Ne-Yo’s not an unfamiliar face, but now that he’s portraying the Tin Man in the amazing production of ‘The Wiz Live!’ we need to know more about the ‘Sexy Love’ singer. Here are five important facts about Ne-Yo!
It was so exciting to learn that Ne-Yo scored the highly-coveted role of the Tin Man in The Wiz Live!, the TV musical that so many have been looking forward to all year! The Wiz is one of the most celebrated movies of a generation, and seeing Ne-Yo do his thing as the Tin Man, live on TV, was an amazing treat. We were just dying to learn more about this talented performer. Click through for five facts!
He first went by the name GoGo
Shaffer Chimere Smith wasn’t always Ne-Yo. The singer first started out under the stage name “GoGo,” while studying at the Las Vegas Academy! He joined and R&B group under that name called Envy. They were darlings of the industry, appearing on Showtime at the Apollo and The Cut. They disbanded in 2000, and Ne-Yo went solo.
He was discovered by Marques Houston
Ne-Yo had put in some major time as a songwriter, but didn’t get his big break until Marques heard his song “That Girl.” The rest was history. Marques took the song and recorded it as his own, and Ne-Yo was widely known as one of the best songwriters in the biz. He’s written music for Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Carrie Underwood, just to name a few!
The Wiz Live! wasn’t his first acting gig
He’s not just a talented singer and songwriter; Ne-Yo has some choice movie roles under his belt, too. He’s starred in The Tuskegee Airmen, Red Tails, Stomp the Yard, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! and Battle: Los Angeles. The Wiz Live! is only going to further that portion of his career!
He wrote songs for Michael Jackson’s last album
Ne-Yo worked with the late and great Michael Jackson on his unreleased last album, which never happened after Michael tragically died in 2009. He said in 2010 that he was confused about what to do with the songs he had written for MJ; it seemed wrong, to him, to sell them after his death. The album has still never been heard.
He’s a major philanthropist
Passionate about the arts, and even more so helping children achieve their dreams in that field, Ne-Yo is a huge advocate of organizations like Little Rock Kids that promote those causes. He even filmed a PSA for the organization asking people to help join the cause.
HollywoodLifers, did you watch The Wiz? Tell us in the comments!