LOS ANGELES (AP) — CeeLo Green says "Heart Blanche," his first studio album of new music in five years, is only the beginning of what he has planned.
Green is returning to the spotlight after a professional hiatus that began last year with his departure from NBC's "The Voice" following a felony drug charge.
The past few years have been a time of introspection and creativity, Green says, and "Heart Blanche" is among the results.
"This album is a prequel to the rest of the music I want to release in the very near future," Green said in a recent interview. "(It's) the start of a new beginning."
The 40-year-old entertainer, who recently revealed his year-old engagement and desire to return to "The Voice," talked with The Associated Press about his new album, to be released Friday.
The remarks have been edited for clarity and brevity.
AP: Is "Heart Blanche" your most personal album yet?
Green: It's always personal to some degree, but much more introspective this time around — more introspective than I've been able to be, had the opportunity of being, the pleasure of being, over the last five years professionally. The last time I did it to this degree was under the alias Gnarls Barkley.
AP: Talk about the single "Robin Williams."
Green: For this generation, Robin Williams' untimely and unfortunate death — he's probably more synonymous with that than his actual life's work. So I'm going back to 'Mork & Mindy' and 'The World According to Garp' and 'Popeye' — things I actually grew up with — so I know Robin a little bit better.
It wasn't meant to be a tribute to the extent of an obituary. ...I got to address my own empathy for him in a personal way, but also make it general and applicable to everyone.
AP: What was your process making this album?
Green: I've been recording this album for about three years. I did some recording in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, the Bahamas, Palm Springs, California. I've been all over the world recording this record. I'm proud to say that I was very proficient and prolific and I got an awful lot of work done. I have amassed a large amount of material, and I'll be able to use it in increments.
AP: Did you always know you would be a musician?
Green: I would say so. Elton John, for example. Or Earth, Wind & Fire, or KISS and Sly Stone — these people who were — like David Bowie — these people who were iconic images (and) fashionistas, I'm cut from their cloth. I'm encouraged from their era of entertainment. I do feel like I represent that for a new generation.
AP: Does the little kid in you freak out now that these artists are essentially your peers?
Green: It makes sense to me and I'm cool around these people. I get a chance to be with Prince and I'm cool around him. Because I feel like I know him. I feel like I grew up with him. They feel like extended family, like uncles and aunts.
AP: How creatively satisfying has this new album been?
Green: I'm content with the album but I'm not complacent with the album. I can do more and I want to do more. I want to first be reintroduced, and I want the people to be reminded of who I am in an artistic capacity, and they will see my generosity, because my cup just runneth over with song: with melody, with harmony, with sentiment and a sweetness for all.
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