Shaffer Chimere Smith — a.k.a. the R&B superstar known as Ne-Yo — has a knack for empathizing with the female psyche. How else to explain the Arkansas native's ability to pen pop hits for Rihanna ("Take a Bow," "Hate That I Love You"), Beyoncé ("Irreplaceable") and Jennifer Hudson ("Can't Stop the Rain")? Ne-Yo's own singing career exudes the same type of empathy for the ladies, from his syrupy soul voice all the way down to his dapper threads. Having released a solo record a year since 2006, the 29-year-old struck crossover gold with 2008's Year of the Gentleman, a perfect hybrid of R&B sleekness and modern-pop savvy; listen to the electro-dusted "Closer" for proof.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.