Cee Lo Green has never performed “She Knows” in concert. Not once. So when the singer with multi-faceted talent announced to our privileged VH1 Storytellers audience that he’d do so for the very-first time, it was only natural that he gave the Gnarls Barkley song the proper introduction it deserved. Shifting the upbeat vibe in the room after a reunion performance with Goodie Mob, Cee Lo dug deep into his emotional cellar to articulate how the death of his mother Sheila directly relates to the beautiful-but-eerie Odd Couple track.
“I feel like I’m doing her work,” said the loving son of his late mother who passed away when he was only eighteen. Three years before her death, Sheila had survived an awful car accident, and was unfortunately rendered a quadriplegic; watching her struggle during that time period made Cee Lo feel the “most helpless” he had ever felt in his life. Using language that was both vague and specific, he ever-so-poignantly opened up about the “sacrifice” his mother made for him by choosing to pass away, leading us to believe her death may have been her own “conscious decision.” The lyrics for “She Knows” nod at the same question of intent as well, but it was unclear whether or not Cee Lo was implying that his mother willingly surrendered to her medical hardships, or actually took her own life.
“I believe that she’s present, I believe that she’s in the room, I believe that she’s in my consciousness,” Cee Lo said of the person who brought him into this world. “She’s my competence, she’s my creativity, she’s my consistency, she’s my energy.” Whatever your beliefs may be, seeing Cee Lo explain that his mother’s “transfer of energy” helped bring him the success he has today was nothing short of profound. During already-powerful song’s final batch of lyrics, the mighty soul vocalist opened his mouth to sing “sacrifice” – the hot-button word he had already used to describe her death – and he completely broke down. Fighting tears that eventually wound up streaming uncontrollably down his face through the end of his “She Knows” performance, Cee Lo was forced to acquiesce to his grief (and undying love) for the woman who gave him life.
Captured on film, it’s a moment you surely will not want to miss when the show airs tonight at 11 p.m. ET/PT, but for now, don’t miss this online exclusive that didn’t make our show: a cover of Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day,” a tune that Cee Lo dedicated to mom since it was one of her favorites.
Lastly, but certainly not leastly (if, in fact, that is even a word), let us know what question you want us to ask Cee Lo in our Decision poll, presented by Bing!