24 Facts: Ne-Yo
10:36 26/04/2010 Channel24
1. Shaffer Chimere Smith (no wonder he took the stage name, Ne-Yo, eh?) was born in Camden, Arkansas on October 18, 1979. This makes him a 30-year old Libra.
2. His stage name is indeed a shout out to sci-fi movie THE MATRIX. A prodcuer he worked with, Big D Evans reckoned that Ne-Yo sees music the way the movie's hero, Neo, sees the universe.
3. He is a multi-cultural man: his dad is African American and his mother of mixed African American and Chinese American descent. Both were musicians.
4. He was in an R&B boy band called Envy back in high school in Las Vegas. Corey Clark, the disqualified finalist of the second season of "American Idol" was one of his band mates.
5. He's not an overnight success. After Envy split in 2000, Ne-Yo was signed to Columbia Records, but, after recording his first album, was dropped from the label before he could even release it.
6. His big break came when he co-penned forgotten R&B upstart Mario's 2004 hit, "Let Me Love You" (off Turning Point) with producer scott Storch.
7. Jay-Z was so impressed, the then CEO of Def Jam made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
8. He's got the X-factor. His 2006 debut CD In My Own Words debuted at # 1 on the Billboard 200. Boosted by its popular second single, "So Sick", it sold over 301,000 copies in the first week of release.
9. His 2007 follow-up Because of You debuted at # 1 on the Billboard 200, selling 251,000 copies in the America.
10. His third album,Year of the Gentleman was nominated for Best Contemporary R&B Album and Album of the Year at the 2009 Grammy Awards, "Closer" for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, and "Miss Independent" for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song.
11. He's a multiple Grammy Award winner: in 2008 Because Of You won Best Contemporary R&B Album; in 2009 "Miss Independent" won Best R&B Song.
12. He's paid his dues. A prolifically talented songwriter, he's penned or co-penned tracks for Ruben Studdard, Faith Evans, Christina Milian, Nivea, Tyrese, Rihanna, Jamie Foxx, Leona Lewis, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Anastacia, Ciara, Corbin Bleu, Enrique Iglesias and more.
13. He loves writing hits. His chart-toppers include Rihanna's "Take a Bow" and Beyonce's "Irreplaceable". Look out for Ne-Yo penned hits on forthcoming albums from Sugababes and Lindsay Lohan.
14. He's also an actor, starring in Save the Last Dance 2 (2006) and Stomp the Yard (2007). Look out for the hottie in Anthony Hemingway's movie about WWII African American combat pilots Red Tails. He also reportedly has a bit part in South African filmmaker Jonathan Liebesman, sci-fi action flick Battle: Los Angeles whihc is currently in production.
15. He's a Barack Obama boy. In December 2007, he teamed up with the Goo Goo Dolls to perform at a fund-raising concert for the then presidential candidate and senator.
16. He wears his influences well: Prince, Marvin Gaye, The Rat Pack, and Stevie Wonder are his faveourite entertainers. He is also a huge fan of British songbirds Duffy and Amy Winehouse.
17. He loves to collaborate, having worked with Snoop, Fabulous, Alicia Keys and more. He's also supported Pussycat Dolls on tour. Back in September 2008 he announced he was hooking up with Marilyn Manson for a new project. We're still waiting. More recently, he's been really keen to work with Lady GaGa: "really hope GaGa and I can work together. I have never been so excited about an artist before. From her costumes - they're not outfits, that would be an understatement - to her songs and sexy body, Lady GaGa has it all" he gushed.
18. He's on Beyonce's guest list. When the bootylicious star turned 25 on August 31, 2006 he was one of the celebs at her birthday party.
19. R&B singer Chris Brown is one of his homeboys. After Brown's Rihanna bust-up he told MTV: "I just wanna sit down and talk to that dude and just explain if he doesn't understand: That’s not something that’s excusable, bruh. You have to get a little smarter about whatever it is going on in your relationship. You have to get a little smarter about how you handle certain situations. I'm not going to crucify him. I'm not going to do that. That's still my homeboy at the end of the day. For it to go to that level was wrong."
20. He isn't afraid to show his feminine side. At a concert in Manchester in 2009 he infamously broke into tears onstage and cried so hard the show had to be stopped. His retort to bloggers who questioned the sincerity of his excause that a sinus infection had caused his voice to break down? "To anyone out there that would like to question my manhood because of this I’ll say this to you: If the one thing you cared about more than anything else in the world was threatened or even taken from you, if you knew that the people you cared for the most you had to disappoint and it was your fault… and this didn’t spark some kind of emotional outbreak within you…then with no shame I'll say you are truly a stronger man than I."
21. Ne-Yo hasn't come out of the closet...just yet. While the sexy Tennille Jimenez was on his arm at the 2010 Grammy Awards, rumours of his bi-sexual bent still abound. What does Ne-Yo say? "For one, I'm an R&B singer, so that's one strike against me anyway. I've never been the thuggish dude. This is the way I look at it now. For one, you're nobody 'til they think you're gay – that's the truth of the business. Two? You really gotta take the good with the bad." He is left-handed though, soooo.... (nah, we're only kidding).
22. He does his time if he commits the crime: on February 19, 2008 he was arrested for reckless driving in Cobb County, Georgia. He was driving at more than 50 mph over the speed limit in his Range Rover and did not have a valid license. Acording to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Ne-Yo was sentenced to 24 hours community service by a judge on June 2, 2008. He pleaded guilty to driving without a license and pleaded "no contest" to the reckless driving charge.
23. He's touring South Africa: Ne-Yo plays the Coca-cola Dome in Joburg on May 1 and the Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town on May 4.
24. His fourth album is due for release in August 2010.
Sources: Ne-Yo's Year of the Gentleman; aceshowbiz.com; celebritywonder.com; wikipedia