An entertaining memoir that captures the voice of an artist who hasn’t necessarily accomplished enough to warrant the telling of his life story.
Musical memoirs have become a hot commodity, and Green is a brash and savvy-enough entertainer to know to strike while the iron is hot. He made his breakthrough as the singer of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” which he followed with the viral solo hit known to some as “Forget You.” He then parlayed that into TV exposure on The Voice. Even for those aware of his musical back story with the Goodie Mob, such a career might be covered in a long magazine profile. But if the ebullient entertainer born Thomas DeCarlo Burton is mainly a legend in his own mind, he seasons that legend with plenty of spice in a book that (written with journalist Wild) shows how, “in the epic journey that has been my life, there are good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains, beautiful princesses, shape-shifting mutants, and pretty much everything in between.” Green also provides an inspirational mandate: “I write this book not just to celebrate my own voice and to revel in my own success story, but to encourage the next generation of underdogs to listen closely to the voices in their own heads….May we all find our voices and keep rising together.” For all his grandiosity, CeeLo (who seems to be moving toward single-name status) is a funny guy with a colorful story to share, from his proto-gangster days as a petty criminal in his native Atlanta through his musical redemption. The most revelatory parts concern the creative tension in his teaming with Danger Mouse as Gnarls Barkley, “a couple of crazy mutants who met in the dark and created a spark of something bigger than both of us.” His showbiz ambitions culminate in a Vegas review, “CeeLo Is Loberace,” inspired not only by Liberace, but Elton John.
An “only in America” story with Horatio Alger as a rapper and neo-soul singer.