Ne-Yo says it takes a "little hot minute" to make any money if you don't write your own songs.
The American R&B star is a singer, record producer, actor and songwriter. Ne-Yo has penned tunes for himself as well as Rihanna, Beyoncé Knowles, Leona Lewis, Whitney Houston, Céline Dion, Enrique Iglesias and Carrie Underwood.
The award-winning star has sold millions of albums worldwide after releasing five records, but insists the secret to his success is writing his own lyrics.
"If you're an artist who isn't writing your own songs, it's a little hot minute before you see any money," he told the January edition of Esquire magazine. "Hopefully you'd be an artist who's really pretty, so you can get a deal with a make-up company, or really stylish, so you can get a deal with a suit company.
"I try to keep it classy, or as classy as is humanly possible."
Ne-Yo also understands the importance of pursuing other business opportunities. The 33-year-old star is currently promoting Malibu Red - a fusion of Caribbean Rum and Mexican Tequila, which he says he pitched to the drinks maker.
"For me, money comes mainly from my songwriting. There's absolutely more money behind the scenes than there is in front of them," he explained. "Let's just say if Malibu Red does well, I do well."
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