Ne-Yo's fourth album, "Libra Scale," due Nov. 22 on Compound/Def Jam in the United States, is a high-concept departure for the R&B singer. With a storyline that's expanded upon in long-form music videos and a new comic book, "Libra Scale" has been preceded by three singles and an extensive marketing campaign.
"Ne-Yo is truly one of the greats, and it has been a privilege to work closely with him, from the early stages of his songwriting career through his extremely successful recording career," Island Def Jam Music Group chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid says. "He is a unique artist, not only crafting his own series of brilliantly produced albums, but also providing big songs and hit duets for many of today's biggest stars." Here's a look at the making of -- and a listen to -- "Libra Scale."
|Listen to "Libra Scale"|
Ne-Yo says he recorded "a little bit everywhere" during the past two years. Many songs were cut at Circle House Studios in Miami; others in Los Angeles and New York. "Libra Scale" was primarily mixed in Atlanta. The 10 tracks feature nine different producers, including Stargate, Ryan Leslie, Jackpot and D. Dorohn Gough. "I don't hunt out the super-producer . . . it's always a matter of who is going to give me what I want sound-wise," Ne-Yo says.
ON THE PAGE
"Ne-Yo -- who is managed by Tishawn Gayle and Tango Hay of Compound Entertainment and is signed to Universal Music-Z Tunes/Pen in the Ground Publishing -- initially wrote a 147-page script earlier this year, hoping to turn it into a feature film with an accompanying soundtrack. When that proved financially unfeasible, the singer says, "I took the script and broke it down into a 30-minute version. After that was OK'd [by Island Def Jam], we went right into the music."
ON THE AIR
With an initial album street date of Sept. 21, the club-ready first single, "Beautiful Monster," was released June 8 and peaked at No. 53 on the Billboard Hot 100, while second single "Champagne Life" quickly followed on July 20 and peaked at No. 74. Marketing manager Chris Atlas says that the bumped release date will give third single "One in a Million" the chance to make an impression. "We wanted more time for the single to cement itself in terms of chart positioning," Atlas says of "Million," which is No. 24 on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart this week, while "Champagne Life" held at No. 19 on the tally.
"Beautiful Monster" went to No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart in August, according to the Official Charts Co., and also reached No. 7 on the European Hot 100. "Libra Scale" arrived overseas Nov. 2 in the same 10-track format as the U.S. version. Ne-Yo will focus on the United Kingdom and Japan during international promotion.
IN THE STORES
A deluxe version of "Libra Scale" will help deliver Ne-Yo's cinematic vision for the album by including a DVD with three long-form music videos made from his edited film script. In addition, the singer premiered "Libra Scale," a comic book that maps out the album's storyline, Oct. 9 at New York Comic Con. During release week, Ne-Yo will appear on "Lopez Tonight," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and the American Music Awards telecast. He also performed on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" in early October.
ON THE ROAD
Ne-Yo-whose booking agent is Cara Lewis at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment-hasn't yet announced a full tour but he'll play top 40 WHTZ New York's Jingle Ball on Dec. 10 at New York's Madison Square Garden. Atlas notes that "Ne-Yo is a great live performer, so that is definitely part of our strategy." In the meantime, Ne-Yo says he'll focus on film and screenwriting opportunities as well as songwriting with artists like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Carrie Underwood.