• R&B singer and songwriter born Shaffer Smith in 1979 in Camden Arkansas.
  • Smith’s parents both were musicians. After his mother divorced her husband, she moved with her son to Las Vegas. He attended a high school for the performing arts, and he joined an R&B group named Envy, adopting the stage name GoGo. The group appeared on two televised talent shows, but by 2000 they had disbanded. Soon after, he was signed to a recording contract, and he changed his stage name to Ne-Yo, taken from a producer who called him Ne-Yo, because “he sees music like the character Neo sees the Matrix” from the film of the same name.
  • Ne-Yo recorded a studio album, but his label dropped him before it was released. One of the songs from the album was That Girl – R&B singer Marques Houston heard it and recorded it for an album, releasing it as a single in 2003. Ne-Yo continued to write songs for other artists. In 2004, his song Let Me Love You was released as a single by R&B singer Mario. The song topped the Billboard 100 chart for nine weeks. This success led to an audition for Ne-Yo with Def Jam Records, and CEO Jay-Z signed him to a recording contract.
  • In 2006, Ne-Yo’s released his debut album, In My Own Words. Prior to its release, two singles were released. The second single, So Sick, topped the Hot 100 as well as the UK Singles chart. The success of So Sick ensured the success of the album – it debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and it eventually was certified 2x platinum. Two other singles from the album – When You’re Mad and Sexy Love – peaked at #15 and #7 respectively on the Hot 100, with the latter reaching #2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
  • In February 2007, he released the single Because of You. It peaked at #2 on the Hot 100. Two months later, an album with the same name was released, and it debuted at #1 on the album chart, eventually reaching platinum status. Ne-Yo won his first Grammy award for the album, for Best Contemporary R&B Album. The next year, the album Year of the Gentleman was released, and three singles reached the top 10 of the Hot R&B Songs chart, including Miss Independent, which topped the chart and reached #7 on the Hot 100 chart. The song also won two Grammy awards for Ne-Yo – Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. Another single from the album, Closer, peaked at #7 on the Hot 100 and at #1 on the UK Singles chart.
  • During the 10s, he released four studio albums plus a Christmas album. Two of the albums reached #1 on the Top R&B Albums chart. He reached the top 10 of the Hot 100 chart with Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself) peaking at #6 and Time Of Our Lives (with Pitbull) reaching #9 and topping three other Billboard charts. In 2012, he moved to Motown Records and was appointed Senior Vice President of A&R (“Artists & Repertoire,” responsible for talent scouting and artist development). His first album of the 20s was Self Explanatory, released in 2022 .
  • Ne-Yo was the featured artist and co-writer/co-producer of many songs by other artists. The most successful singles were Pitbull’s Give Me Everything (topping the Hot 100 chart) in 2011 and Keri Hilson’s Knock You Down (#3 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot R&B Songs chart) in 2009. During his recording career, he also continued to write and produce songs for other artists, including Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, John Legend, Jennifer Hudson and Beyoncé.
  • Ne-Yo’s skillful songwriting and his ear for R&B production made him one of the most acclaimed artists of the 00s decade. And he definitely had a swag and charm about him, in a sophisticated way. Here he is exuding some of that sophistication in the music video to his hit Miss Independent.

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