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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Cee Lo Green on ‘VH1 Storytellers’ May 20

CREDIT: VH1

CREDIT: VH1

Atlanta’s Cee Lo Green is having a very very good year. He has an unlikely Grammy-nominated hit in “F-You.” He is a coach on the surprise NBC hit show “The Voice.”

Now he’s getting his very own “VH1 Storytellers,” which airs Friday, May 20 at 11 p.m. and will certainly repeat multiple times after that.

True, he doesn’t have the catalog of hits many other subjects have had such as Christina Aguilera or John Mayer. But he’s an interesting guy with interesting stories along with good music.  And that makes for a fun hour.

Here’s a quick teaser of what you’ll see:

Dressed in all white under three disco balls and wearing jewel-encrusted sunglasses, he opens with  his collaboration with Danger Mouse “Crazy” as part of Gnarls Barkley from 2006. This was his first mainstream hit and is still a staple on radio and karaoke bars worldwide.

He then breaks into the story-telling part. He grew up in Southwest Atlanta Georgia, “a place where the limitations were obvious and outlets were very very few.” He noted how he joined Southern hip-hop group Goodie Mob. He said he did this not for fame or fortune but for fun. “I considered us activists,” he said. “We were fighting for the civil rights of Southern hip hop.”

He brought several of his Mob buddies on stage and sang “Soul Food,” the group’s second out of three top 10 rap hit from the 1995-96 era.

Green noted that his mom died just before that album and he was able to dedicate the record to her just in time. He then sang a song dedicated to her called “She Knows” from his less-celebrated second Gnarls Barkley album. “My mother saved my soul with her life,” he said. “I took on my mother’s spirit and her good work.” She had been in an accident and was a quadriplegic for three years before she died.

Next, he sang a sad Gnarls Barkley song “Who’s Gonna Save My Soul,” which is about the passing of James Brown in 2006 and a broader sense of regret and loss. “James Brown is my father. Do you know what I mean when I say that?  I got guidance. I got style. I got approach. I got integrity… he taught me to dance, too.”

He then played his current single “Bright Lights, Bigger City,” dedicated for regular folks who deserve to party on weekends. “The appreciation for Friday and Saturday is timeless,” he said.

Here’s something I had no idea about: he wrote and produced the Pussycat Dolls‘ “Don’t Cha.” So he played a portion of it in his slinky soulful way, not the dance-pop way. And he switches the gender, of course so it’s “Don’t cha wish your boyfriend was a freak like me.”

He spent a year recording “Lady Killer” in Los Angeles. He started working with Bruno Mars and Philip Lawrence. AT first, it was so uncomfortable, he got up to go to the bathroom but left instead. Another tidbit: Bruno’s break-out solo hit  “Just the Way You Are” was first meant for him but it didn’t fit him.

Last year, Green was dragging his feet with his album. The label wasn’t happy and pressured him to release something, anything. “I was a little upset and irritated,” he said. So he worked up F-You, meant as a message to the label. Instead, it became a massive hit after he posted it on the Web, much to his surprise. He does a stripped-down version without the back-up singers.

He doesn’t consider himself and R&B singer but more a classic “soul” singer. So he sings his tune “Old Fashioned,” which sounds like a nugget from a 1970s soul record.

And as a capper, he ends with pretty, trumpet-infused morsel called “Satisfied.” Satisfied, indeed!

On TV
“VH1 Storytellers: Cee Lo Green”

11 p.m. Friday, May 20

14 comments Add your comment

trystme

May 20th, 2011
10:06 am

Awesome, can’t wait to see it.

Marty

May 20th, 2011
1:49 pm

Why do his sunglasses always look like he bought them at the Dollar General store?

kat

May 20th, 2011
4:13 pm

randy, i have luved him for years!! thx for letting us know about this, u are the best!

poet

May 20th, 2011
4:34 pm

I see you riding
‘Round town with the girl I love
And I’m like haiku

Hmmmmm.....

May 20th, 2011
4:57 pm

WOW, didn’t know this was airing…I will definitely watch this.

iHEARTceelo

May 20th, 2011
6:50 pm

The lady killer can have this lady ANYTIME!!!

downsouth

May 20th, 2011
8:53 pm

Goodie M.O.B. means GOOD DIE Mostly Over Bull$hit, and they are part of the Dungeon Family. dirty south ba-bee

James

May 21st, 2011
12:23 am

I watched it and I enjoyed it I’m a huge fan of Cee-Lo Green.

Al Perez

May 21st, 2011
12:25 am

I am a 59 y/o old school vocalist who was going thru a personal crises about my music and where it was or wasn’t going. Then my ex got me to listen to Forget You. I had to hear more. And there He was on vh1. I now know that what I “hear” in my head. I cried I was so inspired by that voice, the music, the words and the genuine joy of watching a great artist do the things he did. Thank You for restoring my faithin ME>

Here We Go

May 22nd, 2011
5:01 am

@Al Perez,

As a long-struggling vocalist who has had a love/hate affair with the direction of my musical aspirations over the years, I can totally relate to your frustration. I am so happy that your faith in your talent has been restored. Never give up on your dreams!

john smith

May 22nd, 2011
8:22 am

carlaroqs

May 23rd, 2011
11:57 am

wow, you guys are kind of deep. i love cee-lo’s music and wish him the best.

duninnc

May 23rd, 2011
10:17 pm

He probably can buy any kind of sunglasses he want. I doubt if they came from the dollar store.

Two Left Feet

May 25th, 2011
3:46 am

Cee-lo is the truth. i am happy that is finally realizing the commercial success his talent deserves. A fan since the Goodie M.O.B days and forever more.

Can you believe that he was once so upset about his music direction or lack or that he consider suicide. What a blessing it is that he snapped out of that and gave us even greater music.

rock on Cee-lo Green. We love you man.