With a love for helping children, a passion for music and a heart for art, Neyo is quickly becoming the new Renaissance man. Singersroom caught up with the newly engaged Grammy winner and his fiance at his charity’s 1ST ANNUAL COMPOUND FOUNDATION “FOSTERING A LEGACY” BENEFITto talk about letting the fans down on his last album, why The RED Album won’t disappoint, listening to Frank Ocean, plus love marriage and babies.
Singersroom: As the newly appointed Senior Vice President of A&R at Motown Records you have to keep an ear to the ground for new artist. Who are you listening to now?
Neyo: Frank Ocean. I’ve been a fan since the mixtape. There’s the whole coming out thing- but I listen for the artistry and the music. The new album, I got the album. I dig it. It’s a vibe. It’s definitely a new vibe. I got my favorites on the album. The album as a whole is good. I recommend it.
Singersroom: What do you look for in an artist?
Neyo: I look for in an artist what got me to where I am-that’s honesty to artistry and passion for what you do. If you’re the guy that’s trying to get on because you want some money and because you want this car or you want this group of girls to know who you are, then I’m not looking for you. I don’t care how talented you are. I need somebody who does this from the standpoint of love.
Singersroom: Do you prefer being an artist or an executive?
Neyo: 100% prefer being an artist. It’s just a whole other thing to learn. Being an artist is more about vibe and energy. Being an executive is about numbers and all this stuff-the bottom line. It’s about making money for the company. Their will come a time in my career where I will have to make a decision in choosing [between] the music I believe in, and the music that I know is going to sell. It might not be the same music. I’ve been fighting with that one for a minute.
Singersroom: You could have any type of foundation. You also have your own children. Why is serving the needs of foster children so important to you?
Neyo: To coin the phrase as corny as it may seem, the children are our future. We got to make it so the rest of the world can be all right. I’ve never believed that circumstance should have anything to do with how far you go in life. A lot of instances it’s not these kids fault of why they end up in a foster home or a group home. In that it is not their fault, why should we let that be the thing that holds them back from being the greatest whatever. I don’t believe that it’s fair, so the Compound Foundation tries to do something about it.
Singersroom: Has your passion for helping children grown since having your own children?
Neyo: I have two now-a little girl and a little boy. I’m going to make sure that my kids understand that the sky is not the limit. We can go futher than that. It’s been proven that we can go further than that and as long as you have some passion about what you’re doing and don’t stop, you will get there.
Singersroom: You of course have a new album on the way. However your last album Libra Scale didn’t do as well as past albums. How will the new album be different?
Neyo: The last album was based around a concept and me trying to do so many things I had never done before. The last album was very experimental. The thing about experiments is that sometimes things positive happen and sometimes things negative happen. With that being said that album wasn’t as good as it should have been and I am using this album to get back to the basics. Just let it be, what people come to me for in the first place-which is the music.
Singersroom: Tell us about the new album. Are there any surprise guest and or features?
Neyo: Yes, but I need people to be surprised. There will be some surprises on the album-some good ones. The name of the album is the RED album. RED is an acronym that stands for realizing every dream. I called it that because from age nine when I made the decision that music would be my life, to now-I’m 32-every dream, every goal has been accomplished in all the music. So the album is a celebration of that.
Singersroom: The last album was more experimental. How can you be sure that the fans will appreciate this album more?
Neyo: This is the first time, I have taken an entire project and made a conscious effort to make sure my entire fanbase is satisfied, which means that there is an equal number of R&B records, and an equal number of pop records. There are an equal number of middle of the road records so that my entire fan base can all come to the same concert and enjoy their selves all the way through as opposed to you know ‘there is one song that I like or there is two songs that I like.’ There is a little bit of everything for everybody.
Singersroom: Your fiancÃ© is also looking gorgeous post baby bump. How do you do it Monyetta?
Monyetta Shaw [FiancÃ© to Neyo]: Healthy diet, of course working out. And just running behind my two year old-Madeline Grace. She’s almost two years old. Running behind her always keeps me fit. I also steal his [Neyo’s] trainer sometimes.
Singersroom: Besides being a mom we know you have a passion for fashion. Tell us more about that and what you’re wearing tonight.
Monyetta Shaw: Yes I have a boutique. It’s a nice chic boutique in the heart of Buckhead called Emerlyn & Ester Boutique. It’s named after my late grandmother and my current grandmother. My dress is Jessica Lovely. She’s a young designer out of Chicago. This is the late great Alexander McQueen clutch that I am obsessed with right now. I got it in London. And a MiuMiu shoe.