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I enjoy moments like these. They remind me of finding a gem buried in the sand. Or, reaching into your pocket and being surprised with 20 bucks. It’s exciting to get the call that a superstar is on the way for an interview. Even better when they’re as open and warm as Ne-Yo.

The Ne-Yo experience.

His talent is just the beginning of what makes him great. His glowing spirit introduced himself before he even sat down and it reminded me of what it takes to authentically smile. Peace covered him and it was contagious. I felt the need to let go of the past. He was in town for the AFRAM celebration and in promotion for his 8th studio albumSelf Explanatory. He shared that this project was the longest he’s ever spent producing and he speaks of the self-reflection he endured to make it.

“I had to kinda find myself again,” Ne-Yo began, “when I first got into the game, it didn’t look the way it looks now. It didn’t sound the way it sounds now. Things have changed and I was really trying to figure out where I fit in this primarily hip-hop, secondarily R&B type of situation that we in right now. What I had to realize is that, man, at the end of the day, my job is to make music. My job is to make art; and that’s the only real obligation that I have to this whole thing, is to be genuine and honest with my art. And, make it come from the heart.”

We must celebrate authenticity.

I appreciated his transparency. Especially from someone who’s been the places he’s been and seen the things he’s seen. The singer/songwriter spoke on the power of re-invention and what it’s done for his career. It’s why he’s been able to work with such a wide range of artists, spanning multiple generations. He was the bridge between a lot of our favorite artists. We think these people don’t face any issues, but he introduced us to some of his demons and shared what he learned from them. This conversation was a refreshing reminder that your best work is on the other side of the best you. I hope you get the same vibe.

Hear the interview & more.

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