Cee-Lo Green Talks About Music And NBC’s “The Voice”

HollywoodNews.com: This summer, NBC is taking on American Idol with their own search for the next great superstar singer. On The Voice, they have some superstar singers ready to mentor aspiring singers in their beginning careers, including Christina Aguilera, Cee-Lo Green and Blake Shelton. Cee-Lo Green was at NBC’s summer press day to discuss his role on The Voice.

“Besides the fact that I was cordially invited by a good friend of mine, I was so flattered, and so just complimented by him asking me thinking that I could even give some kind of constructive criticism or some type of contribution to it,” Green said. “That really compelled me to want to be a part of it despite all of the many things that we’re trying to juggle.  I mean, we were here in Los Angeles trying to make the most of a few opportunities that had been presenting themselves.”

With a successful recording and performing career taking up most of his time, it had to be something special for Green to add The Voice to his schedule. “Just on paper it seemed as if it could be done, and it’s a great, fresh idea and concept. It’s something very positive and productive and proactive, and that’s something that I would like to consider myself and would love to be a part of and be a part of that positive energy. It’s very, very positive, and I just think it’s a good space to be in creatively, and consumer-wise it’s a nice move for me, too.”

Simon Cowell had previously offered Green a role on his American version of The X-Factor. The Voice was more appealing to Green. “Quite honestly, I was unfamiliar with the concept of X Factor. I knew the name. I know the parties involved, but as an enterprise I didn’t see where it was distinctive enough, and quite honestly I felt like prior to that, American Idol and these other entities had run their course.  Tthis was of course prior to the new casting with Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, and they actually have done a great job because I’m a fan of Steven as well, so they have actually turned that show around and done a great job which is great for us because not only do we have a competitive spirit amongst ourselves, we’ll compete with these other shows as well, and I like this one better.”

The format of The Voice is that all three artist mentors are sitting with their backs to the stage. If they like the performer, they can push a button to turn their chair around and see the singer. Green looks forward to embracing the unique voices and personalities he discovers when his chair turns around.

“I’m most fearful about the repercussion of not following my heart. I have been fortunate enough to have an 18-year career, make an 18-year career out of being myself. I’m very proud of that accomplishment and it is advice that I would pass on. I believe that you should be you. I believe that the industry itself should be an advocate of that, that it should be an endorser of that and so I’m here to represent that alternative and that coexistence.  I do it with a lot of style and sometimes, instead of me saying, ‘Hey, I’m exceptional.  I’m trying to tell you,’ this fashion statement is the only way I can kind of just show you, listen, I’m playing with a whole other hand here. This can be done.  So I really want to put a different spin on impossible and make it I Am Possible.”

Unlike American Idol, The Voice doesn’t revel in rejecting singers. “I believe that this show does curate career, as opposed to critique and cancel out.  Like everybody, there’s validity in all expression, and we have been very fortunate enough and it’s been a very pleasant experience to have so much talent all together, so there were hardly any losers.  There were no losers. I’m not sure if I could have sung or stood in line with 20 other thousand people and them notice me or consider me. There’s nothing convenient. I am not the shortest distance between Point A and Point B.  I am the scenic route. I picked this show because I don’t believe that it’s imperative to be ideal in any kind of way.”

The first impression Green will get is the voice itself. However, as soon as he turns around, he can get ideas about the singer’s image and presentation too. “I believe that it’s the song.  Of course it’s the voice.  It’s the experience.  It’s the genuineness, the sincerity, the conviction that you commit to it that is an intangible acquired.  Like you cannot be ignored, cannot be denied.  So I do believe you must have that.  You must have had to have lived those words.”

Green is ready to think outside his own box too. He won’t just be listening for hip hop artists like himself, nor will Shelton only look for country acts.

“Ultimately we are all fans of music.  Forever we are fans, and I believe that this opportunity is also to preserve. It’s an act of preservation of industry, of entertainment, of expression of art, of invention, of individual individuality, so I think it’s very important to curate new talent and to expose it, to endorse it, to advocate it, to encourage it. It just caters to the lifespan of our industry.  We support the very thing that we want to support us as well, and so we’re fans of these people or they make very quick fans of us.”

The Voice premieres Tuesday, April 26 on NBC.

Photo by PRPhotos

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