Charlie Wilson is best-known for being the lead singer of the Gap Band, whose string of platinum and gold albums produced hits like "Outstanding," "Yearning for Your Love," and "You Dropped a Bomb on Me." The consummate performer, Wilson's star shined bright on his solo outings as well: You Turn My Life Around (1992), Bridging the Gap (2000), and Charlie, Last Name Wilson (2005). And on the heels of 2005's gold-selling LP, "Uncle Charlie" topped Billboard's Hot Adult R&B Airplay, again, with the release of "There Goes My Baby," which spent eight weeks at the summit. During his reign at the top, Wilson scored his highest debut on the Billboard 200, when Uncle Charlie, his fourth solo album, landed in the #2 spot.
As the mentor of Aaron Hall and principal influence on R. Kelly, Charlie Wilson is — without question — "the de-facto father of new jack swing." Upon review of Uncle Charlie, his fourth solo album, Charlie Wilson managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on "Homeless," his public battle with prostate cancer and the absolute power of music.
Congratulations on the chart-topping success of "There Goes My Baby." You're one of the few artists that can have someone in their 20s and someone in their 60s jamming and grooving to the same song! How fulfilling is it for you as an artist to know that men and women of a wide age group can listen to your music and all connect?
Man, it feels really good to know I'm bridging gaps and crossing barriers and breaking down walls. I just believe that no matter who you are, what color you are, what you look like, if you can sing and you can come up with a record and it feels good and everybody can sing along with it – everybody should play the record. I still feel that way. I know there are a lot of programmers out there saying, "I can't play this. I can't play that." Your job should be listening to your fans, dude. This is one of those successes that lets everybody know that it doesn't matter how old you are. It's a wonderful feeling. This record can fit all ages.
The same could be said from your latest album, Uncle Charlie. It's classic Charlie. We know it's you, but the production is definitely modern. I love how you started the album with a crazy riff on "Musta Heard." How do you strike and maintain such a delicate balance between the use of classic and contemporary musical stylings?