at all?
What is the biggest musical risk that you haven’t taken yet that you’re interested in trying?
That genre jump is never an easy one. I feel like I’m in a place now where if I wanted to do something more classical or with a big band sound, that I could and if the song was good enough, it would be accepted. I’m getting a place where that’s what people expect from me.
It’s been two years since the last album, what were you up to?
A good majority of the time was spent weaving out the best stories. I reached out to my fans via Twitter about their story. I got a lot of stories. I couldn’t tell anybody what I was doing with them because they would have just silly stuff trying to get on that way. We just kinda talked about it.
Do you have plans to do more acting? We loved you in “Red Tails!”
Not before I get a little better. I know that I’m not horrible. I know that I can. For the stuff they’ve been offering, it’s chops I don’t have yet. I’ve gotten a lot of biopic offers. Give me a character that never existed that I can help create and I can do that all day long. When it comes to becoming somebody else, it takes time I don’t have and skills I don’t have. I want to become a better actor before I try that. I was asked about Jackie Robinson before “42” came out. I was asked about James Brown before “Get On Up” came out. There’s a couple others.
While we’ll be patiently waiting for R&B gentleman to get his acting chops up to see him on the big screen, we don’t have to wait at all for his new album Non-Fiction. Get your copy now!