Shelia Goss: Youíre an accomplished songwriter. When did you decide to go from behind the scenes to in front of the microphone?
Ne-Yo: Singing has been a part of me forever. Everybody in my family does musicÖIíve always been singingÖIt was a natural transition.
Shelia: What challenges, if any, did you face putting the album together?
Ne-Yo: In songwriting, itís natural to make music for yourself. The hardest thing was finding balance between making music [for myself] and something the consumer can enjoy.
Shelia: How would you categorize your music?
Ne-Yo: I wouldnít categorize it. Itís quality R & B music. I tried to make good music and the hottest R & B album.
Shelia: What makes your album stand out from some of the rest?
Ne-Yo: A lot of R & B out today is kind of bland. Nothing against hip-hop, but some of R & B is taking away the melody of what R & B is by not singing but rapping. Iím trying to go back when people were actually singingÖwith a melodyÖitís more musical.
Shelia: Who are some of your favorite singers?
Ne-Yo: Brian Mcknight, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Shirley Murdock, Anita Baker, Lionel Richie, Wanya Morris (Boyz II Men), I could go on and on. I was in a group before going solo. We were going to be a younger Boyz II Men.
Shelia: How has your life changed since your success?
Ne-Yo: A huge difference between songwriting and being a singer. A songwriter can have a normal life. Youíre an ordinary person. But as an artist, somethings canít be ignored. You have to make sure you look like a million bucks. Thereís a certain image you have to maintain. It was a difficult transition, but Iím actually learning to love the spotlight.
Shelia: What advice would you give those interested in breaking into songwriting?
Ne-Yo: The key to a good song is to find a way to say something in a different way.
Find something related to the people youíre trying to reach. Find your own niche.
Itís difficult. I recommend honing your skills and be the best you can be until your opportunity comes along. When opportunity comes, make sure youíre on top of your game.
Shelia: Is there anything else you would like to share with your fans?
Ne-Yo: My website is under construction, but you can go to www.defjam.com and choose my name under the artist menu. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Vote for the video on 106 & Park.
Ne-Yo's In My Own Words will be IN STORES DECEMBER 2005.