Shaffer Chimere Smith, best known by his stage name, Ne-Yo, is an American R&B singer and songwriter. Ne-Yo was best known for co-authoring Mario’s 2004 number-one hit, Let Me Love You and then later shot to fame with the release of his own album, In My Own Words, which was released in 2006 and debuted at the top of The Billboard 200. Ne-Yo’s second single, So Sick, became his first number-one hit single.
Ne-Yo achieved much success as a songwriter, co-writing songs for several popular artists, including: Mary J. Blige, Marques Houston, Ruben Studdard, Christina Milian, Faith Evans, B2K, Tyrese, Jamie Foxx, and Rihanna. Upon a failed record deal with Columbia Records, Ne-Yo was introduced to L. A. Reid of Def Jam Records, who signed Ne-Yo on the spot.
In February 2006, Ne-Yo released his debut album In My Own Words to much success, thanks to hit singles Stay and So Sick, which would reach number-one status in both the US and the UK. Though he has experienced much success as an artist, Ne-Yo continues to co-write songs for other artists and is currently working on tracks with Mario, Fantasia, Britney Spears and Beyonce.
Ne-Yo’s name was given to him by a friend, who believed that the singer-songwriter could ‘see’ music similar to how The Matrix’s “Neo” character, played by Keanu Reeves, could see the Matrix. Neyo is of Afircan-American, Puerto Rican, and Chinese descent.