Childhood & Early Life
Ne-Yo was born as Shaffer Chimere Smith on October 18, 1979, in Camden, Arkansas. His mother is African-American and his father is of Afro-American and Chinese descent. Both his parents were musicians.
His mother separated from her husband and moved to Las Vegas with her young son in hope of better life. At a very young age, Shaffer Chimere Smith began to develop his skills in song writing. His mother motivated him to work on his skills and pursue his passion as his career.
He joined the Las Vegas Academy to polish his skills and simultaneously joined an R&B group called Envy with a stage name "GoGo". Though the group disbanded in 2000, Smith continued to write songs for other artists.
The nick name “Ne-Yo" was given to him by a producer named Big D Evans with whom he once worked. Evans felt that Ne-Yo sees music as Neo sees the matrix, thus named him so.
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Ne-Yo entered the music and recording industry when he was still a teenager. He began his career as a member of the Romford-based band called Envy, which disbanded in 2000.
Columbia Records signed Ne-Yo, but he could not work with them for long as he realized that his song “The Girl” has been shelved for more than a year. However, the same song led his future in music.
An R & B artist Marques Houston on hearing the song “The Girl” decided to record it for his own album. The release of this song in 2003 brought fame to Ne-Yo and we was being counted amongst the top most songwriters of America.
By 2004, Ne-Yo had already started writing for the famous artists, such as Faith Evans, Christina Milian, Teedra Moses's and B2K. In the same year Ne-Yo wrote a singer Mario’s debut song, “Let Me Love You", which proved to be a turning point in his career.
The song peaked at number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 and maintained the spot for nine long weeks. On the tremendous success of the album, Tina Davis, a former A&R rep for Def Jam Recordings, introduced Ne-Yo to L.A. Reid, Def Jam Recordings’ label head, who signed him for the company.
Debuting in 2006 with Def Jam Recordings, Ne-Yo released his album titled “In My Own Words”. The album turned out to be a record breaking hit; hopping at the 1st position on Billboard 200.
His second single album, 'So Sick' also touched the heights and debuted at the top spot on Billboard 200.
The second studio album of the Ne-Yo, titled, ‘Because of You’, was released in May 2007 and received huge appreciation from the audience and the artists.
Ne-Yo has worked on the song content for the number of successful artists of America. He wrote Michael Jackson’s “Black Eyed Peas”, Rihanna’s '”Take A Bow” and “Unfaithful”, Mario Vasquez’s “Gallery” and Beyonce Knowles' “Irreplaceable”.
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He has also contributed for the singers like Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Lindsay Lohan's. Additionally, it has been reported that Ne-Yo will soon work with Marilyn Manson.
He has also performed the USA’s national anthem 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at Wembley Stadium on the eve of the Special NFL match held, between New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers.
Ne-Yo released his third album, ‘Year of the Gentleman’, internationally on August 5, 2008. The album got the huge number of positive reviews and hit the 2nd spot on the Billboard 200.
On September 2, 2009, Ne-Yo released greatest hits album, ‘The Collection’, in Japan followed by the release of many other singles like “Beautiful Monster," "Champagne Life" and "One in a Million,".
His album, ‘Libra Scale’, released in 2010, received huge criticism from the musicians and artists and could not impress the audience as well. The album thus proved to be a commercial disappointment.
In 2011, Ne-Yo’s collaboration with the American rappers Pitbull and Nayer, on his single "Give Me Everything", gave him his second US number-one single as the album peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Ne-Yo released his fifth studio album, ‘Realizing Every Dream - R.E.D’, on September 18, 2012. In 2013, he collaborated with artists like Akon ,David Guetta, Jessica Sanchez , Celine Dion etc.
The sixth studio album of Ne-Yo” Non-Fiction” released on January 27, 2015 included collaborations with Charisse Mills and Pitbull. The album peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 chart.
From 2016 till present, Ne-Yo has worked on many songs .The popular ones are "Sin Miedo", "Marry You", "Earn Your Love" and "Another Love Song".
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In 2004, Ne-Yo’s album “Let Me Love You” became an instant hit and was entitled as the eighth most successful single of the decade. The song won millions of hearts and brought fame to the artist.
In 2007, his first album with Def Jam Recordings - “In My Own Words”, turned out to be another hit. The album won a platinum certificate after selling around 4 million copies internationally.
The next album of Ne-Yo with Def Jam Recordings that followed was entitled ‘So Sick” .The album also became a great hit and sold more than 301,000 copies in US in the first week only.
On September 2, 2009, the greatest hits album of Ne-Yo, ‘The Collection’, was released in Japan. The album was ranked number four on Japan's Oricon weekly albums chart and sold 55,625 copies in the first week.
Awards & Achievements
Ne-Yo's second studio album, 'Because of You', won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
At the 2009 Grammy Awards, he won two awards for "Miss Independent", Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song.
At 2009 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards, Ne-Yo took home four awards, one each for "Closer", "Take a Bow", “Bust it” and “Miss Independent". In the same year, the Billboard ranked Ne-Yo as the 57th Artist of the 2000s decade.
Personal Life & Legacy
Ne-Yo was raised solely by his mother in Las Vegas, Naveda. His first girlfriend was Moneta Shaw with whom he got engaged as well. She gave birth to his two children named Madilyn Grace Smith and a son, Mason Evan, on November 12, 2010 and October 9, 2011 respectively.
Later on Ne-Yo separated from Moneta Shaw and announced that he is engaged to Crystal Renay. On March 15, 2016, Crystal gave birth to their son who they named as Prince Shaffier Chimere Jr.
Back in 2008, Ne-Yo was once arrested for fast driving in Georgia. He was driving at a speed of over 100 miles per hour and that too without the driving license. For breaking the traffic rules, he was sentenced to 24 hours community service and had to pay a fine of $1000.