With the GRAMMY Awards nominations setting the music industry abuzz, Ne-Yo has his eye on the R&B category. The three-time Grammy winner recently explained how new artists such as Frank Ocean are reviving the genre.
While he says that the R&B community has fallen off in recent years, he credits Frank Ocean as one artist who is helping to keep the sound growing.
“The emergence of Frank Ocean has shined a much-needed light on the R&B community,” he told CBS Local. “I applaud him for making music good enough to open peoples’ eyes to the genre that is on life support. As far as his nomination, I hope he does get something. I’m a fan of Frank Ocean stuff. I feel his take on R&B is fresh. It has an element of tradition, an element of the old, but there is definitely some nuance in there. I never heard an R&B artists reference Dragonball Z.”
More importantly, he said the rising musician represents an artist-first ethos.
“I feel like the thing that stands out the most about people like Frank Ocean is absolute passion,” he said. “Even if you don’t agree with what the song is talking about you can feel the passion behind the lyric, the voice. You can hear that he means what he’s singing about. That’s what’s been missing tin R&B…That’s what R&B has always been. You hear an R&B song and you say, ‘I feel that.'”
Ne-Yo will be performing at the Grammys Nomination concert, which airs live on Wednesday (December 5). Along with the nomination announcements, there will be performances from fun., Maroon 5, country singer Luke Bryan and Taylor Swift, the evenings host.
Watch the show live on December 5 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBS. —Erik Parker, CBS Local