Ne-Yo is a 'new artist' following two-year break from music

Ne-Yo is a totally "new artist" after taking a two-year break from the music business.

The singer-songwriter rose to fame following the release of his debut album In My Own Words in 2006 and went on to find success with records such as Because of You and Libra Scale.

A lot has changed since Ne-Yo, real name Shaffer Smith, launched his last record in 2015, but he is adamant that the hiatus has done him a world of good.

“Everything has changed,” he told WWD. “The sound has changed, the way people are getting to the music has changed, the process of putting it out has changed. I feel like a new artist again.”

Ne-Yo is now gearing up to drop his seventh album, titled Good Man, in June (18). In the wake of the Time Up's movement against sexual harassment in Hollywood, the star explained that he was looking to redefine the idea of "cool" behaviour - especially for young men.

“You are a walking, talking, breathing billboard and the product you’re selling is yourself," the 38-year-old shared. "As I got more into fashion, I started to realise the power of looking like you give a damn and it suddenly became very clear to me how important it is to spread that message. You can be just as cool and masculine but also be a decent person.”

When Ne-Yo begins promoting Good Man shortly, fans may notice that he isn't wearing his signature hat. The star always used to hide behind headgear due to insecurity over his hairline, but after landing a gig as a judge on TV show World of Dance, he decided it was time to ditch the accessory.

“I don’t know if anybody else noticed, but it was a major deal to me. I realised I can’t preach this (message of) self-love as I’m hiding behind a security blanket," he smiled.

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