INDUSTRY NEWS

NeYo the Songwriter Extraordinaire

NeYo the Songwriter Extraordinaire

The Tunedly Team

Ne-Yo is no doubt one of the most successful entertainers to have emerged in the music business within the last decade and a half. From penning chart-topping songs for A-list musicians to scaling the heights of the industry with hits of his own, the Arkansas native has already left an indelible mark on the global musical landscape at the tender age of 30-some years.

But you probably knew all that already. The spotlight has steadily shone on the singer, composer, dancer, and actor ever since his first hit, “Let Me Love You,” which was performed by Mario. And even though there have been numerous articles written about the R&B superstar, we felt it was only right for us to add one more since songwriters form the main core of our business, and he is one of the best in the industry. Plus, after receiving numerous requests from our followers for a piece on the Anime and Cartoon Network lover, we couldn’t NOT write about him.

Personal Stuff

Shaffer Chimere Smith was the name his parents gave to him at birth, but the hit magnet songwriter and artist became known worldwide by the moniker Ne-Yo. He started out in music at an early age while living in Las Vegas. In fact, in 1993, while in his early teens, Smith had his first filing with the U.S. Copyright Office for a musical work called "BeBe Kids."

Later on, in high school, he was part of a boy band, Envy, which eventually broke up in the year 2000. Ne-Yo was also signed briefly to Columbia Records, but that association didn’t bear much fruit.

For a while after that, he committed to writing songs for other people, a move which eventually paid off when Mario shut down the charts in 2004 with “Let Me Love You" and opened doors for Smith to re-introduce himself to the world as Ne-Yo. As he has mentioned in interviews, that name was first given to him early in his career as a joke by producer Big D Evans, who believed that the then-prodigy saw music in a similar way that Neo (Keanu Reeves) sees the Matrix (in the Matrix movies, that is).

That’s a compliment in itself and an apt description that has manifested in Ne-Yo’s music throughout his career. And while he has been a bit low-key in recent times, the three-time Grammy award winner has been making moves, including tying the knot with the gorgeous Crystal Smith (he has two older children from a previous relationship as well). The beauty managed to steal his heart after Ne-Yo reached out to her for her expertise on one of his music projects, and they ended up becoming more than just business buddies. But since Feb 2020, Ne-Yo has had a tumultuous relationship with his wife, Crystal Smith. The couple has been married and divorced twice and has three children together.

In addition to becoming Mr. Ne-Yo, the singer has worn the hat as a judge on America's Got Talent in 2016 and most recently on World Of Dance. He has also made corporate investments in a tech start-up and has stated that he wants to make Silicon Valley more diverse, one investment at a time.

But through all that, the R&B/pop crooner has managed to deliver new music. Good Man, the singer's latest effort, was described by Forbes contributor Hugh McIntyre as one of the 8 most anticipated R&B albums of 2017. Of course, the album was unnamed at the time and didn't hit the shelves until June 2018, but with singles such as "Push Back" and "Nights Like These" receiving strong support from music lovers, the wait seemed worth it for many.

With that said, there isn’t much that can be said that hasn’t already been written about the “Closer” singer. But we can still re-highlight some important facts about him which, you never know, could open your eyes to a few points that might add value to your own career as a songwriter. After all, the music business is a learning game, and what better way to boost your own skills than by studying the best and trying to add their top attributes to your work.

So, here goes: Facts about Ne-Yo to showcase his musical genius and multi-talented personality.

The Songs he’s Written for Other Artists

“Let Me Love You" was the first huge hit penned by Ne-Yo to be sung by another artist, but even after launching his own singing career, he continued to write songs for other musicians, which took them to the top of the charts. Some of the most notable smash he’s written or at least co-created include Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable,” which went on to be nominated for “Record of the Year” at the 50th Grammy Awards, “Take a Bow” by Rihanna, which became the Barbadian singer’s third number one single on the Billboard Charts, and “Spotlight” by Jennifer Hudson, which snagged two Grammy Awards at the 2009 staging.

He also has songwriting credits on tracks for Keri Hilson, Mary J. Blige, Celine Dion, and many of the who’s-who in mainstream music today. To top it off, he also wrote songs for MJ - as in the great Michael Jackson - who he says was his idol. Ne-Yo was actually handpicked by “The Gloved One" to write songs for his comeback album. Sadly, however, Jackson passed away before any of those were able to come to light, and Ne-Yo has since said he doesn’t know what to do with them.

His Collaborations

Ne-Yo has collaborated on songs (performing, not just writing) with some of the biggest names in music. These include his duet with Rihanna, “Hate That I Love You,” his anthemic recordings with Pitbull, “Time of Our Lives," and “Give Me Everything” (also featuring Afrojack and Nayer), as well as “Make Me Better” with rap star Fabolous, and “Angels Cry” with the inimitable Mariah Carey.

Another interesting point to note as it relates to his collaborations is the different genres he has touched on, including African pop with Diamond Platnumz on the song “Marry You,” reggae with Shaggy on “You Girl,” island fusion on "Push Back" with Stefflon Don and Bebe Rexha, electronic with David Guetta and Akon on “Play Hard,” and of course his hip-hop collabs with rappers such as Young Jeezy, Juicy J and 50 Cent.

His Work in Film

Ne-Yo has had a fantastic career as a songwriter and artist, but did you know that he's also an actor? The songwriting prowess of Ne-Yo has helped him to extend his skills to film, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. Checking out his profile on IMDB reveals that he has lent his Talent to the soundtracks of “The Princess and the Frog,” “Precious,” “Pitch Perfect,” and “The Internship,” along with song placements in numerous other productions.

