Ne-Yo Takes on Challenge to "Revitalize" Motown
The legendary music label Motown Records has announced that American R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo has been appointed as the new Senior Vice President of A&R – Artists and Repertoire – at the Universal Music Group. Currently signed with Def Jam Recordings, the singer will move his work over to Motown, bringing his New-York based imprint Compound Entertainment with him. His new position will include talent-seeking and mentoring Motown label’s artists. He will also continue with his own successful music career, with his fifth album due out this year.
The announcement of the new appointment was made by Chairman-CEO of Universal Republic and Island Def Jam Motown, Barry Weiss, and Motown Records Senior VP Ethiopia Habtemariam. Weiss was reported as saying that the move to Motown will provide “new and inspiring challenges” for Ne-Yo in his role as a key member of Motown’s new senior management team, as well as in his career as an artist. While acknowledging that following in the footsteps of legends like Smokey Robinson, the ‘King of Motown’, was daunting, Ne-Yo feels he is up to the task of revitalizing Motown – a label that has represented music legends like the Temptations, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.
Born on 18 October 1979 in Camden, Arkansas, and named Shaffer Chimere Smith, Ne-Yo started his career as a songwriter with singer Mario’s recording of Let Me Love You becoming a hit. This soon brought him to the attention of Def Jam’s label head, resulting in a recording contract. In addition to his own successful recording career, Ne-Yo has penned a host of chart-topping songs for other artists, including Rihanna, Paula DeAnda, Beyoncé Knowles, Leona Lewis, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Ciara, Enrique Iglesias and Corbin Bleu.
According to sales-tracker Nielsen SoundScan, Ne-Yo’s four albums with Def Jam – In My Own Words; Because of You; Year of the Gentleman; and Libra Scale – notched up a total of 4.3 million record sales in the United States. In 2009 he was ranked as the 57th artist of the decade by Billboard. Ne-Yo’s album to be released in 2012 has not yet been named, but fans are no doubt eager to hear the end product.