When Ne-Yo Was 17… he was just as fabulous as he is today!
Ne-yo (born Shaffer C. Smith) was just a regular old teen at a performing arts school. Originally from Arkansas, Ne-Yo grew up in a single parent home Las Vegas, Nevada.
His mother moved the family to Vegas after she and his dad spit up and while he was growing up, it was there he discovered his love for and interest in music. Ne-Yo began writing songs at an early age but he also had a passion for doodling:
“I went to a performing-arts high school. I wasn’t even there for music….I was there for visual design and drawing and painting and stuff like that.”
Ne-Yo and friends…
Ne-Yo in his tux…
Watch video of Ne-Yo on MTV’s “When I was 17” + additional photos from his teen years below:
Ne-Yo’s best bud Kevin reveals that the future hitmaker has always showed an undeniable aptitude for sketching.
“Ne-Yo’s a great artist,” he says. “This guy can draw. He can seriously draw.”
Since he was attending a school focused on the arts, Ne-Yo remembers being able to devote serious time to his passion.
The way that this school worked, for the first half of your day, it was a regular high school — math class, social studies … The last hour or so of your school day was dedicated solely to your major.
I remember our classroom was just weird,” Ne-Yo recalls. “[It was] just a really, really weird place to be for an hour.
He says the room was filled with things like animal heads and mannequin parts.
“Of course, when you’re in this weird room, your imagination just goes all over the place,” he continues. “The teacher would set up a still life — it would be a bowl of fruit or something — and then they would tell us to draw the bowl of fruit.
I would always take whatever it is and just mutate the hell out of it. I would make it to where … they’re fighting each other.
So, the orange has a knife … and the apple is about to shoot him and he stabs him … and there’s blood. I would do stuff like that.”
So, why did Ne-Yo pit his inanimate subjects against each other in tense stand-offs instead of just rendering the simple bowl of fruit in front of him? According to the singer, it’s the same reason many teenagers do knucklehead stuff: “Just to piss the teacher off.”
The standard “GQ” pose. Don’ t laugh! I bet you have a few too…