Sunday, June 5, 2022

Further unreleased music from Ne-Yo as "Schaffer"

One of my highlights last year was hearing an early recording by Ne-Yo, then going by his birth name of Schaffer, that appeared on a little-known Destiny’s Child CD. The CD was given away for free with select pairs of Levis “Superlow” jeans in 2001 and featured various remixes of some of their most well-known songs and seemingly as a bonus track, “La Di Dah”, a track recorded during Ne-Yo’s short time at Columbia Records back in the early 2000s. Sadly he butted heads with them – he started “rebelling” as he put it – so they shelved him indefinitely. Before this, a planned single “Lonely, Sad & Blue” was sent to radio stations but ultimately it never saw the light of day, only making it onto a few rare promotional compilations put out by record labels. One of them I had originally passed up in 2019 as I had no idea who Schaffer was and by the time I realized the connection, the seller had abruptly gone MIA. After years of failed attempts at buying it off Amazon and receiving the exact same German kids story CD, it finally showed up again a few months back. Featuring his aforementioned single and one other quite rare track “Not Like Me”, though his later successes came from his ability to craft great, catchy pop songs, these earlier tracks by him portrayed him in a much more soulful light. From the acoustic soul of “La Di Dah” to the heartfelt “Not Like Me”, there’s no doubting his versatility as an artist. Also featured here was another overlooked artist back then, DJ Rogers Jr. whose debut album “Emosoul” was shelved in 2003. Rogers was a second generation soul man (his father DJ Rogers had some success in the 70s and early 80s) but Motown Records just could not do him justice despite then-president Kedar Massenburg poaching him from Universal because they weren’t capable of giving him the “things he needed to be successful at the time.” Described as “expressions” of his emotions that were “channeled” through his soul, the album spawned three singles before it was dropped. Again Despite the name Motown and all the history behind that name, it seems this was another label that wasn’t the place to be in the early 2000s if you were an up and coming R&B artist. See my companion post on unreleased Roc-A-Fella and Def Soul artists here. Listen to Ne-Yo’s “La Di Dah” here