ABC/ Lou RoccoLast month, Ne-Yo contributed to the new compilation album, We Love Disney. Now, he’s telling ABC Radio recording his rendition of “Friend Like Me,” from Aladdin, was challenging following the late Robin Williams, who sang the original as the genie in the animated film.
“Well, that was kind of the challenge for me, may he rest in peace Robin Williams, you know, he was the genie and he did it originally and I knew that there was no following Robin Williams,” the singer says.
Ne-Yo worked alongside hitmaker David Foster to create his own lane. “We basically just had to get together and kind of bring out the musicality of it. It’s kind of a big band-swing, which is right up my alley, you know, the whole Rat Pack thing and all of that,” he says. “So me and David got together and it was magic — no pun intended with that, it was magic, it really was.”
Ne-Yo reveals there was no ego while collaborating with the super producer, who has recorded big hits for Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton and Mary J. Blige.
“This wasn’t something where ego or anything like that played a part, you know what I mean? He’s definitely a genius, I do all right and we had the same goal and the goal was to make this song as good as humanly possible,” Ne-Yo says. “I think when you keep the focus on the goal and don’t let ego and all of that stuff get in the way then there’s no room for negativity.”
The singer reveals that he’s a big fan of the classic Disney film. “It is from Aladdin, one of my personal favorites,” he says before revealing his crush on the main character. “Jasmine is one of my favorite princesses, yes and it doesn’t matter that she’s not real. Come on, reality is — what’s the word I’m looking for — relative.”
Ne-Yo adds that he is not animated in the accompanying music video, which was released last month on ABCNews.com. “I am not a cartoon character per se, a little silly in the video but not a cartoon character. The genie is in the video with me but I’m myself in the video, yeah.”
We Love Disney, which also includes Jhene Aiko and Jason Derulo covering songs from your favorite Disney classics, will be released October 30. Disney is the parent company of ABC News.
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.