Songwriter, arranger, and vocalist Ne-Yo was born Shaffer Smith in Arkansas and raised in Las Vegas, NV. His start in the music industry came as a songwriter. Prior to exiting his teenage years, he penned material for Youngstown and broke through in 2004 with Mario's "Let Me Love You," one of the most-played songs on urban radio stations across the U.S. In My Own Words, the second album he recorded but the first one to be released, came out in early 2006 and reached the top of the charts, supported by the number one hit "So Sick." During the same year, he appeared on Remy Ma's There's Something About Remy and Ghostface Killah's Fishscale, and he had a hand in writing a pair of Top Ten hits: Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable" and Rihanna's "Unfaithful." Because of You, his second album, followed in May 2007. It went to number one on the Billboard 200 and Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts as well, with its upbeat title track topping out at number two on the Hot 100. Year of the Gentleman was issued in September 2008, but not before another series of songwriting triumphs, including Rihanna's "Take a Bow" and Jennifer Hudson's "Spotlight." Propelled by the hits "Closer," "Miss Independent," and "Mad," Year of the Gentleman eventually went platinum, just like Ne-Yo's first two albums. After releasing three albums in three years, Ne-Yo went relatively quiet but returned in 2010 with Libra Scale, an album inspired by science fiction and comic books, as well as Stevie Wonder's and Michael Jackson's most ambitious recordings. ~ Andy Kellman
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