What came first: the music, the lyrics, or the melody? It’s different for every songwriter, and differs based on where the inspiration spurs from. Ne-Yo’s chart-topping hits earned him the title as one of the most sought after songwriters to work with in music, spanning genres and taking names (he recently hooked up with country star Tim McGraw in musical collaboration).

But how does he do it? The song master recently revealed to TheYBF.com how a song comes together. It turns out there is no set way he writes; that would limit the creative potential that is limitless in music. “I don’t have much of a process. There’s been some songs where the melody came first. There’s been some songs where the track will lead me to a lyric. There’s been songs where the hook will come first or verse. That’s the cool thing about music…there’s no wrong way to do it,” he said.

When it comes to penning cuts for other people, Ne-Yo said he take into consideration that person’s vocal style and range. He also prefers to work with those who have a strong knowledge of self, who know what they want their sound to be. He stated “There are some artists who come to me and go ‘Just write me a hit’ but that could be anything…But if you know who you are, what you do, and what you’re about, and you come to me that way, you’re probably gonna get a better song that way.”

Forming relationships is another way to ensure Ne-Yo will write a song to mold to an artist’s needs, making the content relevant and real enough for the singer to convey real-life emotion on the track. Rihanna is one of those he feels comfortable writing for. “I can call Rih and go, ‘How are you feeling today? I’m about to go in the studio with you is there anything specific you want to say?’ Can’t do that with everybody,” he explained.

His brand spankin’ new album “R.E.D.” (Realizing Every Dream) is out today (Nov. 6th).