Interview: Ne-Yo on his next album, playing in Japan, where he sleeps

Forget those rumors you”ve heard about Ne-Yo”s fifth studio album being called “Love & Passion.” He set the record straight for us when we ran into him recently. “It doesn”t have a name yet. But be looking for it in September,” he says. “I”m putting it together as we speak.”

Ne-Yo is collaborating with a number of fellow musicians, producers and songwriters on the set, including Tricky, Ryan Leslie and Stargate. As far as guest artists, it”s still unclear. “I don”t know what I”m doing for features yet, but talking with a bunch of people. We”ll see what happens in the long run.”

Don”t look for Ne-Yo to chase trends on the new set, his follow-up to “Libra Scale.” “I wasn”t trying to find the next hot new thing with this album. I went in with traditional R&B, traditional pop music, music that feels good. That”s what this whole album is about. Music that feels good.”

Unlike a number of artists who have postponed appearances in Japan following the devastating earthquake, Ne-Yo kept his commitments there and played a series of shows in late March. “To be completely honest with you, if you didn”t know something had just happened over there, you wouldn”t know. Their spirits are so high. All the shows went over fantastic. We raised a bunch of money for a good cause and it felt good.”

He says he never contemplating not going. “I felt like for me to back out of it at that time, it would have been absolutely wrong. That”s the time when they need music and a reason to smile and a reason to be happy the most. What kind of artist would I be, especially  since they”ve been so supportive of my career this whole time, to back out of them in their time of need?”

In other Ne-Yo news, he recently told the Associated Press that he”d inked a deal with The Cartoon Network for an animated series called “I Heart Tuesdays,” about a 16-year old girl who has to save the world every week.

He also keeps acting. Following his stint as a killer in a recent episode of “CSI: NY,” as well as a role in  “Battle: Los Angeles,” look for him in George Lucas”s “Red Tails,” a film about the famed Tuskegee airmen. The movie comes out in February.

So it seemed only logical to ask when Ne-Yo finds time to sleep. The answer was up in the air: “On airplanes. That”s the only time I can sleep and I never have any problems. The second my ass touches the seat, I”m gone.”