This week’s Famous Friday is on Ne-Yo. Ne-Yo is an American singer, actor, songwriter, and record producer. Ne-Yo’s real name is Shaffer Chimere Smith, he was born on October 18, 1979, in Camden Arkansas. His father (Wiley L. Smith) is of African American and Chinese descent, and his mother (Loraine Smith) is African American. Both of his parents were musicians. Eventually, his parents split, and he and his mother moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. Early on in his life, Ne-Yo joined a group called Envy which appeared on Showtime at the Apollo and on the MTV series The Cut. The group disbanded in 2000, but Ne-Yo continued to make music for other artists before he went solo. He got the stage name Ne-Yo from Big D Evans, a producer who Ne-Yo once worked with. Evans said that Ne-Yo sees music like the character Neo sees the Matrix. Ne-Yo eventually gained fame from a song called “Let Me Love You”. The release of this song prompted a meeting between Ne-Yo and Jay-Z which resulted in a recording contract. Ne-Yo would eventually receive three Grammies and several other awards. Ne-Yo’s album “My Own Words” was a huge commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia. His single “So Sick” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. His third album, Year of the Gentlemen won a Grammy award for Best Contemporary R&B Album as well as Album of the Year. His singles “Closer” and “Miss Independent” were nominated for the Grammy Awards for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song. Year of the Gentlemen has been certified platinum twice in the United States selling two million copies, and platinum three times in the United Kingdom, and once in Japan. Neo competed as Badger on the second season of Masked Singer UK and finished in second Place. His most recent album that was released is Self Explanatory which was released on July 15, 2022.


William Thomas

Project Race Vice President