CeeLo Green doesn't want you to forget him.
The five-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter-producer, TV personality, actor and entrepreneur is making his first Quad-Cities appearance Friday, Aug. 30, at The Rust Belt in East Moline.
“I've got a lot of good energy going on. Illinois seemed like a place to share some of those good energies,” Green, a 45-year-old Atlanta native (born Thomas Callaway) said in a recent telephone interview. “I absolutely like to play new places. I hope to have seen the entire world before it's all over. I'm glad that the establishment thought of me; I want to make the biggest impression, want it to be all positive.”
A former coach on NBC's singing competition, “The Voice,” Green is perhaps best known for his worldwide hit “Forget You” (aka “F— You”), which in 2011 earned five Grammy nominations and won “Best Urban/Alternative Performance.”
In 2006, he co-wrote and sang on the soul duo Gnarls Barkley (with Danger Mouse) hit “Crazy,” which reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom and No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its parent album, “St. Elsewhere,” also topped the U.K. Albums Chart; “Crazy” earned two Grammy nods and also won for best urban/alternative performance. Green released his most recent solo album “Heart Blanche” in 2015, which featured singles “Robin Williams,” “Sign of the Times,” “Music To My Soul” and “Work.”
“I like to consider myself an ambassador of arts, music and culture,” he said. “I do my own music, kind of mixed in with cool covers, just an array, an assortment of things. I like to call it 'live Pandora.' I definitely like to showcase music, that area of music that has inspired me. A part of my mantra is music education, to be a bridge. I'm old enough to be an elder statesman in the performing arts.
“I'm multi-faceted; everything I invest attention to, I want to succeed at,” Green said. “I want to do a number of things and do them well. I try not to overextend myself, but as far as being passionate about any one thing in particular, I love to perform. I also love to produce, write, arrange and compose.”
Both of Green's parents were ordained ministers and he started his music career in church. His father died when he was just 2 years old, and his mother, a volunteer firefighter, was in a fatal car accident and died when he was 18.
“I had a really large extended family from church,” he said. “I lived in a really large community of people, jovial and loving. Then television, and music, obviously really helped me get a healthy distraction, helped me keep out of trouble. Between MTV and WWF, I was hooked. I don't think anybody was completely surprised I went into music. I had my first talent shows at home at my grandmother's house.
“By the time the '80s rolled around, I was smack dab in the middle of that, truly the pinnacle of pop culture,” Green said. “I can't think of another era of music that was more effective, introducing us to what was actually global, pop hits. That's a lot of what I aspire to do, is make songs the entire world can sing.”
His mother and grandmother were both very involved in various philanthropic efforts and to continue his family legacy, he and his sister Shedonna launched GreenHouse Foundation in 2012, a nonprofit organization with a mission to help make “green education” easier and accessible to students in underserved school districts.
You have free articles remaining.
“It teaches sustainable living in urban, underprivileged communities. Fundamental tools, like how to grow food, how to farm, also recycling, just being informed about things as they become increasingly important to know,” he said. “Our earth and home is at stake. ... To watch something nurture from the dirt on up is an enriching experience for a child. It's a beautiful learning experience for these kids, gives them a healthy dose of reality, change they can make in the world.”
Green reunited with his original rap group Goodie Mob, after a 15-year hiatus in 2013, to release a new album, “Age Against the Machine.” In 2012, he released a Christmas album, “CeeLo’s Magic Moment,” which featured the single “All I Need is Love” featuring The Muppets, and the album was nominated for a Grammy.
He completed four seasons as a coach on “The Voice,” alongside Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
“What I thought was the most interesting, you have the element of the blind audition, I was able to relate to it,” Green said. “You don't always look the way you sound. You shouldn't be judged on looks. I thought that was really cool.”
“I had an affinity for this, the connection you make with someone's voice,” he said. “It connects with your soul; it's like something that's truly esoteric and metaphysical. There's intangibility about it. What was genuine about the show, it was to have your connection with someone reciprocated.”
On TV, he's made guest appearances on NBC’s “Parenthood” (2011), FOX’s “American Dad” (2011), Nickelodeon’s “How To Rock” (2012), Anger Management (2013) and also hosted his own talk show, “CeeLo Green Talking to Strangers,” on FUSE TV. He appeared in “Sparkle” (2012), which was Whitney Houston’s last film.
Additionally, Green was the voice of “Murray the Mummy” in the Sony animated film “Hotel Transylvania” (2012) along with Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez and Andy Samberg, and he starred in the 2013 film “Begin Again” with Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Catherine Keener.
Green developed his own production company (Emerald Productions) in partnership with his management company Primary Wave Music. The first project on Emerald was a reality-based show documenting the everyday life and happenings of CeeLo and the Goodie Mob called “The Good Life,” which premiered in 2014 on TBS.
He also released his first book, “Everybody’s Brother” in 2013, which told the story of his colorful life to date.
“It's all been monumental,” Green said of his career. “More than I could have expected, more I than could have hoped for, and there's still more that I could do. I look forward to rising to every occasion.”