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Cee Lo, Seal give songwriting tips before Grammys

Cee Lo, Seal give songwriting tips before Grammys

February 13th, 2011 by MESFIN FEKADU, Associated Press in News

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Cee Lo says when a man is writing a hit song for a female act, he must be one of two things: in touch with his feminine side or a ladies' man. He says he's the latter.

At the Broadcast Music Inc. "How to Write a Song" pre-Grammy event, Cee Lo talked about writing the Pussycat Dolls' debut song, "Don't Cha," as well as his own hits like "(Expletive) You!" and "Crazy."

"I don't take myself too seriously as a producer. I consider myself more of an idealist," said Cee Lo, who has also written for Jennifer Hudson and Brandy.

Cee Lo's expletive-laden jam is up for four awards at Sunday's Grammys, including record and song of the year. He co-wrote the tune with the Smeezingtons, the production trio that includes rising star Bruno Mars, who is up for seven awards.

Seal, whose "Kiss from a Rose" won Grammys for record and song of the year in 1996, was also on the songwriting panel. He told a story about how his biggest hit almost didn't make his album.

"It wasn't edgy ... and (I) took it off the album," he explained of "Kiss from a Rose." He then said a publicist friend convinced him to put the song back on the CD.

Other attendees included songwriters Bonnie McKee (Katy Perry's "California Gurls," Britney Spears' "Hold It Against Me"), Claude Kelly (Bruno Mars' "Grenade," Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You"), BC Jean (Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy") and Chad Hugo, Pharrell's partner in the production team, the Neptunes. Music producer Dallas Austin and BMI vice president Catherine Brewton moderated the panel.

Kelly also co-wrote Miley Cyrus' "Party In the USA" and Spears' "Circus." He said writing for women isn't complicated at all.

"I have a weird way of imitating anybody ... I can go in the booth and I can sing anything from a male perspective or female perspective without any problems," said Kelly, who is also vocal producer.

Kelly, who is nominated for best R&B song this year for co-writing Fantasia's "Bittersweet," said he wanted to work with the former "American Idol" winner after seeing her perform live.

"If you see her live, it changes your whole opinion of Fantasia. She's almost a victim of the wrong generation. If she was out in the '70s or the '60s, she literally would be ... equivalent to Patti (LaBelle) or Aretha (Franklin)," Kelly said, who produced most of Fantasia's latest CD, "Back to Me." Fantasia, who overdosed on a mixture of aspirin and sleeping pills in August, is also up for best R&B female vocal performance for "Bittersweet."

McKee, who is also a singer, co-wrote hits like Perry's Grammy-nominated "Teenage Dream" and Taio Cruz's "Dynamite." She said writing for others has been the break she's badly needed.

"I struggled as an artist and it didn't work out and I was all heartbroken," she said. "So I just kind of needed to take a break from it for a second and sort of heal and just give my love to somebody else. It's a nice departure actually."