Watch: Ne-Yo Talks “Emotional Disconnect” in R&B, Frank Ocean, Trey Songz, Gotye & More
Singer-songwriter Ne-Yo visited The Breakfast Club today to chat about everything from turning down a chance to play Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Lee Daniels‘ forthcoming biopic, his thoughts on the “hollow state” of R&B music, Frank Ocean, Trey Songz, being inspired by Gotye, his new partnership with Malibu Red and more.
On whether or not he’s inspired by R&B music that’s out right now:
“No. Not at all. I can honestly say the last thing that I listened to that inspired me, and it wasn’t hip-hop or R&B, it was Gotye, that ‘Somebody That I Used To Know.’ That joint is dope. I went and got that album, that whole album is dope. I don’t know, man. I feel like there’s an emotional disconnect in R&B right now.”
On Frank Ocean:
“I dig Frank. I like the album. I feel like on some records, it’s a little too cool for the room, where its like ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ On some records. But I dig the fact that when you listen to his records, you can tell that he means what he’s saying, even if you don’t know what the hell he’s saying, its like ‘he meant that.’ And i feel like that’s the emotional disconnect in R&B right now. It’s like, okay you hear dudes singing about love, but you don’t believe them.
Even if you go back to the days of Jodeci. These was the thuggish, ruggishest R&B singers period. These cats was walking around with jeans belted at their thighs with machetes talking about “Forever My Lady” and you believed it. So I think that’s what’s missing in R&B right now. Everybody’s trying to be too cool. It’s too over-sexed right now. That’s why R&B is suffering.”
He made it clear that the “disconnect” has nothing to do with artists not writing their own music, which has been the case for decades. Nor does he blame dance music, which has also been popular for a while, especially overseas.
“R&B is suffering because of what’s happening in R&B, not what’s happening in another genre of music. At the very least they’re making you feel something. R&B records, nowadays, is just a little hollow with it…”
On Trey Songz:
“I’ve talked to Trey before and Trey is one of them dudes, I feel like could be a serious problem in this R&B world, if he decided to just really put that emotion in there. No disrespect to Trey, love Trey to death. But I feel like, again, the emotional disconnect is there.”
Watch: Ne-Yo on The Breakfast Club
Now proudly assuming the role of A&R at Motown, once held by the legendary Smokey Robinson, Ne-Yo shared what he’s learned from Barry Gordy. He also revealed that his fifth studio album, R.E.D. has been pushed back.