Ne-Yo has been one of the most iconic voices of our generation. He has gained massive success, creating music that continue to be played and remembered today. Tell us one person who doesn’t know the words to “So Sick”.
Fun fact: The name behind Ne-Yo, real name Shaffer Smith, is based off The Matrix. Deon “Big D” Evans, a producer who Smith worked with, compared him to Neo from the film because of the way he was able to see and make music. You can watch Smith break down his name in his interview with Larry King.
Over the years, he’s released album after album, hit after hit. He’s earned 15 Grammy nominations, including Album Of The Year for Year of the Gentleman. His first three albums all went platinum, moving over 3 million copies.
The 41-year-old artist was making hits for a long time, even before he pursued his solo career. He started out as a songwriter and producer for many artists such as Marques Houston, Faith Evans, Mary J. Blige and Musiq Soulchild.
But it wasn’t until 2004 that he got his major breakthrough when he wrote this particular song (skip to the last song on this list to find out what it is). The success of this song earned Ne-Yo a new solo deal with Def Jam Recordings and the rest is history.
Here is a list of songs that you probably didn’t know were written or produced by Ne-Yo. So sit back and relax. We’re going back, back in time.
Take It To The Floor – B2K
This one is for Lil Saint (points for those who got the reference). Ne-Yo wrote “Take It To The Floor” for the boy band B2K, which they included for the film You Got Served, a 2004 film showcasing dance crew battles.
Take Me Away – John Legend
This jazzy tune is one of the underrated tracks off John Legend’s third studio album, Evolver. “Take Me Away” was co-written and co-produced by Ne-Yo.
Spotlight – Jennifer Hudson
A Jennifer Hudson classic. “Spotlight” marked Hudson’s debut single and it was hot. Ne-Yo co-wrote and co-produced this with the production duo Stargate in 2007. The song went on to receive two Grammy nominations for Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
Pretty Girl Rock – Keri Hilson
Her name is Keri, she’s so very ____ (you know the words). This bouncy R&B track was written by Ne-Yo and Chuck Harmony and this song is all about female empowerment. Hilson’s song went on to become certified platinum in 2010.
Take A Bow – Rihanna
So many chart-topping hits and this is not over yet. Another production from Ne-Yo and Stargate, this classic R&B ballad from Rihanna went on to become quadruple platinum. Yea, you read that right — quadruple.
In addition, Ne-Yo also penned some of her other hits like “Hate That I Love You”, “Russian Roulette” and “Unfaithful.”
Irreplaceable – Beyoncé
To the left, to the left…is where all her 28 Grammy awards are. Again with the help of Stargate, Ne-Yo helped write this 2008 smash hit. Believe it or not, this song was originally meant to be a country song, before ultimately being given to Beyoncé.
Watch Ne-Yo talk about the inspiration for “Irreplaceable” here.
Let Me Love You – Mario
Okay, this is another song that everyone knows the lyrics to. It’s catchy and memorable. From 2004, this Mario track became an instant hit, going double platinum and even spending nine consecutive weeks at the number one spot U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Of course, this has Ne-Yo written all over it. You can even hear him providing background vocals in this song.
This song is what pushed Ne-Yo to new heights, ultimately earning a solo record deal with Def Jam Recordings.
He’s been quiet on the music scene lately. But, he did recently compete on the second season of The Masked Singer UK, which you can catch all of his performances on YouTube.
The R&B legend is one of the most successful and decorated artists ever. From his songwriting to producing, he just knows how to create a song that people will love. The platinum certifications prove that. Ne-Yo is truly a master at his craft and we can’t wait to see more from him.
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