Ne-Yo to offer cinematic concert experience
By Lee Hyo-won
In less than five years, he sold more than 10 million albums worldwide and collaborated with everyone that matters, from Michael Jackson to Tim McGraw. Ne-Yo, one of the most beloved foreign pop stars in Korea, is to offer a cinematic concert experience in Seoul this month.
The concert, to be held March 30 at Olympic Park, is part of the Grammy Award-winning artist’s international promotional tour for his fourth album “Libra Scale.”
The R&B star may have topped local digital charts with romantic melodies such as “So Sick,” but he shows a knack for fantasy and adventure in his new album. The singer-songwriter, admittedly “a huge comic book nerd,” composed a story for the occasion that draws heavily from the world of comic books and science fiction.
It is about a trio of garbage men that are granted super powers, wealth and fame in exchange for protecting justice. When Jerome (Ne-Yo) falls in love with the beautiful Pretti Sinclair he is forced to choose between duty and desire as she transforms into a deadly villain and threatens to destroy the city. Once the story was complete, Ne-Yo was inspired to create some 60 songs, including tracks that eventually made the disc.
In the upcoming concert he will perform songs from “Libra Scale” including numbers such as “Champagne Life,” a bubbly ode to the lavish party scenes of Miami. Though presented with lush visuals through extended music videos, the new tracks are far from simply celebrating such a lifestyle.
“Every one of my albums has had a point, some kind of message,” said Ne-Yo in a press release. “The underlying question on this album is money, power and fame versus love. Weigh it out on the Libra scale. Which will you choose? It’s really a question of morality. I want people to question how they live their lives. I’m showing them the pros and cons of both sides.”
He nevertheless places importance on presenting exciting audiovisuals.
“I was looking at the music industry and I was absolutely bored by the R&B genre. Everyone is doing the same thing. It’s all about simple beats, going to a party and being the flyest guy there or having sex with every woman you meet.
“That’s why Lady Gaga came out and blew the world up because she brought back the entertainment factor... Her videos are movies. Her concerts are like plays. What she’s doing for the pop world is what I’m hoping to do for the R&B world and music in general,” he said.
“I remember that I was given an enthusiastic welcome from lots of Korean fans. It was kind of different from European and American fans, who enjoy the concert like they enjoy a party. But Korean and Asian fans were deeply absorbed in the songs rather than the concert. I was absolutely fascinated by this,” Ne-Yo previously told The Korea Times after making his Korean concert debut in 2008.
The “Hyundai Department Store 40th Anniversary Concert With Ne-Yo” will take place at 8 p.m. at the Gymnastics Stadium, Olympic Park. Tickets cost from 60,000 to 150,000 won. Reservations can be made online at http://ticket.interpark.com/global/ (in English).