Grammy winner Cee Lo Green is one of superstars who’ll blind-audition singers and vie to mentor them on NBC’s new competition The Voice. On the April 26 premiere, you’ll hear him perform “Crazy” with co-panelists Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine. Here’s his take on the show and his career.
Why did you want to be part of The Voice?
Mark Burnett invited me and I was so flattered and complimented by him thinking I could give some constructive criticism to it. It’s a fresh idea and concept--very positive, productive and proactive.
In a way, the coaches compete too.
There’s kind of a friendly rivalry when we turn around and we’re all in pursuit of one particular artist, who has the free will to choose who they want to be with. That’s awesome for the artist to have that much creative control.
Did you ever think “Forget You” would be such a phenomenon when you wrote it?
No, I didn’t. It’s pretty amazing that this has happened twice in my life, first with “Crazy.” These songs were meant to be anti-establishment and I had no idea that they would be as commercially celebrated as they are.
Are you writing new material?
Music is always forming in my mind. It’s a part of me. If something strikes me, I’ll jot it down and I can record it and work on it later.
Do you feel pressure to top yourself coming off a #1 hit?
Not necessarily. There can only be one #1 at a time. If I can encourage someone else to do something equally great or greater, cool. It’ll come back around for me if I’m diligent and can keep my head on straight. I’m committed to it though, and I won’t give up. Every song isn’t meant to be a radio smash. I would hope that someone could see the work in something that I’ve done that may not get as much attention.
How do you juggle appearances with The Voice since you're touring with Rihanna this summer?
Right now I’m going back and forth overseas. I’ve had to come back for two days and do a couple episodes of The Voice. It’s been very hard. The Rihanna tour will mostly be Stateside so it will be a lot more convenient for me.
The Voice takes looks out of the equation, at least initially. But you’re all about strong visuals. How important is image?
I am not the shortest distance between Point A and Point B. I’m the scenic route. I believe that you should be you, and that the industry should be an advocate of that. I'm here to represent that alternative and I do it with a lot of style. This fashion statement is the only way I can show you I'm playing with a whole other hand here. I want to put a different spin on impossible and make it possible.
The Voice premieres on NBC, tomorrow, April 26th.
(Photo: MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters /Landov)