NEW YORK — Ne-Yo’s first three albums were Grammy Award-nominated, platinum successes. His latest effort, “Libra Scale,” could still be up for a Grammy next year, but it’s miles away from reaching platinum status.
Since its November release, the disc has sold only 277,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks music sales. The CD’s singles – “Beautiful Monster,” “Champagne Life” and “One In a Million” – failed to crack the Top 40.
Ne-Yo says when recording “Libra Scale,” he focused more on the music videos instead of dedicating time to the songs.
“It’s just that I didn’t get to pay as much attention to the music as I normally would because I was so focused on the story line that the album is based off of,” said Ne-Yo, who co-directed the video clips with Wayne Isham. “There was so much energy put into that, that when it came time to put the music together, you know, for one there wasn’t as much time and for two there wasn’t as much energy.”
But Ne-Yo, who stars in the country’s No. 1 movie, said the musical concept was a chance for him to take a risk – and he’s OK with the outcome.
“‘Libra Scale’ was my opportunity to do some things I’ve never done before,” he said. “There are so many firsts (and) I think that had a lot to do with why the album came out the way it did, and I’m not in any way saying that I think the album is bad. I don’t think the album’s bad at all, I think it’s a pretty solid album. … Some people got (and understood) it. Some people didn’t. The majority of people didn’t.”
The 31-year-old hit songwriter says he’s already begun work on a new album, to be released in September.
“I’m stepping back to where it’s just about the music,” he said. “I’m going to let it be just about that, and you determine your own story from there.”
Ne-Yo appears in the alien invasion sci-fi film “Battle: Los Angeles,” which hit No. 1 at the box office over weekend with a $35.6 million debut. He filmed the movie over the summer, when he also was working on “Libra Scale.”
“You know I was kind of back and forth with (both projects),” he said. “It’s almost impossible to take the amount of focus to shoot a film like this and the amount of focus it takes to put an album together and do them at the same time. … I won’t say that was why the `Libra Scale’ album didn’t do as well as I expected it to, but I will say it had a lot to do with me not being able to pay as much attention to the process of putting together the `Libra Scale’ album, you know, because my focus was absolutely in another place in regards to this film.”
Ne-Yo said he was mainly attracted to the role in “Battle: LA,” about a Marine platoon fighting aliens intent on colonizing Earth, because it didn’t require him to use his musical talents. But that didn’t come without challenges.
“The cool thing about a lot of the actors is that everybody kind of wanted to do their own stunts,” said Ne-Yo, who plays Cpl. Kevin Harris in the movie. “Everybody wanted to get in there and get their hands dirty to a fault. I did my own stunts, and I’ve got the bruises and slipped disc to prove it.”