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The stage name Ne-Yo was coined by Big D Evans, a producer with whom Ne-Yo once worked, American singer Marques Houston happened to hear "That Girl", which Ne-Yo had planned to release as his debut single from his then-unreleased album.
Houston re-recorded the song and released it as a single for his 2003 album MH.
In December 2008, Ne-Yo performed at the Kennedy Center Honors as part of the tribute to Barbra Streisand; he sang and danced to the song "Lover Come Back to Me", which Streisand recorded on her second album in 1963.
In 2009, Billboard ranked him as the 57th Artist of the 2000s decade.
In early 2006, Ne-Yo released his debut album, In My Own Words, through Def Jam.
Boosted by its popular second single "So Sick", the album debuted at number one on Billboard 200, selling over 301,000 copies in its first week on sale.
It peaked at number 53 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.