His catalog is enviable, his pipes are golden and for decades, “Uncle Charlie” Wilson has enthralled both the old school and new school set, packing out arenas with grown and sexy live shows and remaining a chart-topping presence on the Adult Urban Contemporary charts in the post-Gap Band era. Overcoming ageism, alcoholism and an addiction to cocaine was just part of his triumphant comeback: thanks to hits like “Charlie, Last Name Wilson,” “You Are,” “There Goes My Baby” and his latest single, “My Love Is All I Have,” Mr. Wilson is earning long-overdue recognition and accolades, his most recent being the Trumpet Award Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
As he simultaneously celebrates two momentous occasions—his birthday and the release of his latest CD, Love Charlie— the iconic singer, songwriter and producer shares the objective behind the songs, how he maintains his professional momentum and what it takes to stay clean, sober and married in and out of the spotlight.
MELODY CHARLES-Happy Birthday Uncle Charlie! I work out to “Early in the Morning” and I grew up on you and The Gap Band, it’s an honor to speak with you.
CHARLIE WILSON- (chuckles) That’s kinda cool, thanks! I would love to have one of my biggest weeks of sales ever if everybody could just download it and make the stores sell out, that would be greatest present I could ever have.”
MC- I also want to say ‘congratulations’ for your Lifetime Achievement Award: since they’re about longevity, excellence and being a positive role model to others, how did it feel to receive that honor?
CW- “It’s amazing….I’m kinda at a loss for words right now. It’s so surreal that I thought somebody was playing a joke on me at first, but I’ve been trying to be all of that my whole life, and the excellence comes from putting countless hours in the music, trying to outdo myself every time. I’ll listen to previous works and be like, ‘ugh, how ugly was that?’ and try to come harder the next time.”
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