Timeless. It’s something every artist wants to be, but few earn the distinction. Charlie Wilson’s name is on that short list.
From his breakout as a member of the Gap Band (“You Dropped A Bomb On Me,” “Outstanding”) in the ‘80s to his revered solo recordings (2005’s certified gold Charlie, Last Name Wilson, 2009’s Grammy nominated Uncle Charlie) and his latest 2010 release Just Charlie), Wilson has sold millions of albums, inspired a throng of artists who modeled their vocal stylings after his (most notably Aaron Hall and R. Kelly) and cemented his status as a musical icon with accolades from Billboard and BET, among a host of others… Read more
Wilson was recently honored with two 2012 Grammy nominations for his chart-topping single, “You Are.” Wilson is nominated for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance. “You Are” was the first single from Wilson’s critically-acclaimed CD, Just Charlie and dominated Billboard’s Urban Adult Contemporary chart remaining at #1 for 13 consecutive weeks.
“I am honored to have received two Grammy nominations,” stated Wilson. “When I began work on Just Charlie my wife, Mahin, suggested we include some songs that uplifted women. I totally agreed and that’s how “You Are” was born. She is and always will be my inspiration.”.
In 2010, Wilson also received two Grammy nominations for Best R&B Album, Uncle Charlie, and Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for his hit single, “There Goes My Baby.”
With The Gap Band, Wilson and brother’s Ronnie and Robert helped define and popularize an upbeat form of funk that was equally infectious and lasting. “Outstanding,” “You Dropped a Bomb On Me,” and “I Don’t Believe You Want To Get Up And Dance (Oops Up Side Your Head)” were among their immense catalog of hits and are among the most sampled songs in music history.
Although Wilson struggled with alcohol and drug addiction that consumed him once The Gap Band broke up, his music resonated with generations of musicians and rappers, many of whom clamored to recreate his soaring vocals, to collaborate with him or to just achieve the level of artistic quality Wilson maintained.
In the early 1990s, Wilson (who had already been identified as the blueprint on which Guy’s Aaron Hall and R. Kelly modeled their style) became friends and a regular collaborator with Snoop Dogg. This relationship provided Wilson with access to many of the artists that idolized him, as well as a fresh group of emerging talent who inspired him to continue pushing the limits of his own material.
“I had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest hip-hop artists in this business,” recalls Wilson, who has collaborated with Kanye West, R. Kelly, Jamie Foxx, T-Pain and Justin Timberlake, among others. “It allowed me to open up my horizons and be able to learn about different types of music. Working with these artists allowed me to not be locked in a time capsule. It opened the door for me to be a part of today’s contemporary music scene.”
Wilson continues to tour the world bringing his fans the ultimate concert performance combining his current chart-toppers and GAP Band hits. Famed radio show host and comedian, Steve Harvey raves “What I saw at The Hoodies was the greatest single living performer of legendary status of our time. His voice is amazing and his energy and the level of intensity that he has is unbelievable.”
Beyond music, Wilson remains committed to promoting awareness and testing for prostate cancer. As a survivor of a disease that afflicts one in six American men — and one in three African American men — Wilson in 2008 teamed with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. “When I learned that the PCF had helped to build a global research enterprise of nearly $10 billion and funded more than 1500 programs at nearly 200 research centers in 12 countries, I knew I wanted to support their efforts,” stated Wilson.
Today he continues to speak at events around the country, encouraging men to get screened for the disease. He also supports the PCF through the sale of his signature fedora hats at his concerts and on his website at www.unclecharliewilson.com/shop.
With music and his work to combat prostate cancer, Wilson has been able to sustain the passion and drive that have been hallmarks of his legendary career. “I’m still living this dream,” Wilson says. “I’m still going to the stage and I’m still having fun. I’m not there just to pick up the check. It’s about the passion and the respect that I have for the game. It keeps me going.”
01 – Charlie Wilson – You Are (Just Charlie, 2010)
02 – The Gap Band – Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me) (The Gap Band III, 1980)
03 – Charlie Wilson – My Girl Is A Dime (Just Charlie, 2010)
04 – Guy – Teddy”s Jam (Snippet) (Guy, 1988)
05 – Charlie Wilson – I Can”t Let Go (Just Charlie, 2010)
Background music during the interview:
Tha Gap Band – Early In The Morning, The Gap Band – I-Yike-It, The Gap Band – Backbone, The Gap Band – After All Is Said And Done, The Gap Band – Oops Upside Your Head, The Gap Band – Yearning For Your Love, Charlie Wilson – Without You, Charlie Wilson – There Goes My Baby, Snoop Dogg (feat. Charlie Wilson and Justin Timberlake) – Signs, Charlie Wilson – Crying For You.Follow @Soulinterviews