Ne-Yo gained fame for his songwriting abilities when he penned his 2004 hit “Let Me Love You” for singer Mario. The single’s successful release in the United States prompted an informal meeting between Ne-Yo and Def Jam’s label head, and the signing of a recording contract.
Ne-Yo’s debut album was In My Own Words, released in 2006. The album was critically successful, reaching number one on the Billboard 200. It is certified platinum in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Australia. Ne-Yo’s first single, “Stay”, was released in September 2005. The song was a success on the R&B charts, but failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. His second single, “So Sick”, was first released in November 2005. In the US, it was a commercial success, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and was also certified platinum four times in the US and twice in Japan. “When You’re Mad” and “Sexy Love” were released afterwards from the album in 2006, reaching number 15 and number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. In April 2007, Ne-Yo released his second studio album, Because of You, and was the second number one platinum-selling album debuted on the US Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album at the 2008 Grammy Awards. Ne-Yo’s third studio album, Year of the Gentleman, was released internationally in August 2008. The album was nominated for Best Contemporary R&B Album and Album of the Year at the 2009 Grammy Awards, “Closer” for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, and “Miss Independent” for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. Year of the Gentleman has been certified platinum twice in the US, selling two million copies, also platinum three times in the UK and once in Japan. The third single, “Mad,” peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.