Victoria Abraham defines one up and coming artist each week so you can impress your friends with your musical brilliance. This week, she tackles Conor Maynard, a British pop singer from Brighton, England.
I swear I don’t have a thing for British music; it just so happens that a lot of musicians currently blowing up happen to be from Britain. Conor Maynard is no exception. Having recently won the MTV’s coveted Brand New For 2012 Award, Maynard is getting ready to release his debut album, Contrast at the end of July.
Known for: Conor Maynard is known for his catchy pop singles and a charismatic personality.
Used in a sentence: “Maynard’s boyish good looks and pop appeal are sure to convert scores of girls into “Mayniacs.”
Watch now: Watch the recently released video for “Vegas Girl”
File next to: Justin Bieber, Olly Murs
Fun facts: Read more…
We’re used to seeing rappers as hard edged guys that talk about guns, drugs, sex and prison. That’s why it’s so bizarre seeing them pose for their primary school photos as wide-eyed children. My fave photo is Usher’s because the cheeky little guy looks like he knows something we don’t know. I also have to give a shout-out to Lil Wayne who sacrificed time out of his precious day and is NOT happy about it. Clearly his school photographer didn’t use one of those inherently funny jingly stuffed animals to crack a smile.
“Burnin Up” is essentially one long ad for Ne-Yo’s Malibu Red, the rum-tequila drink he’s promoting. At least he has the music and dance skills to back it up.
In the Chris Robinson-directed video for the song, Ne-Yo literally runs into Annabella Acosta and later makes eye love to her when she watches him from the audience at all his shows.
Stalker much? He finally tracks her down, though she’s not too hard to miss since she’s wearing a skimpy red dress.
If there’s one thing we learn from the video, it’s that Ne-Yo can do product placement. The message: if you want to be as impressive as Ne-Yo — or at least think you’re as cool — than try slurping down some Malibu Red… though something tells me that’s not going to improve your dance moves.
Watch it here:
Young Jeezy and Ne-Yo think their music video for “Leave You Alone” will be so epic that it deserves it’s own trailer. So, basically it’s a movie.
There’s no hint of the TM-103 song in the trailer. In the Jizzle-narrated clip he drives through the hood and narrates how life is so hard because he never knows if he’ll see the sun the next morning. The hustling life consists of so many perils and trouble is always around. Oh! And there’s a brunette love interest named Olivia, a beauty from a rival Latin crew: ”My life, this life, will never be the same again, Her name is Olivia, yeah.” Plot twist!
The minute and half trailer is more Hollywood than music. The full video for will be out on March 9 and I’m just crossing my fingers it doesn’t go all R. Kelly on us.
NBC’s ‘The Voice’ has announced that they’ve enlisted more celebrity talent for their upcoming season – this will surely challenge those over at ‘American Idol’ the most watched show on television.
According to Rolling Stone, each of the show’s panelists will now be joined by two celebrity advisors from the music industry. Cee-Lo Green will be joined by other R&B heavyweights, Ne-Yo and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. Maroon 5′s frontman Adam Levine will have some help from Alanis Morissette and Robin Thicke while mentor Christina Aguilera will be joined by Jewel and industry-icon, Lionel Richie.
“I trust the show more than I trust the record industry at this point,” said Levine about reality show singing contests, in a recent Reuters interview. “It is a very tired format, but in a way this is a very fresh way of doing it.”
Another mentor, country-star Blake Shelton is pulling in two reality-show veterans – his wife, Miranda Lambert and Kelly Clarkson. That’s right, Seacrest.
“I chose Miranda and Kelly because they both survived reality television shows,” Shelton told reporters at an annual gathering of TV critics. “I just wanted somebody who could talk to them about what they were going through.”
Executive producer and reality show innovator Mark Burnett admits that the show’s success hasn’t yet fulfilled its expectations. Last year’s winner Javier Colon (who?) released his album and peaked at no.134 on the Billboard 200 album chart. That doesn’t even come close to the success of “Idol” winners in the vein of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.
It’s impossible to predict success in the ever-changing music industry and even making a name for yourself in the Billboard chart is a huge feat. Though this season could change everything, again.
The new season of ‘The Voice’ premieres February 5 on NBC.
Somewhere between writing, performing, and producing hit music, Ne-Yo found time to make a baby, reports E! Online. This will be the first baby for the Grammy award winning rapper and singer, and he and his girlfriend Monyetta Shaw are pumped.
“I am 30 and I do have my first child on the way, and I’m very, very, very excited about that,” Ne-Yo told Ebony. “It’s a New Year’s baby and I’m just in a really good place right now.”
There isn’t any indication of the baby’s gender yet, attributed to what Ne-Yo calls the “stubborn” positioning of it inside the mommy.
It’s likely, though, that when it pops out, it’ll reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 quickly!
