Ne-Yo Suits Up For Comic Book Adventure With ‘Libra Scale’

Posted October 14, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

If you’d look close, you probably could tell. Underneath the suave gentleman wardrobe, the dapper black hat and tie with matching black ’50’s chic glasses, there’s an inner geek with a fetish for…comic books.

For Ne-Yo’s fourth album, Libra Scale, Ne-Yo attempts to please his fans and his inner ambitions with a concept album focused on comic book anime.

“I am a bit of a comic book/Japanimation/sci-fi geek,” Ne-Yo tells Rolling Stone while previewing the new album at Def Jam’s Manhattan office. “I’ve been in love with this stuff for years, since before I was double digits.”

The 30-year old singer wanted to create a companion 45-minute movie featuring all the songs from the new album – much like what Michael Jackson did with Bad on ‘Moonwalker’ “The whole idea to do this for my fourth came from not doing an album in ’09 because I was doing two movies, learning how to write for the screen,” he continues. ” And then, the inspiration was furthered by Michael Jackson’s passing, looking at ‘Thriller,’ ‘Moonwalker,’ ‘Bad.’ Those were more than just videos — those were movies.”

Apparently, the idea of doing a big movie requires a super budget. That’s something his label, Def Jam, was a bit reluctant in supporting. But there will be a series of music videos with some of them being extended beyond the five-minute mark. Ne-Yo also traveled to this year’s ComicCon in New York to speak about the new venture and is also teaming up with Marvel Comics’ publisher Stan Lee to help create a graphic novel to support the forthcoming project.

The concept behind Libra Scale – much like what Ciara did with 2009’s Fantasy Ride and what Janelle Monáe planned out on her successful 2010 release The ArchAndroid – surrounds Jerome (Ne-Yo), and two other good guys, who are giving uncanny superpowers to help rid the city of evil. The big catch for the rewarding features is that they cannot fall in love. But Jerome falls for a Pretti Sinclair (Galen Hooks) and now he must make an ultimate decision.

Along with the big ideas for big Ne-Yo expansion, the R&B singer/songwriter is also exploring newer arenas of music. On the album, he contributes “She Is;” a country-pop song featuring production work from Nashville veteran Luke Laird.

The new album, Libra Scale, will once again feature a majority of the production from StarGate and is expected to be released in the U.S. on November 23. Japan, Germany and the UK will get their copies first.

Three singles (“Beautiful Monster,” “Champagne Life,” “One In a Million”) have already been released to radio. “Beautiful Monster” is a Eurodisco dance song with pop tracings, while “Champagne Life” and “One In a Million” focuses deeper on Ne-Yo’s R&B base.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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