Once again, for four more years, it’s on. In terms of popular votes, the race was razor-close–proof positive that every vote, whether you were a common man or star musician, did indeed count. Kudos to those who understood the gravity of the election and went that extra mile to hit the polls.
Take Ne-Yo for example, a three-time Grammy winner in the midst of promoting his latest CD, “R.E.D. (Realizing Every Dream),” which was released on Election Day. Ne-Yo boarded a plane from New York to travel back home to Atlanta after not receiving his absentee ballot in time to vote in the 2012 presidential election. While in New York City, Ne-Yo blitzed almost any and every television outlet to raise awareness about the project, making stops at “The View,” “106 and Park,” Fuse, “Late Night With David Letterman” and “Good Morning America.”
A hint as to whom he cast his vote for was given when he participated in the all-star group that recorded “Forward”–which included Herbie Hancock, Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, Delta Rae and Natasha Bedingfield–in an effort to motivate and inspire nationwide voter participation. Among the song’s composers was Fred Goldring, who was behind the 2008 multiple award-winning grassroots music video “Yes We Can” with will.i.am. “Forward” is available for free download at www.forwardsong.com and can be purchased on iTunes, with net proceeds donated to Ne-Yo’s Compound Foundation and arts education programs focused on turning around arts- and music-based programs in public schools.
The success of “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself),” with 1 million in worldwide sales and rising on the Billboard chart, and the release of “R.E.D.” are underscored by the fact that Ne-Yo is not only an artist on the newly revitalized Motown, but also serves as the label’s senior vice president of A&R. “R.E.D.” is Ne-Yo’s first album for Motown after seven hugely successful years at Island Def Jam, which saw his first three albums all nearing RIAA double-platinum for sales in excess of 2 million copies each, and amassing five platinum and one RIAA gold single. He set his bar very high. Let’s see where it goes.
He won’t be a stranger to America though, as he’s still slated to appear on “Dancing With the Stars,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” the TeenNick HALO Awards (Nov. 19), “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” (Dec. 2), “The Voice” (Dec. 4) and the Soul Train Awards.
Ahh yes, the Soul Train Awards. Pay close attention to that show, set to air on Nov. 25. Tyrese Gibson gave an interesting acceptance speech that seemed to take aim at the pop-tinged singles riddling the airwaves, Ne-Yo included. Things are about to get a little more interesting on the R&B landscape, as Gibson made a rumored alliance with Ginuwine and Tank, known as “TGT” officially. Look for a single in February and the full-length in May. Tank will confirm your suspicions on Nov. 24, when he and Faith Evans take aim at the Apollo audience.
I’m out. I’ll be back next week with a report from the Soul Train Awards in Vegas. Holla next week. ‘Til then, enjoy the nightlife.