Ne-Yo Recalls Annoying His Teacher On 'When I Was 17'

In Saturday's episode, singer remembers drawing mutilated fruit.

After notching hits like "Miss Independent" and penning jams for divas like Beyoncé and Rihanna, singer/songwriter [artist id="2002414"]Ne-Yo[/artist] has become one of the music industry's most reliable go-to guys for silky pop and R&B hits. But back in the mid-'90s, when Ne-Yo was 17, he was carving out a reputation as a talented illustrator.

"I went to a performing-arts high school. I wasn't even there for music," the singer says in the latest episode of "When I Was 17," which premieres Saturday at 11 a.m. "I was there for visual design and drawing and painting and stuff like that."

Ne-Yo's bud Kevin reveals that the future hitmaker has always showed an undeniable aptitude for sketching.

"Ne-Yo's a great artist," he says. "This guy can draw. He can seriously draw."

Since he was attending a school focused on the arts, Ne-Yo remembers being able to devote serious time to his passion.

"The way that this school worked, for the first half of your day, it was a regular high school — math class, social studies ... The last hour or so of your school day was dedicated solely to your major," he explains.

The environment turned out to be a plentiful source of inspiration — just not the type his instructors were expecting.

"I remember our classroom was just weird," Ne-Yo recalls. "[It was] just a really, really weird place to be for an hour."

He says the room was filled with things like animal heads and mannequin parts.

"Of course, when you're in this weird room, your imagination just goes all over the place," he continues. "The teacher would set up a still life — it would be a bowl of fruit or something — and then they would tell us to draw the bowl of fruit. I would always take whatever it is and just mutate the hell out of it. I would make it to where ... they're fighting each other. So, the orange has a knife ... and the apple is about to shoot him and he stabs him ... and there's blood. I would do stuff like that."

So, why did Ne-Yo pit his inanimate subjects against each other in tense stand-offs instead of just rendering the simple bowl of fruit in front of him? According to the singer, it's the same reason many teenagers do knucklehead stuff: "Just to piss the teacher off."

"When I Was 17" — this week featuring B.o.B, Usher and Ne-Yo — premieres Saturday at 11 a.m. on MTV.