Ne-Yo appears a bit fresher than usual and it’s no accident. The 28-year-old—whose third and latest album is aptly titled Year of the Gentleman enforces a clean cut dress code. “Sammy Davis Jr. had an effortless cool when he wore a suit,” says Ne-Yo. “I want to bring that back into the game.”
What is it about a suit that dignifies a man?

I’m not saying you have to throw on a three-piece suit to be a gentleman every time you walk out of the house, but on the other hand, a gentleman understands what it means to dress for the occasion. I learned that you can put on a suit and be as comfortable, if not more, than in a pair of jeans... You have to make a conscious effort to keep your nails short and clean.

Really? Manicures?
That’s something I used to never give a damn about, and I learned the hard way. People were saying, “How’s Ne-Yo got on a $2,000 suit and his nails are dirty?”
How have your style tastes changed over the course of your career?
You have to understand that I was the songwriter dude spending 23 hours in a studio. All of a sudden I’m in the spotlight, and what you look like is more important than your talent. I’ll keep it all the way real with you: I wasn’t the guy who knew how to dress. It was difficult at first, but I take pride now in knowing what looks good on me.

For more with Ne-Yo, cop the July/August 2008 issue of KING Magazine, on newsstands now!