Talks The Luxury Experience
In an exclusive interview with Monarch Magazine, multi-platinum, three-time GRAMMY® award-winning recording artist NE-YO talks about love, family, career, music and all-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator.
The Lincoln Motor Company has launched the next chapter in its #LincolnFirstListen music series featuring singer, songwriter and multiple GRAMMY award winner NE-YO. This sixth installment features the Revel sound system in the luxurious setting of the all-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator as NE-YO discusses the inspiration for his new song “Good Man.”
Monarch Magazine: You have had success within all areas of entertainment—making music, songwriting, label head of one of the most prominent labels (Motown) as well as acting, what other area would you lie to dominate?
NE-YO: I want to get into directing. I applaud my brother Chris Brown for doing all the things that he’s done. He hasn’t been afraid to step into the other realms; he’s directing all of his own videos now. Chris is inspirational. Donald Glover is another person that I really look up to in the industry because of his diversity – he’s a chameleon, the guy can adapt himself into any and everything. And I aspire to be that too. I’m in a good place with music, done the acting thing to a degree – I want to go a little further in that but where my heart is really at, is script and screenplay writing, directing and producing. I want to get on the other side of the camera.
Monarch Magazine: Most of your material seems to reflect where you are in life, is that by design, a method or simply by happenstance?
NE-YO: It’s definitely by design. Not to sound crazy or anything but I’m just in a really good place in my life. And I feel like it’s because of the decisions that I’ve made. Not trying to take anything from anyone or seem like I’m better than anyone else but my calling is to lead by example. I want to show cats that it’s possible to be happy, successful and to be fly all at the same time without having to sell your soul.
Monarch Magazine: Your career began at a time when two things were happening in music, physical copies were still around and hip-hop had completely regulated the R&B singer to hooks. This did not affect you at all, what’s your take on how you navigated these challenges that were so span they destroyed some of your peer’s careers?
NE-YO: I think the fact that I always kept my music about something. I refused to allow the craft that I loved since I was nine years old to be diluted to just a hook on a hip hop song. I refused to allow that to be my reality. I made sure that when I went into the studio I went in with ammo. I’m not coming in here to play. They’re not going to overlook this; they are going to appreciate this for what it is. Me going in with that attitude with a pure unadulterated love for the craft is what kept me afloat. You can hear in my music that I’m not doing this for a paycheck. I do this because I love it! It’s woven into my DNA.
Monarch Magazine: What led you to a partnership with The Lincoln Motor Company?
NE-YO: I’ve been a fan of Lincoln since my granny’s! It was a big beautiful car that just felt span and serious. Classy, prim and proper. These are traits I’ve carried into my adult as well as professional life so when approached to partner with Lincoln on the First Listen campaign it was organic.
Monarch Magazine: NE-YO and the Lincoln Navigator, seems to be a natural fit. What are you thoughts on the 2018 Navigator?
NE-YO: I definitely love the new Navigator! Everything you loved about the original with new perks.
Monarch Magazine: Quality is one word that can be used consistently in all you do. How does the Revel sound system available in Lincoln vehicles measure to other sound systems?
NE-YO: There is NO PLACE to listen to music and know if the record is complete or not better than in the car! It’s true. The Revel Sound System puts an exclamation point on that fact. Be you a platinum producer or just a passionate consumer. It’s awesome either way.
Monarch Magazine: Lincoln Navigator, a vehicle synonymous with style, class and luxury. Are these some of the characteristics that you hope readers incorporate into their lifestyles?
NE-YO: Lincoln represents responsibility, accountability, personality, classic comfort and poise. These are also traits required to call yourself a “good man,” which rightfully fits into where I am in my life and what is reflected throughout my new album.
Monarch Magazine: You seem to really be bringing the sexiness back to the relationship; I mean the love songs are supposed to lead us to a destination—the relationship. Do you plan to show your audience what loving in a monogamous relationship can look like?
NE-YO: I definitely plan to, while at the same time keeping certain things for us. I’m not married to the world; I’m married to one woman. With that being said, some parts of our relationship is just for us. I want when people see us…they see reality. The reality is, we love each other to death. The other side of that is just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you like them all the time. We’re human beings – we have arguments and disagreements just like everybody else. At the end of the day it’s not about quitting. You have to understand that you’re two different people with opinions and different personalities. But love is supposed to be spaner than all of that. That’s what people will see when they see us.
Monarch Magazine: What attracted you to your wife?
NE-YO: Above anything else, her realness. At that point in my life, there were people there just for the benefit of who I was, it wasn’t genuine. Besides the fact that she was gorgeous, the outer was all of that, but she really didn’t give a damn about who I was. She didn’t care about the money or the fame, none of that. She would check me on my BS. I haven’t had someone in my life like that for a really long time; my momma and my manager and then her. It made me realize that this is a person that I need in my life for the rest of my life.
