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Year of the Gentleman Part 3 of 4

Posted by ThatsMyJamRadio on April 30, 2008

Ne-Yo is what the entertainment industry calls a triple threat. He’s one of the most sought-after songwriters in music, as a recording artist he’s hard at work on his third album, and as an actor, he’s starred in Stomp the Yard. Find out his plans to change the R&B game in the May issue of 944 magazine, but check out what he had to say about working with other artists, that driving incident and his first big purchase with that first music industry check.

THAT’S MY JAM: OK. Well, we know that you have a lot of female fans and I was curious, do a lot of guys kind of get jealous of you when they come to the shows with their girlfriends?
NE-YO: Ah, of course. I’d even go so far as to say that’s where all this gay crap, these gay rumors come from, you know? To tell the truth, I mean, think about it: if you’re a guy and your girlfriend is really, really digging this other guy who could quite possibly take her from you, wouldn’t you say, wouldn’t you do something to try and stop him, call him gay? Just go, “Baby, you don’t want him, he’s gay.” Wouldn’t you do that? Yeah, so it makes sense.

OK. I’m also curious, when you write a song, do you consciously, like, make it for a male or female singer?

Sometimes. It depends if I’m doing a song for someone specific, you know? Like actually, what’s funny is Beyoncé likes me to write from a guy’s perspective and then flip it around, like she prefers it that way. So, I don’t know, that stuff’s kind of weird, but, I don’t know, she says that the songs are more powerful that way. I’m like alright, if that’s what you want, but I mean, you know, if I’m writing a song for a guy, like say I’m doing one for John Legend, I’m not going to write from a woman’s perspective — of course not.

So, when you are trying to capture the female perspective when writing, like, I don’t know, let’s say “Irreplaceable,” just because that was kind of like the female anthem for 2007. How do you kind of get into that place where you can like see stuff from a female perspective?
I’m sorry, my phone was acting really stupid as you were asking that question. I couldn’t hear half of it. Say it again?

Oh, no problem. I was just asking how do you kind of — if you do write a song for a woman, how do you kind of capture the female perspective?
Well, like I said, you know, I grew up in a house full of women. My mother, my grandmother, my sister and five different aunts, so pretty much any male drama that they went through I was right there to be witness to it, experience it. I experienced the tears, I experienced the fights, I experienced the happy times, all of that. So, “Irreplaceable” came from a true-to-life story. “Irreplaceable” came from a situation that went on with one of my aunts and her boyfriend at the time. I actually saw the box in the closet to the left, waiting on dude to come get it, you know? So, she was actually mad at me when I wrote that song because she said I was putting her business in the street, but then when the song went to No. 1 and stayed there for a minute, she all of a sudden was like, “You know what? Anything else you remember from me and if you feel the need to write about it, you can go ahead and do that. That’s OK.”

That’s priceless. I just recently saw the episode of Cribs that you were on on MTV, and we saw that your game room was filled with, you know, a ton of slot machines, and blackjack tables and craps tables, and we were wondering if this was inspired by being raised in Las Vegas.
I don’t know, maybe. [Laughs] You think? Maybe a little bit? I didn’t really do a whole lot of gambling when I was living in Las Vegas, you know, mainly because I wasn’t old enough. But after I went back, that’s when I started to get into it a little bit and I can see how a person could get addicted to it, but I tend to stay away.

OK. So I take it, though, that you do go back and probably visit family there?
What did you say?

You go back and visit family back there often?
Yeah, my mom is out there, my sister, my grandmother is out there now. But my mom is actually about to move out here to Atlanta with me. She came out here and saw the house and I told her what I paid for it and she was like, “Ah yeah, Vegas, I’m done with Vegas, I’m coming out there.”

Also on the show, we saw that you had an Escalade, a Range Rover and a Bentley Coupe. Now, have you made any more car purchases or other big purchases since then?
Since then — well, the house that I did on Cribs, that’s not my house anymore. In the beginning that was the company house, that’s pretty much where everybody in the company stays. Since then, I’ve moved out, I got a townhouse on the other side of town for me and that other house is now my manager’s house, his whole family lives in that. We bought a building so that — the townhouse is the building, we bought a building where we put a studio and office in it. This townhouse I’m about to give to my mom, so I bought a penthouse on the opposite side of town from this one, so yeah, I’ve made quite a few purchases since I’ve been out here. The cost of living out here is ridiculously low. It really, really is. The building that we bought, they told us what we were going to pay for it and we were like, “That’s a down payment, right?” and they’re like, “No, that’s what it is,” we’re like, “Hell, give us this one and the one next to it!”

That’s excellent. So, of course, everybody always wants to know, do you stay in your crib alone or do you have someone special?
Nope, I am in my crib alone the majority of the time. Nobody special right this second.

I’m sorry.
I have friends, don’t get me wrong, I mean, all of my friends are special, but I don’t have, you know, that one girlfriend if that’s what you’re asking for.

OK. Now, talking about style, I mean, we always see you, like, wearing some fly hat and we were wondering, is there a particular style that is your like or a certain brand that you absolutely just have to have?
As far as hats go?

No, not really. I think you can find a quality hat pretty much anywhere. You just got to know what to look for, you know? You gotta make sure that the brim is straight on your fedora, you know? You gotta make sure that the lining within, the lining inside the skully is tight enough to where you wear it a few times and it doesn’t get all loose and whack on you. Pretty much any brand that makes hats can make a quality hat, you just gotta know what you’re looking for.

OK. Do you have any other style necessities?
You know what, as of lately, I’ve been really into scarves, slacks and ties.

Yeah, I don’t know where that came from. I like jeans, you know, it’s not to say you won’t catch me in a pair of jeans, but as far as shopping, I’ve been buying a lot of slacks. I’ve come to find they’re a lot more comfortable than jeans, you can move a little better in them and they overall just look better. I started a tie collection, I don’t have a specific brand of ties that I love as of yet, but I don’t know, ask me again in a month and I’ll probably have a good answer for you. Scarves, people have been really picking up on scarves lately. I buy a lot of scarves. Last winter, I think I had a scarf for everyday of the winter. Yeah, those have been my most recent fetishes if you can call it that.

OK. I guess some of those style things would kind of tie into your theme for your next album, though, huh?
Oh yeah, absolutely. The whole look for this next album, it might be difficult to find me in a pair of jeans. It’s just gonna do that.

Come back tomorrow for the fourth and final part of “Year of the Gentleman.”

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