R&B singer Ne-Yo recently shared his opinion on the state of voice-changing machine auto-tune and why its rising popularity amongst artists does more harm than good.
Ne-Yo believes auto-tune should be used to assist, not taken full advantage of, when creating records.
“Auto-tune was meant to be a safety net,” Ne-Yo explained in an interview. “It was not supposed to be wings. You’re not supposed to strap it on your back and jump off the building. That’s not what auto-tune was meant to be. If you’re using it for what it’s meant for, cool, fine, and good — not, ‘I can’t sing at all, so let’s turn auto-tune all the way up so I just sound like Willy the Robot.’ That wack! That’s terrible! It takes all the character out of your voice and you become a robot –Take the d*mn training wheels off. That’s how I feel about it.” (Amaru Don TV)
In 2009, Jay-Z discussed the aftermath of his “Death of Auto-Tune” hit record.
“Absolutely, it shook it up,” Jay said about the song’s impact. “It shook the town up. ‘D.O.A.’ for me, the meaning of it was really, it was more of a challenge than a diss record. I guess a lot of people took it as a diss record but for me it was more of a challenge. For me it was more of a challenge, you know, let’s go. That’s been done, we done that. That sounds good, I like the way those records sound. I’m not saying I hate auto-tune, I hate a hundred thousand people using it ’cause I don’t wanna hear the same record over and over again. I’m a fan of music so that was my push to my peers, to the music business in general to a counter cultural movement. Hip-Hop is about if you’re doing that, I’m doing this. Everybody doing their own thing and being individuals. I felt we were losing that.” (Tim Westwood TV)
Following the song’s criticism, auto-tune maker Audio Technologies’ Marketing VP Marco Alpert shared his reaction.
“The Jay-Z controversy is great,” he said in an interview. ‘We couldn’t buy P.R. like this…I think Jay-Z said he saw Auto-Tune used in a Wendy’s commercial, and that pushed him over the edge…We make no value judgments on how people use our product…It’s a tool to be used by the people who buy it, and we’re happy when consumers find new uses for it.” (New York Times)
In summer 2009, New York rapper Maino crowned T-Pain the “Auto-Tune King.”
“As far as I’m concerned I wouldn’t use nobody else that was auto-tuned on a record with me because to me [T-Pain] is the one who brought it to the new generation,” Maino said in an interview. “He’s the author of it. Do I think auto-tune will be dead? No. Some people want to do auto-tune, some people don’t. I never felt the urge to use auto-tune on my voice and I never will. I’m just not a follower like that. That’s not how I came in the game, so that’s not something I’m going to pick up.” (Honey Mag)
Check out some recent Ne-Yo footage down below: