Childhood & Early Life
CeeLo Green was born as Thomas DeCarlo Callaway on May 30, 1974, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was introduced to music in the church, as his parents were ordained ministers. While his father died when he was two, his mother died after she got paralyzed in a car crash when he was 18.
He graduated from Riverside Military Academy high school, a boarding school in Georgia. Before going to the boarding school, he had got involved in gang activities.
CeeLo Green, along with his friends Big Gipp, Khujo, and T-Mo, started the hip-hop group ‘Goodie Mob’; Green was the youngest member in the group. He had just started a career with Goodie Mob when his mom expired, pushing him into deep depression. He often wrote about his depression in his songs.
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CeeLo Green sang ‘Call of da Wild’ and ‘Git Up, Git Out’ as part of ‘Goodie Mob’ in OutKast's debut album ‘Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik’ in 1994.
In 1995, Goodie Mob released its debut album, ‘Soul Food’. Green wrote about his mother in the song ‘Guess Who’ featured in the album. The album is remembered for featuring a distinctive soulful sound by production team Organized Noize. In the same year, Green contributed vocals to TLC's hit song ‘Waterfalls’.
In 1998, the group released its second album, ‘Still Standing’. It was also commercially successful, though not as much as their previous work. Their next album ‘World Party’ was released in 1999.
In 1999, he left the group to pursue a solo career under Arista Records. The same year, he contributed to ‘Supernatural’, a studio album by rock band Santana. Along with Lauryn Hill, he provided the lead vocals.
His first solo album with Arista, ‘Cee-Lo Green and His Perfect Imperfections’ was released in 2002. His second solo album under Arista, ‘Cee-Lo Green... Is the Soul Machine’ was released in 2004. The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart.
However, his stint with Arista was short-lived; he was dropped after just two albums as he could not garner commercial success.
Next, Green and DJ Danger Mouse formed a duo called ‘Gnarls Barkley’. In 2006, they released their first album, ‘St. Elsewhere’. Its first single, ‘Crazy,’ was a big hit, peaking at No. 1 on the UK chart and remaining there for 11 weeks.
In 2008, the duo released the second album, ‘The Odd Couple’, which received a mixed reaction—while reviews were positive, the album failed to achieve commercial success.
In 2010, he took a break from working with Danger Mouse, and launched a solo single titled ‘Fuck You!’ in August which became a huge hit. The radio-edit version ‘Forget You’ also reached the top spot in the UK and the Netherlands, and reached at No, 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song appeared in the album ‘The Lady Killer’ which was launched in November 2010. ‘Fool for You’ from the same album was also a hit.
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His first mixtape, ‘Stray Bullets’, was released in October 2010, which was certified Gold in the UK.
In April 2011, Green was featured as a judge and coach on the reality television show ‘The Voice’. In 2012, after three seasons, he took a break from ‘The Voice’. But he appeared in season five before leaving the show permanently.
During that period, he released a holiday album, ‘CeeLo's Magic Moment’, which did well on the R&B charts. He released a duet, ‘Only You’, in 2013, with Lauriana Mae. He reunited with Goodie Mob, and did the album ‘Age Against the Machine’ in 2013.
In January 2015, he launched a mixtape, ‘TV on the Radio’ with music derived from different TV show theme songs. His next studio album, ‘Heart Blanche’ was also released in November 2015.
His lead single, ‘Robin Williams’, dedicated to the actor of the same name, was released in July 2015. He released a new song and video ‘F**ck Me I'm Famous’ in December 2016. Next, he released a new song and video titled ‘Jay-Z's Girl’.
Green has a small acting career as well. In 1999, Green, along with the other members of ‘Goodie Mob,’ did a cameo in the film ‘Mystery Men’, in which he was credited as ‘Thomas Burton aka Cee lo’. In 2002, he voiced a few episodes of the ‘Brak Show.’
He worked as a voice actor in the animated film ‘Hotel Transylvania in 2012 and also appeared in a few television shows and films, including his own program, ‘CeeLo Green's The Good Life,’ on TBS.
In 2010, he appeared in ‘T-Pain's Freaknik: The Musical’ as Light Skin. In 2011, he appeared on NBC's ‘Saturday Night Live’. He also made a guest appearance in the NBC show, ‘Parenthood,’ season 3, episode 6. In 2012, he featured in the television show ‘The Soul Man’, in the episode titled ‘JC Carpenter's Gospel Show’.