When Ne-yo and Rihanna collaborate on tracks, the result is usually pretty spectacular.
Apparently, fans can expect nothing less with their new collaboration, “Russian Roulette.” The Barbadian beauty used the help of co-producer Chuck Harmony for the latest single on her upcoming Rated R album.
According to MTV News, Ne-yo explained that Rihanna specifically requested the song’s somber vibe. “She wanted it to be dark, but not just dark for the sake of dark [...] dark with a kind of meaning, dark with some kind of thing to it.”
The ominous Russian roulette theme is something new for the soulful singer. He called the track “my first ventures off into the fictitious.”
“I’m listening to the track, and all I can see is Rihanna and some random person sitting across from each other at the table with a gun sitting in the middle of the table and playing Russian roulette,” he explained. “And I just started thinking, ‘What would go through your mind if you was in that situation?’ It just all started coming together, and Rihanna has never been one to be afraid to take a chance, especially with me. She’s always game to do something a little different. I played it for her, and she loved it — went in and knocked it out. The rest is history.”
Ne-Yo is pulling triple duty on his latest project.
The R&B artist has signed on to star in, executive produce and write the soundtrack for “Venice Beach,” a music-driven romance for Fox Atomic.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie follows a young woman from Manhattan Beach who represses her singing talent following the death of her talented older sister in a car accident.
Things change when she meets a gifted musician-singer (Ne-Yo) from Venice Beach, with whom romantic sparks fly.
Paul Hunter, who helmed 2003′s “Bulletproof Monk” but is best known for his work in music videos, is in talks to direct “Venice.”
The script is being penned by Duane Adler, whose credits include “Step Up,” “Save the Last Dance” and its 2006 sequel.
Ne-Yo (real name Shaffer Smith) had a role in the latter film and also appeared in last year’s “Stomp the Yard.”
He is currently on the road backing his latest album, “Year of the Gentleman.”
R&B singer Ne-Yo says jealousy got him booted as the opening act of R. Kelly’s tour, and he’s fighting back with a lawsuit.
Ne-Yo, whose real name is Shaffer Smith, is suing Rowe Entertainment, the concert promoters of R. Kelly’s “Double Up” tour for breach of contract and loss of earnings.
The singer says he was fired after only two shows because fans and critics preferred him.
“I believe it was because the first few reviews of the show, people were talking more about my set than his, and I don’t think he liked that too much,” Ne-Yo said during a BET.com interview a few weeks ago.
He was scheduled to play a total of 25 shows.
Courts documents allege that “[a]n unknown representative of R. Kelly urged [promoter and company president Leonard] Rowe to terminate Smith from the tour given the audience and critics’ more favourable reaction to Smith than the reaction to R. Kelly.”
However, Rowe Entertainment said at the time Ne-Yo was let go that it was because “a final, fully executed contract” could not be secured from Ne-Yo’s agent.
The company has posted a statement on its website saying the lineup change was solely Rowe’s decision.
While Kelly is not named as a defendant in the legal action, his representative released a statement saying that Kelly was not involved in Ne-Yo’s dismissal.
“Anyone remotely familiar with R. Kelly knows he is confident enough in his own abilities to be happy to share the stage with enormously talented people — the more talented, the better,” said the statement.
Ne-Yo’s albums “In My Own Words” and “Because of You” both topped the U.S. charts and have sold more than 1 million units.
Oscar winner JENNIFER HUDSON has repaid singer/songwriter NE-YO for helping pen songs on her debut album, by recording a duet with the R&B hunk for his next release.
The hot couple recently teamed up in the studio to work on the DREAMGIRLS star’s debut, and she’s so impressed with his efforts so far, Hudson has agreed to record a duet with her new pal.
Ne-Yo tells MTV News, “We did a duet together and it came out very hot. The name of the song is called LEAVIN’ TONIGHT and… it’s one of those songs where I am clearly being out-sang and I know it.
“But, because it is Jennifer Hudson and she has such an amazing voice, it’s just an honour to be on the track with her.
“The bigness of her voice and the regularity of my voice, the contrast between the two is like night and day and it makes perfect sense.”
(c) 2007 WORLD ENTERTAINMENT NEWS NETWORK LTD. All global rights reserved. No unauthorized copying or re-distributing permitted.
“So Sick” has been a top 10 song on Billboard for about three months, and though it’s technically his first, Ne-Yo is no stranger to a hit single. His album, “In My Own Words,” will debut at number one this week, but again, Ne-Yo has already seen his work reach similar achievements.
Ne-Yo has met this type of success before. The difference is that people had yet to meet Ne-Yo. That’s because Ne-Yo reached this success as a songwriter, not yet as a singer. But that has all changed now that Ne-Yo is behind the mic.
