TODAY | September 09, 2013
>>> unforgettable songs like "forget you" and "crazy" have earned cee lo green grammy wins.
>> he and christina are about to be -- reunited and it feels so good
>> adam and blake as judges on nbc's top rated, we love to say that show, "the voice".
>> he's also the author of a book about his life called "everybody's brother" and he's with us his sisters today.
>> we brought your cat so you would feel --
>> i thought it was a dog.
>> they're cats.
>> sorry. you know you're the only one for me, babe.
>> how did that come about --
>> what happened to the bird?
>> lady bird ? she's still around.
>> she is.
>> we want evidence.
>> how does it feel to be back on "the voice"? we missed you last season.
>> thank you. so many people have said that. i'm very happy about it. i love the show. i really do. i really enjoy it.
>> what did they say? they just needed you? got to have you back?
>> no. actually what happened was it was preplanned. this was the first preliminary, they wanted to work into it, swap out coaches.
>> mix it up.
>> and i also wanted to do something separate.
>> you wanted to tour.
>> i wanted to tour, do vegas for two months, planet hollywood .
>> time well spent.
>> you know, you had, obviously, a long career before "the voice" and a lot of people are getting to know you from this show.
>> one of the things i didn't know, i know you wrote a lot of songs, that pusscat doll song -- be. don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me
>> did you write that?
>> i did.
>> like a little cameo way at the end of the video. real quick.
>> but you are not an overnight success, are you?
>> i'm not.
>> you write candidly about your mom growing up and some of the struggles you had. tell us about them.
>> was any of it hard to share?
>> no. i'm very -- very open and honest and truly i mean maybe it wouldn't be worth a mention if it were not such a testimony, you know.
>> to the perseverance?
>> exactly. even at this very short, early stage of my life, i thought that it was probably a cool time to express some of it.
>> you went from being a tough guy, that's kind of an understatement.
>> you were stealing things from people.
>> you were naughty.
>> stealing jewelry.
>> that's how he got those teeth.
>> and then what turned the beat around for you?
>> i think it was definitely my mother, before she passed away , she was injured in an accident. she was deemed quad dra pa leakic and she was bedridden about three years before she ultimately passed due to the complications of it. i really felt very helpless and i did not want her life and death to be in vain and i knew she had had some very, you know, big hopes for me to be someone.
>> did she know you had the singing talent?
>> i remember my sister telling me. my sister became a registered nurse . my grandmother was also a nurse.
>> and your mom was a firefighter. first african-american firefighter female.
>> we took care of her at home. my sister told me once she wanted to kind of listen to the album, my first album, like 1995 , soul food , wanted to listen to it all the way through and my sister was getting married, pregnant with her first child, felt like her kids were going to be fine and i think she made peace with it.
>> wow. what was your big breakthrough moment when you became kind of mainstream?
>> was it l.a. reed.
>> he's been a mentor and something like a father to me, yes. when him and also kenneth baby face edmonds formed their label face and they set up shop in atlanta, georgia, that was a big break for our city.
>> sure. put you on the map.
>> we had a communal approach to doing music. we were all kind of a happy bunch of characters.
>> everybody showed up on each other's albums.
>> yeah. we all went to high school together, everything.
>> that's why you're everybody's brother.
>> that's right.
>> wish we had more time. we're glad you're back.
>> it's okay. it's okay.