THR Names Music's 35 Top Hitmakers
This story first appeared in the Feb. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
These days, the fact that multiple titles accompany Ne-Yo’s name is entirely fitting of a singer who’s truly become pop-R&B royalty. Over a decade after being dropped by one storied major label (Columbia), he’s now running the A&R department of another (Motown) while simultaneously racking up hits for everyone from Pitbull (“Give Me Everything”) to Young Jeezy (“Leave You Alone”). At the same time, Ne-Yo is notching Top 10 singles for himself. Most recently, “Let Me Love You,” a tune he co-wrote with Sia that’s currently No. 24 on Billboard’s Hot 100.
Curiously, his career started with a song of the same name, which spent nine weeks at No. 1. “I don't believe in coincidence or accidents,” he says. “Clearly somebody in heaven thought she and I were supposed to write together and ‘Let Me Love You’ was the end result.” Indeed, for Ne-Yo, it’s all about gut reaction when it comes to launching a hit -- from his decision whether to hold onto a song or give it to another artist (“The song kind of picks its own owner,” Ne-Yo says with Zen-like clarity, admitting it also comes down to who’s paying for studio time) to coming up with that undeniable hook. Says Ne-Yo: “Think about Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ -- that song isn't even in English! But there's something about it that makes you get up and want to do the damn dance! The way a song makes you feel is what makes a hit.”Click here to read THR's complete Pop's Top 35 Hitmakers list.