Why? 'Because' It's Ne-Yo!

Ne-Yo has enjoyed equal success away from and in front of the mic, but most folks now know him as a recording star. His debut album, "In My Own Words," moved 301,000 copies in its first week last Febr

Ne-Yo has enjoyed equal success away from and in front of the mic, but most folks now know him as a recording star. His debut album, "In My Own Words," moved 301,000 copies in its first week last February and 1.4 million to date, and showcased his deft songwriting touch. He crafted his own heartbreak into the song "So Sick," which spent two weeks at No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100. When his sophomore album, "Because of You," drops this week via Def Jam, few are predicting a slump.

At least in some part, this is due to Ne-Yo's impressive strength as a songwriter. What most in the industry have come to know, fans are just realizing: Ne-Yo is off to a prolific start as a go-to R&B hit writer. Two of his hits, Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" and Mario's "Let Me Love You," have spent a combined 19 weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100.

Now Ne-Yo is about to see if he still has the right touch on his own tracks, with the release of "Because of You." The title track is already a top 15 hit on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs; another memorable moment comes in the form of a Jennifer Hudson duet, "Leaving Tonight."

"To be an artist is to crave acceptance, so it's difficult to tell people things sometimes," Ne-Yo says. "You almost have to take a back seat to the artist, especially if they've had a little bit of success. But by the grace of God, Jennifer Hudson is still normal. When I asked her to bring out a note, or change something, it was done. She out-sung me on my own song. It's Jennifer Hudson featuring Ne-Yo."