Monarch Magazine: NE-YO, although you are no longer a bachelor, can we give some insight to our readers? If they want to attract a “NE-YO” in their life, what are some qualities that capture your attention?
NE-YO: The kind of women that I grew up around as a child really frames that for me. I grew up in a house full of women that decided that they wouldn’t wait on a man to do something…they were going to go get it themselves. So, I had that drive in front of me my entire life. I love to see a woman who is not waiting around to be rescued. If you want to start a business, not just talking about it, but striving to do it, if I see you moving towards that I’m going to definitely help you. That’s attractive to me, and also a person who is not so into themselves that they can’t laugh at themselves. The time we live in right now, there is so much importance placed on looking a certain way. Its fine to pay attention to what you look like, that says something about who you are, but not so much that you don’t prioritize anything else in your life. And have a sense of humor. Also, be knowledgeable about current events but don’t build your life around gossip; and most certainly don’t be controlled by your Instagram account. I like a real person. You can be a little hood, a little bougie—just be real.
Monarch Magazine: Should she be versed in politics?
Monarch Magazine: Able to sing or dance?
NE-YO: Not really. I prefer a woman that wants to dance just because it feels good. She’s not worried about someone judging her. Dancing is about the music feeling so good it makes me wanna move, just be happy.
Monarch Magazine: How did you get involved with World of Dance?
NE-YO: I got a call from J. Lo (Jennifer Lopez). When she opened up her show in Las Vegas (I grew up in Vegas) she actually had me come on the show with her and we sang a song together. That’s when we started talking about it, she started planting seeds. She said she was putting together this dance show and it’s going to be something that puts dancers in a spotlight that they don’t usually get. What people don’t understand about dancers is that they are not paid very well in most cases and they spend all this time sacrificing blood, sweat and tears. And at the peak of their career, they’re dancing behind somebody else. So I was very interested. You’re giving these people a chance at a spotlight that they deserve. When she finally put it all together she called me told me and told me she wanted me to be a judge. Initially, I was a little concerned because I can dance but I know for a fact that you know a million other people who are qualified to judge other dancers than me. Why me? She explained it to me. It made perfect sense. It’s one thing to be able to technically move your body well, there’s another thing to move people. Your talent and your passion is involved in both. You have singers that can hit every note perfectly and you have singers that even if they are off key a bit, you felt the pain; you felt the raw emotion – the realness in it. Dancers are the same way. Derek handles all the technical stuff, he’s been dancing since he was born and knows every name to every dance –
he’s that. I’m the passion. She falls comfortably in between the two. And it just works. And then when she said it was a million dollar prize – that’s life changing, especially for a dancer.
Monarch Magazine: What’s different about this show than the others?
NE-YO: I think the level of competition is higher, the level of talent is higher – taking nothing from the other shows but this is the Olympics of dance competitions. This is the best of the best, from literally all over the world – every style of dance. And it’s not about how long you’ve been dancing or how old you are. It’s about your skill level. Some of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen took place on that World of Dance stage; stuff I didn’t know was possible with the human body. Just keep watching season two you’ll see it too.
Monarch Magazine: What are five tips that you share with those who are married or headed in that direction to maintain the spice if you will in their relationship?
NE-YO: Learn to listen to each other. I’m talking to my fellas primarily but I’m talking to my ladies too. Because some women assume we really ain’t talking about nothing, therefore not listening to what we’re saying when we’re really trying to express something to you. Men and women don’t speak the same language so it can be difficult. But learn each other’s language; learn what she meant by something as opposed to taking offense before you understand what was really said and vice versa.
That happens a lot in relationships. I didn’t mean it like, you took it like that. When communicating, truly listen and not just wait on your turn to speak. That’s what most people do; they are just waiting for their turn to speak so they can give a rebuttal versus actually listening while the other person is talking.
Learn each other. Learn when it’s time to go forward. Spontaneity is a good thing but not all the time. Learn what she’s comfortable with and vice versa what it takes to get her in the mood. Well, it doesn’t take a whole lot to get us there to be honest but with women it takes more, but find out what works and then do that…all the time..
“I’m just in a really good place in my life. And I feel like it’s because of the decisions that I’ve made. Not trying to take anything from anyone or seem like I’m better than anyone else but my calling is to lead by example. I want to show cats that it’s possible to be happy, successful and to be fly all at the same time without having to sell your soul.”
#LincolnFirstListen debuted in 2016 putting the spotlight on upcoming tracks by both rising and established recording artists from behind the wheel of a Lincoln vehicle. #LincolnFirstListen volume six featuring NE-YO highlights the all-new 2018 Lincoln Navigator and Revel sound system.