NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ne-Yo feels right at home in Music City.
The silky-voiced R&B star joined Tim McGraw for a surprise performance Wednesday night. The two sang a pair of duets for a crowd of a few hundred invited guests at a private event on the eve of the Country Music Association Awards.
"For me, I feel like in another life I might've been a country artist," Ne-Yo said in an interview after the performance.
And he's not joking. He's found lots to love about country music since first joining McGraw for a Nashville-style songwriting session a few years back.
"Faith Hill cooked fried chicken for me," Ne-Yo said. "and it was fantastic. I knew I was coming out here to write, so I was expecting to go to like a studio and hear some skeletal track and then just go from there. I went to Tim and Faith's house. It was me, Tim and a guy with a guitar in the living room as the kids ran around, and it was the greatest writing experience I've ever had in my life."
The two sang McGraw's "Only Human" from his "Emo tional Traffic" album. Then they wrapped up with Ne-Yo's "She Is" from his Nov. 6 release "R.E.D."
Ne-Yo is shooting a video for "Forever Now." But he vowed to return to Nashville soon.
"We're definitely going to do it again," he said. "I met a lot of very important people in there. I just expect to see some more of this cross-pollination happening."