Ne-Yo’s résumé could put many go-hards to shame: singer/songwriter extraordinaire, Senior Vice President of A&R at Def Jam, Compound Entertainment label head, Malibu Red liquor connoisseur, entertainer. But then there’s Shaffer Smith, a 33-year-old father of two who still makes time for what matters most.
VIBE: What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
First, I thank God for the day. Second thing to do, I don’t know, but I gotta pee. It’s just natural for me to go to the bathroom. Then my entire day is based on rehearsal, bunch of shows, promo tour, and then find time to eat. Put nourishment somewhere in the process.
A lot of artists are seizure-prone these days. How do you stay on your hustle and healthy at the same time?
I’m in the gym everyday. Hate to break it to you but none of us are getting younger. I’m 33 and want to live to see my 93rd birthday. I gotta stay in shape and that’s why when I wake up in the morning, I don’t feel sluggish.
Holidays are coming up. How do you curb those family dinners from packing on the pounds?
Willpower, willpower and willpower. Know that that extra piece of sweet potato pie is gonna end up somewhere you don’t want it to be. It’s not so much what you eat but how much you eat. Moderation. I always look to the Asian community as an example. There’s rice and noodles, carbs in every meal and they don’t gain weight. Eat for yourself and not four different people.
With everything on your plate, how do you find time for family?
That’s time carved out. There’s a difference between Ne-Yo and Shafeer Smith with two kids who he refuses to be raised without a daddy. If I see three (show) dates, I check if they’re mandatory, if not, I’m headed home.
Will the little ones be following in daddy’s musical footsteps?
Both are definite singers and dancers. Mason is a year old and Maddie is two. She’s in a Montessori school three days of the week and listens to “Let Me Love U” on the way to school. That’s her favorite. She fist pumps and everything. Mason can’t walk yet, but he’s at that stage where he latches to everything and scoots himself along. He says “dada” when he hears my song.
You were in the movie Red Tails. Any chance of you returning to the big screen soon?
At some point. I am now a student of acting. When I was doing the movie, I remembered the statement “You never want to act but become.” That’s when it’s the best and most organic. I’m definitely learning but on the other side, every script that I’ve been handed wants to take me from music for six to eight months year. I just recently turned down the great Lee Daniels’ Butler of Martin Luther King. I was floored to even be offered it, I turned it down for two reasons: 1) I had to gain 20 to 30 pounds 2) the film would start shooting around my album release date. I can’t be Martin Luther King on Monday and then switch hats and be Ne-Yo on Tuesday. You can’t half-ass that role.
Ne-Yo’s album ‘R.E.D.’ is now in stores and available on iTunes.