Fresh off the new release of Cee Lo’s hit single ‘Fuck You’-I was given the opportunity to speak with him regarding his upcoming album “The Lady Killer”. And he was kind enough to give a look into his soul and the music he loves to make.
Q. Let’s talk about the new single Fuck You! What was the inspiration for that song?
A. Good ole fashion Rock and Roll. I’ve been asked that question a lot since it’s release. So just for the record it is not autobiographical. It is a fictitious account-a tale of trial and error. I was just having some fun.
Q. Did you write the song yourself?
A. Yes, I wrote it along with Bruno Mars who also produced it with his production team The Smeezingtons. It was a collective effort.
Q. Are you surprised at how popular it has become?
A. Yeh…I’m surprised. But the more I listened I guess I see why people like it. I also think that subconsciously we separate ourselves from the storyline and use ‘fuck you‘ as an opportunity to be liberated to fuck whatever is stressing them at the time. It reminds us adults of the golden area when Rock and Roll was illegal and they would only film Elvis from the waist up.
Q. I see in the video kids were used as the main character-was this your idea?
A. We’ll I guess I can take some credit for it. I was presented with a few treatments and I picked this one.
Q. Let’s talk about the new sole album “The Lady Killer”-what can your fans expect?
A. It’s definitely Soul Music. It’s simplistic and sophisticated all at the same time. It’s sense and sensibility…business and pleasure.
Q. I see you described it as Soul as opposed to R&B-do you feel there is a resurgence in Soul Music?
A. R&B had to throw some water onto the oil…you know what I’m sayin’. I don’t do R&B I do Rock and Roll…Rock and Soul. To me using the term-the text of R&B is a bit more passive than I want to be. The name of my album is not “The Lady Saver” it’s “The Lady Killer” you know what I’m saying…this is edge-this is alternative-this is take it-you know what I mean. I’m not asking, begging and pleading please.
And I mean that in terms of industry. My agenda has always been anti-establishment and that is why the song ‘Fuck You’ works and even more so why it works for me. I can’t think of anyone off top who could sing that song and get away with it.
I don’t make music so that a few executives can sit around in the room and say let’s package this as something. That’s what happened with Neo-Soul. I didn’t call it Neo-Soul it’s just raw black soul…it’s my soul in particular. And it speaks to the soul of all of us. It’s a raw black soul being able to communicate to all souls-and I say black because I’m a black man. In many parts of the world Soul is very highly regarded, appreciated and revered…resung-reinterpreted-relived-reanimated all throughout so on and so forth.
Take England, If you go over there now and turn on the radio you’ll hear some Bobby Womack and Etta James in the middle of the day. Which makes me a lot more empathetic with American radio and why all of our history has become novelty-we either have to tune into a novelty station or a some novelty time of night to hear your history-your mothers and fathers singing to you. And the music of this generation has become a product of that environment-like “Lord of the Flies”…you see what I’m trying to say…? So when I say “The Lady Killer” I say that in terms of business…it’s my mission-it must be done.
Even when I say it’s my soul in particular-we have to cultivate and advocate individualism and the industry doesn’t do that. Because when there are too many individuals at one time this is more anarchy than government. So when I say so-it’s an individual account of honesty. Hopefully, if I can make this type of art then optimism amongst executives and artists alike will set in and endorse this type of music.
Q. How do you feel being solo again after working as Gnarls Barkley?
A. Well, technically those albums are solo albums because I am the only vocalist. But we all have partnership.
Q. How did the name Gnarls Barkley come about?
A. It all came about as a joke really. And actually, I didn’t necessarily like the name to begin with.
Danger(Mouse) was sitting around with some friends of his-joking about possible band names-Attention Gnarls, Gnarls in Charge, Bob Narley and Gnarls Barkley stuck. But I got it…it was Rock and Roll…name your band something so absurd it can never be invisible…know what I mean…you can’t miss something that absurd. Then all we have to do is what we do-make good music.
“The Lady Killer” arrives everywhere December 7th.
Can’t wait for his next show in Chicago.