Ne-Yo, born Shaffer C. Smith, has written songs for Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, B2K, Musiq, and most notably Mario. He co-wrote Mario’s “Let Me Love You,” which has become one of the most played R&B songs on radio. Ever.
R&B hasn’t been the most successful genre of music in recent memory, but Ne-Yo hopes that will change with his debut album.
“When hip-hop-R&B stepped onto the scene, it overshadowed traditional R&B. When Crunk & B stepped onto the scene, it overshadowed hip-hop-R&B. It’s time to bring traditional R&B back, which is what my album is,” Ne-Yo tells andPOP, on his way to Los Angeles from New York last week. “It’s rich melodies and harmonies that stick with you and lyrics that actually are talking about something.”
But a failed record deal five years ago resulted in Ne-Yo quitting the music business.
Discouraged when his deal with Columbia Records didn’t work out, Ne-Yo was convinced that there was no spot for him as a singer in the industry.
“I thought that maybe God didn’t want me to be a singer. Maybe I’m not supposed to be singing right now,” Ne-Yo tells andPOP. “I considered quitting it all. I fell into a lightweight depression where I was like, ‘I don?t think music is what I’m supposed to be doing’.”
He had already recorded an album that Columbia kept pushing back on the release calendar until it was eventually permanently shelved. When Ne-Yo and the label split, Columbia gave a song to Marques Houston, meaning Ne-Yo wasn’t even able to shop around his work to other labels.
“I asked to be released early from my contract because it was so bad over there but of course they didn?t want to do that so it was a long drawn out thing,” he says. “They finally said, ‘we’ll let you go but we’re going to keep the album.’ I had written my entire album over there. I was just bent on being free, (so) I said ‘whatever, take it’.”
Ne-Yo, 23, laughs when he thinks about other artists who were dropped by Columbia. 50 Cent and Alicia Keys both had failed deals with the label.
“Their urban division was completely screwed up at the time,” Ne-Yo says. “They would fire their entire staff and hire a whole new staff. Then a month later, fire that entire staff and hire a whole new staff. And a month later do it again, and again and again. My project just got caught up in the mix of them never being able to keep it together. I had like nine A&R people by the end of the whole thing.”
His current manager persuaded Ne-Yo to get back into music, and that’s what Ne-Yo did, to an extent. Ne-Yo decided to focus on writing rather than singing.
Though he doesn’t have a particular approach to penning lyrics, he says practice over the years has helped him become a better writer.
“I used to be that kid that walked around with a journal, writing down everything that happened to me all day long,” he says. “Journal entries lead to poetry; poetry to short stories; from short stories eventually into songs. It just came from writing; not necessarily writing songs, but just writing, getting comfortable putting words together that sound good. The more I did it, the better I got at it.”
But plans for a career only writing songs all changed at a chance meeting with Def Jam.
Ne-Yo accompanied a friend to the Def Jam offices. “The only reason we went up to Def Jam was so a friend of mine could be reunited with an old friend of his who happened to be working at Def Jam at the time. We went to Def Jam not shopping no music, not trying to get no deal, just so they could be reunited.”
By the time he left the building, Ne-Yo had a record deal.
“I took that as God saying, ‘it wasn?t supposed to happen over there. You weren?t ready for it. It’s supposed to happen right now with these people at this time.’ It was an offer I couldn?t refuse.”
Getting signed at Def Jam meant meetings with the label’s president, Sean Carter, AKA Jay-Z.
“The first time I met Jay-Z his first words to me were, ‘why did you give that song away?’” Ne-Yo recalls. Jay-Z was, of course, referring to the Mario song. “Not, ‘hey, welcome to the label. Good working with you.’ It was ‘why did you give that song away?’ My response was, ‘wow, nice to meet you too, sir’.”
Because he “gave that song away,” Ne-Yo wasn’t properly introduced to potential fans until the release of his first single, “Stay,” late last year. He finds aspects of his newfound fame sometimes puzzling.
“It?s a transition that takes getting used to. I’m such a regular guy. For somebody standing in front of me screaming and crying is like, ‘what’s wrong with you? It’s just me!’ I’m slowly but surely learning to love it,” he says.
Besides touring (he may open for Mary J. Blige) and promoting the album, Ne-Yo has a few acting roles coming up. He’ll play a club owner in “Steppin’ Up: Save the Last Dance 2,” and he is putting together the soundtrack. He’ll also have a co-starring role in “Step Dance” with Columbus Short. And he plans to launch a clothing line, “Chimere Urban Couture,” in September, which he describes as “upscale street wear.”
So how did he feel about giving away such a massive hit to Mario? Ne-Yo is cool with it. With confidence usually reserved for music industry veterans, he says he’s capable of writing more and more hits for years to come.
“I’m a walking talking living breathing lyric,” he says. “I could use some of my best lyrics on my album, give some of my best lyrics away, knowing that there’s always more where that came from.”