Cee Lo Green is a singer-songwriter who has found success as frontman of the duo Gnarls Barkley and as a solo artist, and has appeared as a judge on The Voice.
Born in 1974 in Atlanta, Georgia, Cee Lo Green made a name for himself with the Atlanta hip-hop group Goodie Mob before going solo in 2002. Between solo records, Cee Lo teamed up with Danger Mouse in 2005 to form the duo Gnarls Barkley. Back on the scene with a new solo album in 2010, the singer-songwriter hit the top of the charts in an unlikely fashion with the single "F— You," which was an instant hit. In 2011, Cee Lo began his run as a judge/coach on the hit show The Voice. He left the series the following year, after three seasons, but announced plans to return for season 5.
Early Life and Career
Cee Lo Green was born Thomas DeCarlo Callaway in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 30, 1974. In the early 1990s, Cee Lo and three others started the hip-hop group Goodie Mob, releasing their first album, Soul Food, in 1995. Cee Lo both rapped and sang with Goodie Mob, a double duty that was seldom undertaken in the hip-hop world at the time. The band released its last album in 1999.
In 2002, Cee Lo launched his solo career with the album Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections. The album didn't sell well, and its 2004 follow-up, Cee-Lo Green… Is the Soul Machine, similarly failed to impress.
Cee Lo went on to form a collaboration entitled Gnarls Barkley with Danger Mouse, and the duo released their first album together, St. Elsewhere, in 2006. The album's first single, "Crazy," quickly became a major international smash, debuting at No. 1 on the U.K. download chart, where it stayed for 11 weeks. "Crazy" was also named Rolling Stone's No. 1 song of the decade, as well as the magazine's No. 100 song of all time.
Cee Lo has described the music of Gnarls Barkley as "electric industrial Euro soul." In 2008, Gnarls Barkley released a second album, The Odd Couple, which met with mixed reviews—while reviewers liked the work, it received far less commercial attention than its predecessor.
Return to Solo Career
Returning to solo mode, Cee Lo released the single "F— You" on August 10, 2010, online, where it became an instant hit, receiving more than 2 million hits in less than a week. (The album on which the song appeared, The Lady Killer, was released in November 2010). "F— You" soon made its debut at No. 1 on the U.K. charts, and went on to garner five Grammy Award nominations. Reworked into the more radio-friendly "Forget You," the song was propelled to even greater heights.
Cee Lo went on to appear as a judge/coach on the reality television show The Voice, which debuted on NBC on April 26, 2011. Cee Lo starred alongside fellow music industry figures Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine on the show, which was a hit with audiences from the start. After three seasons on The Voice, in 2012, Cee Lo announced that he was taking a break from the series. According to the musician, he plans to return as a judge for the show's fifth season: "I'm going on hiatus," he explained on the Today show in December 2012. "I'm doing a Las Vegas residency next year." Filling in for Cee Lo for season 4 of The Voice was R&B singer-songwriter Usher. Christina Aguilera, who also took a break from the show after its third season in 2012, was replaced by Latin pop singer Shakira.
Around the time he left The Voice, Cee Lo released a holiday album called CeeLo's Magic Moment. The recording did well on the R&B and holiday music charts. In 2013, he released a duet with Lauriana Mae called "Only You." Cee Lo reunited with the Goodie Mob for the album Age Against the Machinethat same year.
In June 2013, Cee Lo announced that he would return to The Voice for its fifth season. Christina Aguilera will also be back.
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