Shaffer Chimere Smith, known to the world as Ne-Yo, was born in 1982 in Camden, Arkansas. His parents were African American and Chinese American.
Ne-Yo became a strong force in R&B music starting in the late 1990s when he began writing for other artists. He scored a big hit with his work on Mario's "Let Me Love You," and went on to write Rihanna's "Unfaithful," Mario Vazquez's "Gallery" and Beyonce's "Irreplaceable." He's also reported to have written songs for Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Enrique Iglesias, Usher, Chris Brown and Michael Jackson.
In 2006, Ne-Yo finally released his own album, In My Own Words. The album was on Def Jam Recordings and went platinum. The album was helped by its two hit singles, "So Sick" and "Sexy Love." The former topped the Hot 100, and Pop 100 charts, going platinum, while the latter reached #7 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the R&B charts, also going platinum. The album had two other singles, "Stay" and "When You're Mad." However, neither of these did as well as the albums biggest hits. Still, "When You're Mad" reached #4 on the R&B charts and #15 on the Hot 100, while "Stay" reached #36 on the R&B charts.
Ne-Yo followed up his success with another platinum album, Because of You. Released on May 1, 2007, the album was powered by two hit singles. "Do You" reached #3 on the R&B charts and #26 on the Hot 100 while "Because of You" reached #2 on the Hot 100 and #7 on the R&B charts.
In 2008, Ne-Yo released his latest album, Year of the Gentleman.
2008 also saw Ne-Yo's arrest after he was caught driving 105 mph in a 50 mph zone in Cobb County, Georgia. As a sentence, Ne-Yo was given 24 hours of community service, fined $1,000 and required to perform for the Boys and Girls Club.