Ne-Yo: Why I Named My Son Mason

03/27/2012 at 11:00 AM ET

Not all celebrities follow the trend of picking wild-out-of-the-box names for their little ones. Take Ne-Yo, who thoughtfully selected “a very strong, very stout name,” for his second child, son Mason Evan.

“We needed him to have a name that felt like a gentleman, like somebody you have to respect, ” the singer tells PEOPLE Wednesday at New York’s Liberty Theater, where he launched Malibu Red at a private concert.

“Mason Evan Smith, you have to respect that name.”

And while he’s a bit picky when selecting his kid’s names, don’t expect the musician to be a stage dad.

“I’m not going to be that dude that predestines my children’s future,” he says. “I’m just going to do my best so that my daughter doesn’t end up on a pole and my son doesn’t end up on the corner. And whatever they do outside of that is pretty much their decision.”

Admittedly, it’s difficult to work full-time with two tots at home. In addition to 5-month-old Mason, he and Monyetta Shaw are also parents to daughter Madilyn Grace, 16 months.

“I missed [Madilyn]’s first words,” the R&B vocalist shares, adding, “I gotta say the best thing about having two kids is just having two kids.”

These days, the singer is trying to create a balanced family life. “Some people say, ‘One day at a time,'” he notes. “I say, ‘One minute at a time.'”

— Jenisha Watts

FILED UNDER: Exclusive , News , Parenting

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meghan on

Madilyn Grace and Mason Evan. Nice names for both little ones!

stacey on

both names are cute and classy. And I love when parents pick names for their kids that start and/or end with the same letter.

Sarah S. on

I agree with Meghan and Stacy both! My kids have their names beginning with the same letter. Love the names Mason and Madilyn!!

Maryanne on

I have a mason, he is 4 and I love his name. I also have a Madeline, she is going to be 10. Ne-Yo you have great name taste, lol!

J Bird on

I was going to name my daughter Madilyn-Grace Anais (call her Maddi-Grace for short)- Madilyn would be after a friend of my aunt’s who passed away from cancer. Darn it, Ne-Yo. lol

Shannon on

Lovely names.

Julianna on

I love Ne-Yo! The names he and Monyetta chose for their children are so elegant and refined.

Laurie Goodwin on

My grandson’s name is Mason Raymond I too think it is a name that commands respect.

RKF on

Absolutely beautiful names. It’s so refreshing to see unselfish parents who give names the kids can live with, as opposed to some ridiculous and embarrassing made up name that will plague them throughout their life.

Kate on

He’s such a doll. I’m not a huge fan of his music, but I am a huge fan of him as a person and a dad.

Patrese on

Bravo he didn’t give his children ghetto names

Lily on

Gorgeous names! Very refreshing to hear such elegant names from celebs.

lolli on

Really nice names. He has truly embraced fatherhood and family life.

siltnamiai on

Yes really nice name, and that kid wont bother himself anymore in the future about his given name

B.J. on

I like Mason well enough, but there has to be dozens, if not hundreds of “Mason Smith”s in the USA alone. When considering a baby name, I like to look it up on FaceBook and see how many other people pop up. When I search my name? I’m the only one!

ebmo on

Mason and Madilyn are ugly ass names. Why hasn’t Neyo showed his kids yet. Maybe he is ashamed of his kids or somethin. Monyetta was carzy to name her kids them crazy ass names.

bh on

Thank God they didn’t name him Trayvon.

Lisa on

Elegance and class–too bad more people don’t follow his example!

Kate on

OR, ebmo, he wants to keep his kids away from the public eye, which I would completely understand.

Julie on

I love the names!

TysMom on

I love both the names. They are classy and something they can both live with when they age. It’s nice to see such thought put into a child’s name. He also seems like a great Dad.

lalala on

You don’t have to respect Mason. And no one will ever spell his daughter’s name right. Why didn’t they go for “Macin” or “Masen” so both kids would have bad spellings?

But then, the piece is by “Jenisha….”

I think Ne-Yo is horribly underrated. I love ALL HIS STUFF. He gets ignored amidst Usher and Breezy and Drizzy and T-Pain and Pitbull and and….but he is sooooo great.

Linda on

My Mason is 26 and every bit the gentleman. Great name!

showbizmom on

@bh You’re not funny not in the least bit. Grow up!

