One of the most successful and versatile R&B songwriters of this young century, Ne-Yo has a prime vehicle to showcase his singing, writing, and acting ability in Lionsgate‘s TV series Step Up: High Water, a YouTube original series. Sharing a revealing and highly danceable new song from the series, Ne-Yo drops “Genesis”, along with a lyric video. A brilliantly executed throwback to the heyday of New Jack Swing, “Genesis” finds Ne-Yo writing and singing in character as Sage Odom, the director of High Water Performing Arts School and a former pop star trying to execute a comeback.
Frequently presented as the series’ antagonist, “Genesis” shines a spotlight on Sage’s perspective, challenging viewers and listeners to see things from his point-of-view: “They don’t know about my life / They don’t know what I’ve been through,” sings Ne-Yo/Sage. The lyric video flashes back to Sage’s early days, depicting B-Boys dancing in abandoned lots, contrasted with cinematic cityscapes and stylish design. “Genesis” is a retro-futurist delight, demonstrating how Step Up: High Water enhances its story with music more than strong enough to stand on its own.
“My inspiration for the song ‘Genesis’ was my character Sage’s arc and going back to his beginnings,” Ne-Yo tells Billboard. “The music and feel that inspired him to choose music over the streets. He loses his way and has to go back to his roots to find it. The sound of the record is also a bit “throwback” on purpose. Taking it back to the fun and energy of just loving what you’re doing. The lyrics speak directly to what Sage is going through, who he is now and who he needs to remember he was.”
Based on the successful film franchise from Lionsgate, which has grossed $650 million at the global box office, Step Up: High Water, produced by Lionsgate and airing on YouTube Premium, follows several students at a cutthroat performing arts school in Atlanta. Series regulars Ne-Yo, Naya Rivera, and Faizon Love will be returning for a second season, joining newcomers Ashley Greene, Robin Givens, and Jeremy Copeland. In the second season, multi-platinum recording artist and entrepreneur Rick Ross is set to guest star as himself, as is Todrick Hall and choreographer JaQuel Knight. Packed with quality original songs, Step Up: High Water receives musical direction, production, and songwriting from none other than Timbaland. Stay tuned for Season 2, arriving in full on March 20th, only on YouTube Premium, and for the Step Up: High Water Season 2 Official Soundtrack, compiled by EMMY-nominated music supervisor Jen Malone (FX’s Atlanta, MGM’s Creed II), also dropping on March 20th.
About Step Up: High Water:
Based on the successful film franchise from Lionsgate, which has grossed $650 million at the global box office, Step Up: High Water, produced by Lionsgate and airing on YouTube Premium, follows several students at a cutthroat performing arts school in Atlanta. Step Up: High Water is created and executive produced by showrunner Holly Sorensen (Recovery Road, Make It Or Break It). Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot, and Meredith Milton, all producers of the original Step Up films, executive produced season one, along with Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, who both co-starred in the original Step Up film. The series features musical direction from Timbaland, and features Ne-Yo, Naya Rivera, Faizon Love, Robin Givens, Ashley Greene, and Jeremy Copeland in regular roles. All will be returning to executive produce for the second season. Season 2 consists of 10 hour-long episodes, and shoots in Atlanta, GA. The pilot currently has over 40 million views on YouTube Premium.