Ne-Yo opened up love, life, and his emotional journey to the top on VH1’s “Behind the Music,” which aired last night. While he sings about living the “Champagne Life” these days, the R&B superstar’s life wasn’t always picturesque. Growing up in Arkansas, he witnessed his father abuse his mother. After showcasing his talent at a high school talent show, he joined a boy band called Envy and moved to L.A. in pursuit of a record deal.
After they disbanded in 2000, a then 20-year-old Ne-Yo focused on songwriting before eventually signing a lucrative deal with Def Jam. He went on to write hits for superstars like Beyoncé and Rihanna and went platinum with his 2006 debut In My Own Words.
The self-described “hopeless romantic” also spoke about meeting his soulmate, getting a call from Michael Jackson, and performing at the Apollo, with commentary from L.A. Reid, Mario, and his family.
“I had heard so many different times that what I wanted to do wasn’t good enough, but I stuck to my guns,” said Ne-Yo. “I gotta do what feels good and this is what feels good.”
Watch the full episode below.