Forget killing them with kindness — Cee Lo Green wants to kill you with music.
The singer-rapper-producer’s new CD is titled “The Lady Killer,” and while it has some romantic tunes on it, the title more reflects his approach to connecting with his audience: He’s looking to do it with lethal precision.
“Instead of random gunfire, like, it’s about marksmanship, directly in the center of the cross hairs. POW, single shot, done, clean, from 100 miles away,” he explained a recent interview.
“It’s a side of myself I had yet to showcase — a softer side. And it’s more straightforward and direct, which is synonymous with killer.”
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, the Grammy-winning musician — who also hosts his own show on Fuse TV called “Lay It Down” — talked about his new album and smash hit, “(Expletive) You!”
AP: You’ve gotten a lot of critical love for this new disc. Have you been checking the reviews?
Cee Lo: I have quite a bit of it sent to me. So yeah, I’m up on the popular opinion of the album. … I feel so fortunate — all warm and tingly.
AP: Are you a perfectionist when it comes to making music?
Cee Lo: I’m becoming more of, not a perfectionist, but a practitioner, meaning I’m getting more involved in the technical aspect of it. When I really took the leap was with Gnarls Barkley’s “Odd Couple.” … See, the music I do has a very humane kind of quality. … Life isn’t perfect and I do believe that there’s funk in the flaw. So a lot of it I let it be simply because, I mean, this is only recently I’ve begun to be my own worst critic. Earlier in my career I let so many things go, and I look back in some regret because I probably could have done better, but it’s the most honest the first time around.
AP: Why are you so critical about yourself now?
Cee Lo: I guess because I know better. I’ve experienced more, you know. I’m a lot more involved and enthusiastic and in control and so, you know, I aspire to master that feel and that aspect of my own personal art. … So I have a very genuine concern about how it’s perceived and the production and fine-tooth combing every intricate detail.
AP: When you write songs, are they coming from personal situations or ideas and dreams?
Cee Lo: It’s not a whole truth, the story line that is. It just depends. Not everything is biographical. Some things are third-person. Some things are vicarious, other things are cathartic.
AP: “Forget You” was released on iTunes a month after the song went viral. Did you and the label think of releasing it once the song was everywhere?
Cee Lo: No. We had to kind of react after “Forget You” was released. It was such an immediate, overwhelming response. Far behind my own personal expectations, you know. I think I speak on behalf of almost everyone to say that it just surpasses what we could have imagined. … A song entitled as such, again, I could’ve more easily assumed where it wouldn’t work as opposed to where it would, you know.
AP: How does it feel to see Gwyneth Paltrow perform the song on “Glee” and similar happenings?
Cee Lo: Tubular (laughs). It’s awesome man. What do you think? From Gwyneth Paltrow to William Shatner to the numerous many versions and covers and parodies on the Internet, on YouTube, it’s like, “Wow.” It’s phenomenal, it’s humbling and it’s empowering all at the same time. It’s awesome in the literal sense of the word and I’m just very fortunate, very lucky, very blessed. It’s all that anyone could ask for. It’s more than enough incentive to keep going.
AP: What else would you like to do in your career?
Cee Lo: I had an interest in graphic art (and) in illustration. So I would probably try my hand at that. Photography, architecture or interior design or something that has to do with style.
AP: Do you watch a lot of HGTV?
Cee Lo: I don’t watch a lot of TV period. Not even my own show (laughs).