Artist of the Week: Charles Bradley

Charles BradleyThis week, WERS is featuring the Screaming Eagle of Soul himself, Charles Bradley, as our Artist of the Week.

Charles Bradley is a revivalist in every sense of the word.  Not only is he a throwback to the soul (and showmanship) of the 60′s and 70′s, he also has a backstory that feels more like an old showbiz success myth than reality in the 2000′s.  Don’t let his years fool you – Bradley’s only been recording since 2002.  His life before that is the stuff that Hollywood biopics are made out of.  He lived with his grandmother in Florida until he met his mother (for the first time) at the age of 8 and moved to Brooklyn to be with her.  It was there, at a 1962 James Brown show at the Apollo Theater, that Bradley discovered his love of music.  He started mimicking James Brown’s singing and mannerisms, which would pay off much later in life.  Between 1962 and his discovery in 1996, when he was working as a James Brown impersonator under the name “Black Velvet,” Bradley lost family members, worked odd jobs all over the country (which he had to hitch-hike across), and nearly died.  So, yeah, he’s a revivalist.

This millennium has been just a bit kinder to Bradley however, as it’s seen him turn into one of the most widely acclaimed performers and, like his greatest influence, hardest workers in show business.  His latest album, Victim of Love, came out last week and he’ll be The Paradise this May.  In case it hasn’t been stated clearly enough yet – he is an awesome live performer.  You’d be wise to take the opportunity to see him in such an intimate venue.  Not to mention he ends his shows by hugging everyone in the audience.  Share the love, man.

By Bentley J. Holt

If you liked this, check out:
James Brown Youtube Channel Launches
This Week In Music History


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