Karen on

It’s great to see some celebrities giving their children names they won’t be embarrassed to have in the future.

aly on

I love both of those names! So elegant 🙂 I love Ne-Yo as a musician, actor, and a person! Well respected!

befashiononline on

I love the name, Mason.

ok on

I remember his alleged comments about only wanting mixed light skinned babies. he is an ugly guy poor kids

Michelle on

I have a Mason too he’s 18months. I love the name! I also LOVE his daughters name too!

Rhonda on

Some of these comments should be deleted. The one about Trayvon was in poor taste. Anyway, I like the names that Ne-Yo has named his children.

teri on

I love both names! My son is Evan Mason! Congratulations!

guest on

haha, nice idea and yet, if he acts like a jerk people won’t respect him. You can give him any name you want but you still need to be a good parent.

Jeana on

Nice names—-smart names

Catca on

Do his kids have the same mother? Just wondering because 16 months and 5 months are exactly 9 months apart and pregnancies are more like 9 1/2 months. He’d had to have gotten her pregnant again like the same week they came home from the hospital! Wow! (Of course there may be a typo with the kids ages…)

Catca on

I just reread the story and the kids do have the same mother so my goodness – are those ages correct??? Talk about Irish twins!

JWT on

Such lovely and normal names to be proud of. Good job Ne-Yo and Monyetta!!

Laurie on

Love the name Mason! That’s my Cockapoo’s name…aka Macy Boo.

Pidge on

He’s a pig to women. But the names are okay.

Pidge on

He’s a pig to women. Names are okay, though.

candomath on

16 months – 5 months is 11 months not 9.

stew on

Wonderful names! They’ve obviously got classy and thoughtful parents.

Ami on

What lovely names. Glad he passed on Shaquanda and Ladafashawn, lol.

Ami on

embo, you can head back to the ghetto street corner where you undoubtedly hang out all day because you are obviously unemployable.

Elisabeth on

I love this article!! He has such a great point when he said he doesn’t want to predestine their future and he wants his children to be respected and respectful. Just like Selma Blair said, you never know how your children are going to turn out! Put your own silly interests aside when it comes to the naming.

Noonah on

To Catca – please buy a calculator! A normal pregnancy is 40 weeks, which is closer to 9 months than to 9 and 1/2. Also, just so you know – 16-5 is actually 11, not 9. It is possible to get pregnant 2 months after giving birth.

Melissa on

Love the names! My girls’ names both start with “M”, too. Maryn (pronounced Mare-in) and Melia (pronounced Ma-Leah).

Corinne on

Mason like in Charles Mason??? What*s wrong with you people???

showbizmom on

@Corinne Oh, Lord the crazy serial killer’s name is Charles MaNson. This little boy’s name is Mason. See the difference?

Amber on

I for to really see Ne-yo as a person for the first time on The Voice, he is acting as a mentor to the contestants. My first thought was, this guy really has his stuff together!!! Now as I read this I feel even stronger about that. He just seems so down to earth and level headed, something, I feel, alot of celebs do not have in today’s world…

Jadapotata on

Great names Ne-yo!

casandra on

I have a 2 year old daughter, Evan Grace Mason……GREAT NAME CHOICE 🙂

Elizabeth on

Mason is such an awful name. It’s not a strong manly name at all. It sounds weak and feminine. What happened to male names like Frank, John, and Samuel? Madilyn is also awful. I hate trendy names for children.

CRW on

@ Ebmo (March 29th)….You are very ignorant. Mason and Madilyn are not ugly names. Your self esteem is low and your name is probably something that everyone knows your race by it. Lord knows your grammar tells me some things it itself and yes I AM A SISTER! on

To Melissa,
I love your girls’ names! Beautiful, especially Maryn.

Re: the article, I like his name choices and found his comment about his girls staying off the pole and son off the corner pretty funny. Isn’t that the truth? We want our children to just be happy, healthy, and safe doing what they love, being productive citizens and respecting others around them; Cheers to that for our kids!

AllisonJ on

Nice to see a celebrity realizing that odd and unusual names are really not very fair to the kids. Mason and Madilyn and great and classic names.

Jaci on

It seems that his first child was born several months premature, which is why the kids seem so close together

Halee on

The only thing I really need to hear from Ne-yo is that SWEEEET amazing voice.
There is something magical about it.
What a talent!