President George W. Bush had a lot of screw-ups during his eight-year term, but he did do a couple things right. One of them was proclaiming June as Black Music Month on May 31, 2002. June is here,* and to celebrate Black Music Month, I'll be featuring one of my favorite artists each day, sharing my first or most personal memory of them, and explain what their accomplishments are and why I felt they should make the Black Music Month Top 30 list. There will be some oldies, some newbies and some artists you may not know of yet.
Black Music Month Heat Factor "Why's this artist hot?": Some artists work better behind the scenes. Some must have the spotlight. And then there's that group in between who are just as necessary in the background as they are in the forefront. That would be Ne-Yo, who wrote hit singles like "Unfaithful" and "Take a Bow" for Rihanna; "Irreplaceable" for Beyonce Knowles; "Spotlight" for Jennifer Hudson; "That Girl" for Marques Houston; "Let Me Love You" for Mario, "Work in Progress," "Love Is" and "Smoke" for Mary J. Blige; "Take It to the Floor" for B2K; "Miss Philadelphia" for Musiq Soulchild; "So Glad" for Chris Brown, "His Mistake" for Usher Raymond and plenty more. Every last one of these songs was as flawless as Ne-Yo's acting and stepping in "Stomp the Yard" and his three albums.
First Memory, Most Personal Memory of the Artist: When a reporter gets an interview with an artist she's already a fan of, two thoughts enter her mind: 1) I hope this interview goes well and I get the information I need. 2) Please don't make me regret being a fan. When I interviewed Ne-Yo in February 2009, I was elated to find out that he really is as nice as he appears and way chattier than I expected. To be able to put a positive personality with an incredibly talented artist makes me like him that much more.
When I saw Ne-Yo later in the year at the Taste of Chicago, I learned he can truly move a crowd. Not only can he dance (see "Stomp the Yard"), sing and has a beautiful smile, but he doesn't seem satisfied unless the whole crowd is rocking back and forth. He didn't have to try very hard to get us to do so either. Although he has had many hit songs over the years, my energy level rises and I immediately start dancing when "Stay" comes on. The only songs that come anywhere close to that level for me are "Miss Independent' and "She Got Her Own." It is so humbling for men to acknowledge and appreciate women who are busting their butts to enjoy life financially, mentally and physically.
Accomplishments from the Artist: Ne-Yo, who was born on October 18, 1979 (confirmed by him although many sites have the incorrect year), has accomplished more in the past few years than many R&B artists accomplish in their whole lives. His Billboard hits include "Miss Independent" (28 weeks), "Mad" (24 weeks), "Closer" (21 weeks), "When You're Mad" and "Do You" (20 weeks), "Sexy Love" (17 weeks), "Because of You" (15 weeks), "So Sick" (11 weeks) and "Go On Girl" (3 weeks). He's had six songs on the European Hot 100, four songs on Japan Hot 100, four songs on Canadian Hot 100 and the Latin Song chart with "Closer." This is on top of being the creator of the Compound Foundation to help youth. Simply put, the man is bad.
* This entry was originally published on Associated Content in June of 2010. It has been republished with permission from Shamontiel. To find out who the other 29 artists were who were selected in 2010, visit this Pinterest board.
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