So much to Cee

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - CAMERON ADAMS

THERE are many words to de­scribe singer Cee Lo Green ( pic­tured).

Hit­maker is one, af­ter F---You be­came one of the most un­avoid­able chart-top­pers of the past year. Ec­cen­tric is an­other. He does this in­ter­view hor­i­zon­tal in a Lon­don ho­tel bed.

And he’s a grand­fa­ther – well, sort of. Green, 37, took on the ti­tle af­ter Sierra, the daugh­ter of his first wife, gave birth last year.

‘‘ Most peo­ple think Sierra is my bi­o­log­i­cal daugh­ter,’’ Green says. ‘‘ She just turned 21 [ and] she has a year-old son called True. That makes me the coolest, new­est, great­est, most ex­cep­tional grandad you’ve ever met.’’ Green first came to at­ten­tion as part of Atlanta rap crew Goodie Mob. He left af­ter be­ing of­fered a solo deal but those al­bums were poor sell­ers. He found a lu­cra­tive side­line, cowrit­ing the Pussy­cat Dolls’ Don’t Cha be­fore a pair­ing with pro­ducer Dan­ger Mouse led to the for­ma­tion of Gnarls Barkley. Their global hit Crazy was deemed a once-in-a-ca­reer event, over­shad­ow­ing any­thing Gnarls Barkley has done since. How­ever, last year Green man­aged a sec­ond once-ina-ca­reer hit with F---You. The song has sold close to four mil­lion down­loads in the US alone. Green per­formed it at the Gram­mys with Gwyneth Pal­trow and some Mup­pet char­ac­ters and at the Brit Awards with Paloma Faith.

‘‘ It has taken me about 18 years to be an overnight suc­cess,’’ Green says. ‘‘ It’s very cool to have a record that peo­ple em­brace as their own, to the point of pur­chase – ‘ This is how much I be­lieve in it, I’m go­ing to buy it’. That’s a com­pli­ment. I can un­der­stand that mu­sic has suf­fered in gen­eral. If I can be some­thing pos­i­tive, to breathe some fresh air in, then so be it.

‘‘ My quest hasn’t been about fame or celebrity, it’s been about suc­cess at full cir­cle.

‘‘ I be­lieve you have to be a suc­cess­ful per­son be­fore you can be a suc­cess­ful per­son­al­ity. You have to be whole. You have to be well-read. There’s no wine be­fore its time. I was in no rush to be fa­mous. I was in a rush to earn my keep, to work to­wards that. I be­lieve I do de­serve this lit­tle piece of it. This isn’t all it has to of­fer, I’m just get­ting started af­ter all this time.’’

While that hit was re­leased in more palat­able ver­sions called FU and For­get You, Green is proud of the sub­ver­sive ‘‘ vic­tory’’ get­ting the ‘‘ F’’ word into a catchy, mil­lion-sell­ing pop tune.

‘‘ I’d go so far to say that so­ci­ety is grow­ing,’’ Green says. ‘‘ My mother told me I’d do some­thing spe­cial with my life. I have that lit­tle ghostly bub­ble like you see on TV that ap­pears in my mind of my [ late] mother. It lets me know she’s nearby and she prob­a­bly has a great deal to do with it.’’

Green recorded an­other ver­sion of the song, Thank You, to raise aware­ness for vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers. The singer’s mother was one of the first black fe­male fire­fight­ers in Atlanta.

The suc­cess of his lat­est solo al­bum, The Lady Killer, and its lat­est hit sin­gle, Bright Lights Big­ger City, has pushed his next pro­ject back. He’s re-formed the Goodie Mob for a new al­bum, where he’ll dust off his rap skills.

There’s also a third Gnarls Barkley al­bum in the pipe­line . . . when he and Dan­ger Mouse can co-or­di­nate their sched­ules.

‘‘ Gnarls is hav­ing an ex­tended hia­tus,’’ Green says. ‘‘ We al­ways en­ter into it to be an al­ter­na­tive. Al­ter­na­tives aren’t for ev­ery­one.’’

While he was deemed an al­ter­na­tive act with Gnarls Barkley, Green is now very much in the main­stream. His lat­est job is ap­pear­ing on hit US TV show The Voice, judg­ing new tal­ent along­side Christina Aguil­era and Ma­roon 5’ s Adam Levine.

‘‘ I’m the same per­son. I’m able to be adapt­able,’’ Green says. ‘‘ I feel right at home around the ec­centrics of the in­die al­ter­na­tive world. I’ve al­ways felt like the pop com­mu­nity has con­sid­ered them­selves maybe not un­con­ven­tional but ex­cep­tional. With that be­ing said, there’s some type of spe­cial­ity that comes along with be­ing able to be in that num­ber. I feel spe­cial. There­fore I be­long in both places.’’

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