NEW YORK, NY (Universal Music
Group) - After shipping RIAA platinum last week - an unprecedented achievement in today's marketplace - IN MY OWN WORDS, the debut album by Def Jam recording artist Ne-Yo, featuring the pop/R&B crossover smash hit single "So Sick," debuts at No 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with first week sales of 301,005 units, it was announced today by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, President & CEO, Def Jam Recordings.
"Ne-Yo's use of the harmonies and words has touched music lovers from all ages and backgrounds. He is the true embodiment of the word 'artist,'" said Mr. Carter.
The explosive album chart debut amps up an impressive schedule of TV appearances for Ne-Yo that began last month on The Late Show with David Letterman, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and CD USA. This week, Ne-Yo dropped in on The Tyra Banks Show (March 6th) and Live with Regis & Kelly (7th). On March 18th, he will open "The LL Cool J Custom Concert" over the Oxygen Network (10:30 p.m. ET/ 9:30 CT); and March 27th will mark his debut on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Upcoming in April are appearances on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Showtime at the Apollo; followed by Teen People's "25 Under 25" special in May (all dates tba).
IN MY OWN WORDS - which won 3-star rave reviews in USA Today (a "soulful solo debut") and People (who praised his "lithe, silky tenor ") - is propelled by "So Sick." The song hit No 1 on Billboard's HOT 100 chart and No 1 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs Chart, selling 119,765 singles. The track continued at No 1 on AOL's Top 40 Songs list, with over 1.7 Million close to 200,000 plays; and No 1 on AOL's Top 40 Radio. Ne-Yo's "AOL Sessions" was launched last week. At Yahoo! Radio, "So Sick," rose to No 1-bullet with almost 200,000 streams and has already sold 500,000 ringtones. Clear Channel Online Music and Radio premiered the album in their "Sneak Peak" program on air and online at over 150 radio stations.
The video for "So Sick," directed by Hype Williams is No 1 BET's "106 & Park and "BIG 10" rotation on MTV.
"He's not just a smooth crooner. He's also a smooth songwriter," wrote the New York Times, citing the influence of Michael Jackson. "So Sick" was co-written by Ne-Yo (aka Shaffer C. Smith), the astoundingly talented young 23-year old lyricist who co-wrote every track on IN MY OWN WORDS. The single was produced by Stargate, who also produced "Sexy Love," "Let Go," and "Time" for the album. Other producers enlisted for the project included: Ron 'Neff-U' Feemstar for Drama Family Entertainment ("Stay" featuring Peedi Peedi, and "Sign Me Up"); Brian 'B-Nasty' Reid for Drama Family Entertainment ("Let Me Get This Right"); Curtis "Sauce" Wilson for Compound Entertainment ("When You're Mad," "It Just Ain't Right," and "Mirror"); Boola for CPR Unit ("I Ain't Gotta Tell You"); and Ervin 'EP' Pope for Compound Entertainment ("Get Down Like That" and the hidden track "Get Down Like That Remix" featuring Ghostface Killah).
Ne-Yo's songwriting chops came to Def Jam's attention after he penned tunes for a string of multi-platinum artists including Mary J. Blige, B2K, Faith Evans, Musiq, and especially Mario - whose "Let Me Love You" (which Ne-Yo co-wrote with Scott Storch) finished out 2004 as the No 1 most-played song of the year at radio. Born in Arkansas and raised in Las Vegas, Ne-Yo is a natural story-teller who cites Prince, Marvin Gaye, the Rat Pack, and Stevie Wonder in his list of favorite entertainers. With the release of IN MY OWN WORDS, Ne-Yo lives up to the acclaim he has already received. "I feel there is always room for good music," he says. "I want to reach people's soul with my lyrics through whatever vessel God chooses."