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CeeLo Green is one of the musician coaches in NBC's singing competition series "The Voice." He also stars in TBS's reality docu-series "The CeeLo Life."

CeeLo Green is a singer-songwriter, rapper, producer, actor and one of the busiest men in show business. He recently received five 2011 Grammy nominations for his worldwide hit "Forget You" (aka "F—- You"), winning the category for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. His new talk show, "Talking to Strangers," premiered on Fuse TV in June 2011.

Green first came onto the music scene in 1995 as a member of the hip-hop group Goodie Mob. They released their debut album, "Soul Food," which shot them to the top of the emerging Southern rap scene. Goodie Mob released two more albums, "Still Standing" and "World Party," and recently returned to the studio to record a new album.

After Green's success with Goodie Mob, he reinvented himself and formed Gnarls Barkley with DJ-producer Danger Mouse, releasing the chart-topping hit "Crazy" in 2006. He then turned his focus to his solo career, resulting in the acclaimed 2010 album "The Lady Killer." He is presently in the studio working on a new solo album featuring covers of his favorite classic songs, as well as a new Goodie Mob album.

There can be no doubt that people are talking about CeeLo Green—that his is a name on the lips of millions of music fans. But are they talking about CeeLo in the right way, for the right reasons? Mention his name to most people and they'll likely say, "Sure, that American bloke who had that song, 'Crazy,' first single to go to No.1 on downloads alone," or, "He was in that band, whadya call 'em, two dudes, dressed up as female film stars?" Or, "Oh, got ya, he's that fella with the tattoos on his face, bald head, big teeth, has that cool new song called F*** You, right?" By the end of this year, we will no doubt be able to add to such remarks variations on, "You bought that CeeLo guy's new album, 'The Lady Killa'? No? Well, you need to."

Nothing wrong with those responses; nothing at all. For, yes, CeeLo did indeed co-write, and sing, the biggest song of 2006: Gnarls Barkley's aforementioned "Crazy," a track that managed to sneak over the threshold of the Top 40 a lyric about mental illness and depression, to the sweetest of pop-soul melodies. And, yes, he and his Gnarls cohort Danger Mouse did show a remarkable penchant for dressing up in the weirdest wigs and costumes the wardrobe department could fling at them. And, yes again, not content with having one of the most successful singles of the 21st century so far, CeeLo is bidding for a second gargantuan piece of the action. "F*** You" is shaping up to be 2010's most controversial, most blogged-about, most viewed, most listened-to, most undeniable song.

So what's the problem? Well, none, as such. It's just that, welcome and justified and understandable though all the chatter is, there is one thing that keeps being overlooked. One thing you rarely, if ever, hear when CeeLo's name comes up in conversation. Like: the man's a singer. Search high and low through the endless CeeLo CVs, features and reviews online and you'll be lucky to come up with more than a handful that make any reference whatsoever to what is arguably the Man from Atlanta's most crucial, heartbreaking and indisputable gift: he sings like an angel and the devil combined. Or, put another way: CeeLo's is the greatest male voice in American music today.

Says who? Well, says any long-time fan of the man who, let's not forget, contributed far more than just his trademark rat-a-tat-tat raps to Goodie Mob, the Southern-rap pioneers with whom he first made his name. Note, if you will, that the Goodie's 1995 debut album—the instant, copper-bottomed classic, Soul Food—opens with the modern-day spiritual, Free. Featuring, significantly, a honey-dewed, drop-deal vocal from a certain CeeLo Green. Note, too, how the vocal hooks on the group's subsequent releases were by and large helmed by CeeLo: it was as if, long, long before "Crazy," he had an itch that was demanding to be scratched. You can hear him attending to it on his two solo albums to date—albums that fans cherish to this day, but which remain scandalously, no, unforgivably, underrated. "CeeLo Green and his Perfect Imperfections" (2002) and, two years later, "CeeLo Green ... Is the Soul Machine," offer tantalizing hints of what he would later achieve, initially with Gnarls on two exceptional—and exceptionally daring and experimental—psychedelic pop-soul albums, "St. Elsewhere" and "The Odd Couple." And on a record that provides the ultimate proof, the final, irrefutable evidence, of CeeLo's importance as a 21st-century recording artist: "The Lady Killa." The album CeeLo was destined to make. The album that will seal his rep not only as a writer, producer and performer of unrivaled pizzazz, chutzpah, inventiveness and genius, but as a singer whose voice can nail an emotion—be it pain, yearning, anger, sarcasm, love, lust, frustration—like no other. CeeLo Green stands alone.

Listen to "Wildflower" or "I Want You," two songs of heart-stopping tenderness and longing. Or future single "Cry Baby," a summer breeze of a song whose melodic lushness and optimism utterly belie the sentiment it expresses. Or "Bodies," a Chad Hugo co-production that sets CeeLo's film-noir lyric to an appropriately ghostly backing, all sinuous guitar and military-tattoo percussion. Or "Better Late," which dives into the sound archives to glory in the best of Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Billy Joel and the Spinners, the base upon which CeeLo sprinkles his vocal gold dust. And listen, too, to "F*** You" (as if you haven't already, hundreds of times). And ask yourself this: chuckle-inducing profanity aside, has there ever been a more uncompromising, more defiantly sung I'm-so-over-you pop song? Why do we believe in that defiance? Because CeeLo sings it like he means it.

That conviction is all over "The Lady Killa." (And all over the "Lady Killa" mixtape album "Stray Bullets"—an offshoot release of a quality most full studio albums don't even come close to.) But good songs are one thing. As the whole of history of pop demonstrates, they ain't nothing without the vocal. And in 2010, vocals don't come any greater, any more visceral, any more "On Fire," than CeeLo Green's. He's been working up to this album his whole life. This is what he's on the planet for: to throw back his head, open his lungs, and let rip. Equipped with a once-in-a-generation voice, CeeLo hasn't just made the song of the year, or even just the album of the year (though he's made both of those). On "The Lady Killa," he's made the album of his life.

CeeLo Green, then. Superstar, yes. Wildly original talent, undoubtedly. Definitive talisman of modern pop-soul, certainly. But more, much more than these: singer. That's what we're talking about.




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CEELO GREEN: FACTS

How tall is CeeLo Green? How old is CeeLo Green? Find out here.

Age: 39 years old
Birthday: May 30, 1975
Height: 5' 6 ½"
Nickname: Thomas Burton
Full Name / Real Name: Thomas DeCarlo Callaway
Birthplace: Atlanta, GA
Wife: Christina Johnson





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