Editor's Note - Seeking Cee-Lo

Hard work pays off

It always amazes me that it's so difficult to get interviews with pop stars.

I know. It shouldn't. It's just that I started in this business as a news guy, covering politicians who would stampede you if you stood between them and a microphone. It's easy to get people like that to talk to you on the record.

Music writer Mosi Reeves didn't have it so lucky. Last April, he realized that Atlanta hip-hop and R&B star, Thomas "Cee-Lo" Callaway, was hitting the big time in Britain as part of Gnarls Barkley, the duo he'd created along with music producer (and former Atlantan) Danger Mouse. It seemed likely, though not certain, that their song "Crazy" and their album, St. Elsewhere, would grow similarly popular when the album was released in the United States.

We knew then that the well-liked songwriter, producer and vocalist was a great cover story subject. Since his days with the Dungeon Family's Goodie Mob, Cee-Lo had struggled to build his solo career and had worked on a variety of special projects. Now, finally, he was enjoying a breakout. Nice-guy-makes-good seemed a pretty compelling story angle.

So Mosi began working with music editor Heather Kuldell to get an interview with Cee-Lo. You'd think he was trying to get national security clearance. Weeks stretched into months, while they worked doggedly with various publicists to get face time with Cee-Lo, and also to schedule a shoot with CL photographer Joeff Davis.

Their hard work paid off. Cee-Lo's manager, K.C. Morton, eventually cleared the way for Mosi to interview Cee-Lo. The nice-guy-makes-good angle proved endearingly accurate: In an industry often saturated with arrogance, Cee-Lo proved to be an engaging, creative guy who hadn't lost touch with reality. And, as Joeff's photos show, he remains a playful photo subject.


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