"Closer," written by Ne-Yo and produced by Stargate, is the first single from Ne-Yo's upcoming third album, YEAR OF THE GENTLEMAN, set to arrive in stores June 24th. It is the follow-up to Because Of You (released May 2007), which received this year's Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album, and In My Own Words (February 2006) - both of which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts.
In addition to his Contemporary R&B Album award, Ne-Yo earned four other Grammy nominations this year, including two for his collaboration with Rihanna, "Hate That I Love You" (which he co-wrote), namely Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance Duo/Group; as well as Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his #2 hit "Because Of You"; and Record of the Year for Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable" (which he co-produced). Ne-Yo's Grammy recognition followed up the UK's 13th annual MOBO (Music Of Black Origin) Awards in September 2007 - the only televised European Awards Show solely dedicated to urban music and culture - at which he won for Best Song ("Because Of You") and Best R&B Act.
Ne-Yo's RIAA platinum debut album In My Own Words was nominated for a Grammy as Best Contemporary R&B Album. It spun off three chart-topping hits, starting late-2005 with his debut Def Jam single, the #1 Grammy-nominated "So Sick," followed by "When You're Mad" and "Sexy Love." Ne-Yo capped 2006 as Male R&B/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year at the Billboard Music Awards. At the The 21st Annual Soul Train Music Awards in February 2007, Ne-Yo won the Coca-Cola Award for Best R&B/Soul or Rap new Artist for "Sexy Love."
If the mark of the skilful Lothario is the one who knows to always tell his lover what she wants to hear, surely Def Jam’s R&B sensation Ne-Yo--aka Los Angeles singer-songwriter Shaffer Chimere Smith--is one of the greatest of them all. On his third album, Year of the Gentleman, Chimere channels his hitmaking talents into a suite of R&B songs that are more respectful than rampant in their approach to the romancing. “Single" is a song that reaches out to all the lonely girls,Ne-Yo promising, “I'll be your boyfriend til the song goes off," while the Stargate-produced “Miss Independent," lit up by neon synthesizers, suggests Smith isn't too concerned with his own machismo to test out flipping the traditional gender roles, serenading a girl who's a player in her own right: “Everything she got, you bet she bought it." The album is at its best with the central, two-song movement of “Why Does She Stay" and “Fade Into the Background"--the former finding Ne-Yo questioning his own neglectful nature over a backdrop of shimmering keys, the latter a sombre piece that finds our narrator accepting the news that his lover has found another with a rare, heart-rending magnanimity. --Louis Pattison
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My favorite thing about Ne-Yo is how genuine the lyrics are. Hes got a great
voice, and can be successful at so many different musical styles, but the one
thing that holds everything together is that the lyrics are interesting,
heartfelt, and honest. Ne-Yo is a real gentleman, and his newest album is