Ne-Yo first experienced "the power of music" when he heard 80,000 people sing his track.
The R&B artist has shared the moment when he knew he had made it in the industry.
The 30-year-old was amazed when so many fans recited the words to So Sick, a track on his 2006 album In My Own Words.
"Early on, I was at a festival in Japan - 80,000 people. My first song was So Sick, which was my first number one as an artist, and I turned the mic around to the crowd and they sang the whole song. Every lyric," he explained to Esquire magazine. "That was my first experience with the power of music. No barriers exist. Age. Race. Language. A great song - that trumps everything else."
Ne-Yo lists the Rat Pack - Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop et al – as his inspiration. It’s easy to see how the Grammy-winning solo artist has been influenced by these original swingers.
"I grew up in Las Vegas. My mom worked in pretty much every casino on the Strip. She brought home the Rat Pack stuff. Sammy was the only one that looked like me, so I naturally gravitated to him," Ne-Yo continued. "Sammy made it cool to be black at a time when, let's just say it, it wasn't very cool to be black. His name was on the front of the building in lights, and he had to go in the back. But you never saw him sweat."
As well as Sammy, Ne-Yo listed the other stars who have helped shape his career. He calls Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder and Sammy Davis Jr. his "Four Kings" and learnt how to dance by copying them.
"I'm not a natural. I had to teach myself - or be taught - everything I do. I just spent hours and hours in the mirror mimicking Michael Jackson," he admitted.