Ne-Yo just dropped his first album in 4 years, and he says the hiatus is largely because COVID took a massive toll on his emotional state and creativity.

The R&B singer joined “TMZ Live” Friday to talk all about his 8th studio album, titled “Self Explanatory” … an album that was put on the back burner when the pandemic hit. Ne-Yo says music was not on his mind nearly as much as survival — the survival of his family.

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He says even after quarantine was lifted, it took time getting the “funk” removed from his psyche.

The album does not reference COVID … he says he has nothing new to offer since we all went through it. Ditto the Black Lives Matter movement … he says it has been so well-documented that the album would not move the ball forward.

The album is much more about his personal life … especially the ups and downs he experienced with his marriage.

Ne-Yo has been in an on-again, off-again marriage to his wife, Crystal Renay. You’ll recall, the two got remarried in Vegas back in April … nearly 2 years after she filed for divorce and then withdrew the petition.

All 13 songs on “Self Explanatory” are available now.

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