Ne-Yo made his acting debut in the film "Stomp the Yard" in 2007. Since then, he has appeared in several movies and TV shows. Ne-Yo's acting career is just as successful as his music career. He has demonstrated his Talent for performing on both the big screen and the small screen. Ne-Yo is a multifaceted artist who always seems to be excelling in whatever he does.

We hope to see more great things from Ne-Yo in the future!

Lyrical Creativity and Versatility

One of the hallmarks of a good songwriter is one who can bring to life different subjects and styles through their lyrics. While many of his tracks are within the context of relationships, as are more than 90% of all songs, Ne-Yo has used his lyrics to depict a wide range of scenarios that ensure his songs all don’t sound the same.

He has gone from being heartbroken after a breakup (“So Sick") to celebrating after a breakup (“Go On Girl”), and from hailing the independent woman in “Miss Independent” to writing about the good life in “Champagne Life.” Within all that, he has sad songs, upbeat club bangers, edgy tracks bordering on risqué, and thoughtful tunes that get you thinking. In short, he's got it all, which is hardly surprising considering that his influences include Luther Vandross, R. Kelly, Usher, MJ, and Babyface.

Ne-Yo has been hard at work lately, churning out new music. He has said that he is enjoying the creative process and that he is looking forward to sharing his new music with fans. Ne-Yo is also preparing for future live performances. Fans can expect to see Ne-Yo, the songwriter performing live in the near future.

In December 2018, he performed during the final catwalk at the 67th Miss Universe pageant. Ne-Yo's latest album, Self Explanatory, was released on Motown Records earlier this year. Ne-Yo has been praised for his work on the album, with many fans enjoying the more personal and introspective lyrics.

Ne-Yo was a contestant on the second season of the British version of The Masked Singer. He competed under the stage name Badger and came in second to Joss Stone. Ne-Yo said that he had a great time and found the entire experience enjoyable.

Ne-Yo Involvement in Tech Industry

NeYo is not only a fantastic songwriter, but he's also making waves in the tech industry. NeYo has been quoted saying, "I believe that giving back is one of the most important things we can do in life. It's important to me to be able to help others, especially kids, who may not have all the opportunities that I had."

This is evident in his involvement with investing in the Holberton School, and he is now a part of their team. The school offers free education to those who may not be able to afford it otherwise, and NeYo is one of the many people supporting this wonderful initiative. Holberton graduates have found employment at renowned companies such as Apple, NASA, LinkedIn and Facebook. In addition, NeYo is also a part of Stage11- an interactive performance platform for artists to engage with their fans.

Ne-Yo’s approach to philanthropy is twofold. First, he’s a big supporter of arts education programs like Little Kids Rock. Second, he invests in social impact initiatives like the Holberton School.

Ne-Yo Looks to New Streaming Music App for Partnership

Record-breaking artist Ne-Yo has teamed up with LÜM, a streaming and discovery app, to break into the tech world. LÜM aims to help up-and-coming artists expand their fan base and generate income through our in-app virtual gifting currency feature. This makes it possible for artists to use the service to help them run their businesses.

What sets Ne-Yo's collaboration with LÜM apart from other models is the focus on artist teamwork and revenue. The web and Android platforms make it easy for artists to work together while still making money. By partnering with LÜM, Ne-Yo is at the forefront of the cryptocurrency trend.

This is only the beginning for Ne-Yo in the tech world, and we can't wait to see what he does next!

Ne-Yo's Achievements

From major awards to selling out venues, Ne-Yo has achieved plenty during his career. Topping the list are his three Grammys (obviously): Best Contemporary R&B Album in 2008 for Because Of You, Best R&B Song in 2009 for “Miss Independent," and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for the same song, also in 2009. He has also bagged trophies at the Soul Train, Billboard, and BET Award shows. Apart from awards, Ne-Yo has also managed impressive feats, such as having his debut album start life at the number one spot and having several of his singles reach the top ten. He has sold millions of records around the world as well.

Songwriter Ne-Yo has joined APA for international representation. He was previously with ICM but parted ways after the agency's recent acquisition by CAA. APA has just signed Ne-Yo, one of the latest high-profile multihyphenates who, like Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent and 2 Chainz, want a 360° approach to their career that covers everything from brands to produce. Ne-Yo is still managed by Compound Entertainment.

Ne Yo's partnership with Bollman Hat Co. was announced in March 2019. The new brand, Francis Ellargo, will feature Ne-Yo's signature style and will be available in stores and online. Ne-Yo said that he is excited to partner with Bollman and to create a brand that is stylish and accessible.

What’s Next for Ne-Yo?

With Good Man now available to fans and his role as a judge on the new talent show, World of Dance, it's left to be seen what Ne-Yo has up his sleeves next.

An epitome of success when it comes to songwriters who transitioned to commercial recognition, he is also proof of what can happen if you put in the work. In one interview with Dale Kawashima of Songwriter Universe, Ne-Yo shared how he got his first big break because he was ready with a catalog of music to share when the opportunity came knocking.

“When I met with Def Jam, I hadn't planned on auditioning for them. But the deal happened because I had the songs, and I was ready to perform,” said Ne-Yo.

This is a perfect example that no one becomes successful overnight. He was prepared, and the rest is history. If anything, Ne-Yo can be described as the songwriter’s songwriter. If you're looking for songwriters to emulate, you might want to take a closer look at how he's built his career.

You may be interested in the following:

https://www.tunedly.com/blog/songs-that-depict-good-health-tunedly-music-publishing-company.html

https://www.tunedly.com/blog/how-do-you-develop-a-songwriting-legacy-online-music-recording-studio.html

https://www.tunedly.com/blog/how-to-keep-your-rhymes-interesting.html

https://www.tunedly.com/blog/the-legend-that-is-max-martin.html