[Interview] Ne-Yo Gets Into Santa Mode With His 6th Annual Giving Tour

Photo: (Elizabeth Le)

Ne-Yo  begs to “Let Me Love You” and the feeling is mutual over here at MTV Act.  It’s hard not to love him back, especially with the work he does with his Compound Foundation to help kids in foster care and group homes. Making sure these kids get the same opportunities in life is super important to Ne-Yo, and right now he’s taking part in his sixth annual Giving Tour to bring the holidays to the kids he helps year-round.

The three-time Grammy Award winner took time during his tour to speak with MTV Act about his foundation, and the great news is you can get involved. You can donate or volunteer your time. See how you can join him in helping kids, and don’t forget to watch his performance at MTV’s New Years Eve special! OK, without further ado….let’s gooooooooo…to our Q&A with him!

Photo: Ne-Yo talking during the Giving Tour with Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams. (Elizabeth Le)

ACT: In 2007 you founded the Compound Foundation to help kids in foster care and group homes. Why are you passionate about this issue?

NE-YO: Because I feel that circumstance — where and how you grow up — should have nothing to do with where you go in life. As a foster kid, as a group home kid, you’re kind of counted out before you get the opportunity to prove your worth. I don’t feel like that’s right, so the Compound Foundation is about making sure these kids understand the sky is truly the limit no matter where you come from.

ACT: Do you think having kids compels you to help children more?

NE-YO: I founded the foundation before my kids came, but now that I am a father, it just makes it that much more important, because I could never imagine my kids not having the opportunities that regular kids would have. Again, where kids come from and the circumstances that they’re in should have nothing to do with where they go.

ACT: Can you tell us about the Giving Tour? What is it all about?

NE-YO: Yeah, this is our sixth annual. We do it every year. We do four to five cities in four to five days. We always do Vegas because it’s where I grew up. We’re doing Vegas, LA, Atlanta and Newark, NJ. Basically, we team up with Boys & Girls Clubs, Coca-Cola, Toys for Tots, and a few other people who can talk the talk as well as walk the walk. We go to Boys & Girls Clubs in cities and we make Christmas for kids who might not get one otherwise. We give out clothes and toys and bikes and make a day of it. We do it every year and it’s roughly 500 kids per city. It’s a good thing.

Photo: An array of toys collected for the Giving Tour. (Elizabeth Le)

ACT: How can people help out the Compound Foundation, especially during the holiday season?

NE-YO: If you want to get involved, if you want to become a part of what’s going on, you go to the Compound Foundation website. There’s everything there from how to donate to possibly wanting to become a foster parent. That’s all on there.

The Giving Tour is just one of the things we do. There’s definitely stuff teenagers can do. It’s all there.

ACT: The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Kids In Distressed Situations are also involved in The Giving Tour. How can people get involved with these foundations as well?

NE-YO: Yes, The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Kids in Distressed Situations, two more great organizations are co-sponsoring the event with us. You can find out more about them by visiting their sites

ACT: We can’t wait to see you on the MTV New Year’s Eve special! Do you have a New Year’s resolution?

NE-YO: Not yet. I’m still working that out. I like to wait till the last minute, so I don’t cut off any fun I could possibly have until the New Year comes. So I’ll probably wait till the last 10 or 20 minutes of 2012 to make my New Year’s resolution.

ACT: Whitney Houston. Beyonce. Janet Jackson. Mariah Carey. You’ve collaborated with so many amazing artists. Who do you want to work with in 2013?

NE-YO: At this point, I’m no longer being really picky. I’m about making music that’s going to mean something. My ideal is always to make something classic, something timeless, something that’s going to outlive me. You know, that song you can listen to twenty years from now and it still has just as much impact as it did the first time you heard it. I honestly believe, with the right mind set, I can achieve that with any artist. With that being said, anybody who’s interested, give me a call. I’m around.

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