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Ne-Yo paints South Africa RED

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IOL Ne-Yo

Motshwari Mofokeng

Ne-Yo during an interview at Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg ahead of the Malibu Red promotional concert. Photo: Motshwari Mofokeng

Three-time Grammy award winning star Ne-Yo is in the country to unveil Malibu Red, a new flavour in the Malibu rum stable. Elected the Chief Creative Director of Malibu Red, Ne-yo had a lot of input in the development of Malibu Red.

“Malibu Red is diversity. There is the Malibu rum which is the smooth and the tequila which is the fire, and they probably shouldn't make sense together but they do. That's where Malibu Red comes in,” he said.

In most cases, when musicians tie their names to an alcoholic beverage, usually the artist would be a rapper. It is rare to see the R&B types sell a product with their fame.

“This was more than just attaching my name. I don't do that because I am not that type of guy. It's got to be something I am personally involved in. I partially came up with the idea of Malibu Red and it was a collaborative effort. I would naturally take tequila and mix it with rum just because I don't personally dig the taste of tequila. So the people from Malibu hit me to say that they were thinking of mixing tequila with rum and I was already doing it so I was halfway there,” he explained.

“I attached my name to this venture to expand the Ne-Yo brand. My job is to handle everything from the design of the bottle, the logos and the right mixtures for the blend. We didn't want it to be too much rum for the tequila drinkers or too much tequila for Malibu drinkers to enjoy it as well,” he added.

Interestingly, the singer was sporting red colours and his recent album is entitled R.E.D. He explained that this was done deliberately to tie in with his affiliation with Malibu Red.

“Everything was on purpose. When I was in the process of putting out my fifth album, “R.E.D” just kept coming up in a positive way. And to tie in with Malibu Red we named the album R.E.D to mean 'realising every dream' a thing that I strongly believe in,” he said.

With the countless fans that he has had over the years, it is only natural to worry about whether they will get the right message when it comes to him being associated with alcohol, especially with many young people abusing it.

“My take on that is enjoy and remain classy. There is nothing classy about being the guy stumbling into everyone at a club, or the guy sitting in a curb in your own vomit. With that being said, it is celebration within moderation. That's the catchphrase we go with,” he said.

“As for underage drinkers, all I can say is don't do more than what you ready for before you are ready for it,” he added.

Performing at a secluded venue tonight to promote Malibu Red, Ne-yo promised a great show with a couple surprises in store.

“This is the Malibu Red launch and I have to take it to what I know and what I know is music and stage, so we'll get out there and have a good time,” he said.

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