CeeLo Green is one of the greatest singers and songwriters in the world with many and great awards and accolades, unique collaborations that any artist would envy and a lot of positive energy which you can feel through his work, both in the music industry and in television.
With great sincerity, he shares with us his deepest thoughts and feelings about the lockdown during this global pandemic due to COVID-19 and his positive attitude “rules” each of his answers. In addition, CeeLo Green is preparing his upcoming studio album, entitled “CeeLo Green Is… Thomas Callaway”. What’s the story behind it, and why did he choose to introduce himself, Thomas Callaway, through its title?
His music career could be described as a “treasure” and his collaborations with other artists are numerous, but who is the great singer that he considers as “his sister”? Continuing on this “path”, through his new album, he presents his collaboration with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, with whom he already had a history. What does the song “Crazy” mean to him and what are his upcoming plans with the old-but-gold projects Gnarls Barkley and Goodie Mob?
In the end, CeeLo Green shares with us his motto in life and his thoughts about his next professional moves. If you want to know everything he told us through this interesting interview, you can read it below!
Hello and welcome to SounDarts.gr. What have you been up to these days?
As you know, we’re all in quarantine at the moment and this in non negotiable. It does not exempt anyone so we’re all connected in this way. It’s very interesting but it’s also very inspiring for me individually as an artist. I’ve been creating to maintain and pass the time and do something constructive with the opportunity. That’s what I’ve been doing.
What are your feelings about this global pandemic due to COVID-19 and what is your message to the people?
My message is always keep the faith and faith is fundamentally an intelligence stemmed from an emotion and notion knowing that all is well and this too shall pass, so remain optimistic and appreciative of the day and the breath of life that you’re aiming to breathe in at this moment and persevere.
Despite the difficulties we are experiencing, do you think that something good will come out of this situation?
Yes! YOU are the good that should come out of this situation. You should come out more improved, more enlightened, more informed, more evolved. You should represent the good that comes out of this situation.
Recently you released your first single “Lead Me” from your next full length album. Is there any special story behind its writing?
“Lead Me” is a love song obviously but it mended itself to the circumstances that we’re currently living in. It’s an opportunity to be inspired and moved in an emotional way toward a more constructive and positive attitude and in a more humble state of being. We’re all having a moment of humanity and we all need guidance and so “Lead Me” is essentially a prayer to the universe to guide us.
Your upcoming album is called “CeeLo Green Is…Thomas Callaway”. Why did you choose an introduction of your real self as the title for this album? Does it mean that it’s going to be the most personal album of yours till now?
No I wouldn’t say that. Not in terms of the content. Theoretically everything that I’ve done is very intimate and personal. This titling is just symbolic of a time period, a mark in my professional career and a mark of distinction just to say that “Thomas Callaway writes the songs that CeeLo Green performs”. So Thomas Callaway is the person and CeeLo Green is the personality.
What should we expect form this release?
Expect the same high vibration as “Lead Me”. Also just expect yet another layer been put back and another reveal and reincarnation of your old friend CeeLo Green as he presents a new offering in this time, five years later from his last release. Expect a little bit of growth but also expect the same level of consistency and quality.
How did you and The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach came to collaborate on this project?
We have history and a friendship and then we decided to take this opportunity to collaborate and go into the studio. It started out very casual and then it began to take shape and conceptualize. It became a product of that environment and a solid body of work.
Your first album “CeeLo Green and his perfect imperfections” was released back in 2002. In what ways do you feel that your music/songwriting has evolved through the last 18 years?
I’ve definitely improved a great deal in my aesthetic, in my approach, in my confidence. It’s the same capacity to create. My aim and scope has broadened. There’s more eyes on it which means I have to embrace more accountability. My music is far reaching and I want to satisfy and serve that large population of people who come inside that emotion of what they need from it. So when people purchase music there’s an enquiry, there’s a skepticism but is also a seeking of a knowledge or a feeling or an outlet of escapism so people need different things from music and I try to provide those qualities in music.
How about your other musical projects, Gnarls Barkley and Goodie Mob? Is there anything new coming towards us from these projects?
Yes there is actually. We’re working on another Goodie Mob album as we speak, as well as Gnarls Barkley. My logistical disposition contractually has allowed me the flexibility to do multiple things at once which is perfect for me because I’m ambitious.
Is there any of your songs that holds a special place in your heart and if yes why?
“Crazy” from Gnarls Barkley is one of those songs because it means so much to people and people mean so much to me. It is the grandest reciprocation of love I’ve ever experienced. Who wouldn’t be a little selfish about that magnitude of love? You want that kind of love all the time. That’s very significant to me and then also Goodie Mob’s “Cell Therapy” which has taken on a new life as-of-late and people are rediscovering Goodie Mob. Even for you to mention Goodie Mob, some people don’t date that far back to my history and know exactly where I started from, but yes we’re also living in a significant time as far as the content that we created together as well.
Since we’re talking about your first steps I want to ask about one of my favorite songs. I’m referring to “Do You like the Way” with Carlos Santa and Lauryn Hill which was released back in 1999. How do you recall this collaboration?
Lauryn Hill was a long-time friend of mine, she’s like a sister to me and she reached out to me to be a part of it. She was one of the earliest fellow artists to recognize my voice and my potential. I went to the studio with her and I sang it very casually not knowing that it would become what it did. Then I looked back at in retrospect with great appreciation and a feeling of fortunate because it was largely successful and very pivotal in my personal and professional life.
You have also collaborated with a lot of great artist like Pharrell, Bruno Mars, Christina Aguilera, Rod Stewart etc. Is there any collaboration of yours that stands out for you and why?
Well they all do because they all came about by a way of personal relationships, camaraderie and admiration for each other so anybody that has reached out for me I take as a compliment and a high regard and I’m always inclined to contribute my best.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you while working on stage?
I’ve slipped and fallen on stage a couple of times. I got engaged to my fiancé in the studio… Τhis is not necessarily weird but it’s cool.
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice what would it be and why?
To stay gold and stay forever young and I’ve taken that advice. I’m still very much young at heart. And I don’t look bad either I’ve maintained a great deal with just a healthy attitude toward life. Οf course I have the luxury and advantage to do what I love for a living and with that being said I haven’t worked a day in my life. Because I love it so much, that’s what I mean, but physically is always a very demanding task it’s a labor of love though.
Your work has earned numerous awards and accolades, including five Grammy Awards, a BET Award, a Billboard Award, and a Brit Award. Could these honors really help the career of any artist somehow?
I would say it’s helpful in some regard but you only acquire an honor after you have done the heavy lifting. I don’t know if it makes it any easier because then your next task to re-qualify is probably gonna be even heavier now that you have associated scrutiny of such a high regard and then you have to maintain a certain bar, a quality. As long as you’re up for the challenge you may win multiple Grammys like me.
Have you ever been in our country?
Only in my dreams.
What do you know about Greece?
I was in a Greek restaurant the other day and they were showing some drone footage of Athens and all of that beautiful history. I would love to come and see it and experience it first hand. I would love to come and perform for a large audience and bring joy and good vibrations to the people in Greece. Τhen eat a gyro-wrap with tzatziki sauce -because I love those, they’re my favorite- and spanakopita… I’m telling you I know what I want baby.
What are your next professional plans?
I don’t really know. I’m just gonna go with the flow and try to lead and be led by example. I’ll just try to be a really good example of what’s positive.
What is your motto in life? (see CeeLo’s answer in the video below)
Interview: Theodore Kolliopoulos