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Ne-Yo Talks New Absolutely True Album Non-Fiction, Says Rihanna’s New Song Is Incredible


Motown The expression “based on a true story” truly applies to Ne-Yo‘s new album Non-Fiction, which is in stores today.  He says all the songs on the album were either based on things that have actually happened to him, or to his fans.  While he didn’t give his fans credit for sharing their stories with him, he says he was so specific that if he wrote about you, you’ll definitely know.

Ne-Yo collected information from his fans by asking them to share their stories with him via social media. “Every story is absolutely a true story,” he ABC News Radio. “I didn’t really have to ask for permission. I didn’t use anybody’s names or anything like that. It was basically just inspiration and ideas that came from these people.”  He says he didn’t reveal to the fans what he wanted the information for, however.

“I would’ve got people writing me all kinds of crazy stuff just trying to get on the album,” he explains. “So I kept it very conversational with the questions. You know, kind of vague:  ‘Tell me about your relationship. Go!’”

“I wish I could have credited the people whose stories I actually used but there was all kinds of legal red tape,” he says, explaining why he didn’t give the fans whose stories he ended up using any special shoutouts.  “Of course, my lawyers were like, ‘Wait a minute. I don’t know if you wanna do that!’ So I didn’t get to do it that way, but I did write the songs very, very specific to where, if I used your story, you know that it’s your story.”

Ne-Yo has taken all the stories and woven it into something that resembles a mini-movie, with spoken-word interludes and recurring characters.  That’s why, he says, he prefers it if you’d listen to the entire Non-Fiction album, rather than grabbing random songs that you like, such as the album’s hit collabos with Juicy J and Pitbull, respectively: “She Knows” and “Time of Our Lives.”

“There’s definitely an overarching storyline and I feel like it just makes each individual song that much better when you hear it in context to the other songs…just to really get the full effect of what it is I was trying to do,” he tells ABC News Radio.  “But if you’re one of those type of people whose attention span is a little shorter, [and] you don’t really wanna sit and listen to a story, that’s fine, [I’m] not mad at you!  But I would absolutely recommend getting the full body of work.”

While Ne-Yo is focused on the release of Non-Fiction, he’s also waiting to hear whether any of the songs he wrote for his friend Rihanna‘s long-awaited new album have made the final cut.  She’s not saying one way or another.

“I don’t know what made it and what didn’t,” he tells ABC New Radio. “She’s keeping it very, very under wraps even from the people that are closest to her, which I can do nothing but respect as a fellow artist.”

However, he reveals he did get an advance listen to “FourFiveSeconds,” the acoustic track Rihanna released over the weekend that features her teaming with Kanye West and Paul McCartney.

“I had heard that song and I think that it’s incredible,” he says. “I thought that it was a little different for her and I was kind of anxious to see how people were gonna receive it. And…I think people are just so hungry for her to come back, you know. Not that the song is bad — the song is an incredible song — but I feel like at this point anything that she could’ve dropped, people are just gonna eat it up because they’re so ready for her to come back.”  

No word on a release date for Rihanna’s new album, either.

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