Beyonce's fifth studio album is slowly taking shape: after The-Dream told Billboard that new music would "definitely" be released before the pop superstar's February performance at the Super Bowl halftime show, R&B star Ne-Yo has confirmed that he's heading into the studio with Blue Ivy's proud mother.
"I'm actually about to do some stuff for Beyonce soon -- she's on her way back," Ne-Yo told Billboard on the red carpet at Z-100's Jingle Ball on Friday night (Dec. 7). Ne-Yo previously collaborated with Beyonce as a songwriter and producer on the "B'Day" single "Irreplaceable," which has sold 3.1 million downloads according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Ne-Yo is the latest artist to be added into the fold for the follow-up to "4": in late October, Beyonce snapped a studio photo with rising R&B star Miguel, and last week, longtime collaborator The-Dream claimed that he is "involved in every part of the process" of the still-untitled full-length. "She took the summer to start recording, and now she's in a place where she's ready to start gearing up to reveal her plan," he said.
Meanwhile, Ne-Yo has his own hit album to promote: "R.E.D.," which sold 66,000 copies in its first week of release last month according to Nielsen SoundScan, has spawned the Top 10 hit "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)" and returned the singer to the top of the R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart after his 2010 concept album "Libra Scale" yielded underwhelming results.
"I made a few mistakes with 'Libra Scale,' the whole production of it -- just basically trying things I had never tried before without have a full understanding of what it is I was doing," says Ne-Yo of "Libra Scale," which was released alongside a comic series of the same name two years ago. "But you gotta fall in order to get back up. 'R.E.D.' is my 'get back up,' and I think, if I do say so myself, it is quality."
Ne-Yo performed "Let Me Love You" at the Grammys nomination concert last Wednesday, and before the night was over, the singer-songwriter had earned a nomination for Best Dance Recording, for his Calvin Harris collaboration "Let's Go." "That's a category that I honestly never thought I'd be nominated in, for Best Dance Recording" says Ne-Yo, "but it feels good. I'm trying to get to the point where you say 'Ne-Yo' and you just think music, period, and completely ignore genres. This is a step in that direction."