You always hear about artistic differences between artists and record labels, but if Cee-Lo Green knows anything, if you have the right song a label will back anything. He should know -- he’s the guy who presented Elektra with a song called "F**k You." According to him, they didn’t even bat an eyelash.
“I've been giving my label a lot of credit,” he says from the penthouse of a posh boutique hotel in Toronto. “There was just a unanimous ‘Yes’ about this record, all throughout the building as soon as they heard it. With a title like that you can safely assume where it wouldn't work as opposed to where it would, but they never gave up on this record.”
Of course, a compromise was made in order to achieve this success. His label felt the song’s title and chorus would need to be cleaned up for mass consumption. But Cee-Lo was more than willing to co-operate.
“Initially we did all of these alternative versions like Forget You, Eff You, I Could Have Loved You, Bump You, so we were prepared,” he explains. “My credibility and integrity are intact,” he says. “There is a younger, adolescent audience that we would like to have as much of our material accessible to. But there's still the original, explicit version for adults.”
This treaty between artist and label has made Cee-Lo one of the most ubiquitous artists of 2010. Having previously tasted success both as an MC with Southern hip-hop crew Goodie Mob and a singer in the Danger Mouse collaboration Gnarls Barkley, The Lady Killer, his first new solo album in almost seven years, finds the booming crooner at his most accessible.
Cee-Lo says returning to his solo work just happened.
“It's simply carrying on,” he says. “There was no extended agenda, there's just more music in me. This particular creative direction I had yet to showcase, this more sensitive, sexual, romantic side. And I thought it was the right thing to do.”