Very few artists can lay claim to Charlie Wilson’s hitmaker status.
Twice named Billboard’s Top Adult Male R&B Artist, Wilson kick-started the new decade with not one but two No. 1 Adult R&B Songs hits: “Forever Valentine” and “One I Got.” Then he wrapped the year by also breaking that chart’s record as the Top Adult Male Artist with the most No. 1’s in three decades.
In 2021 Wilson also won the Certified Soul Award at the Soul Train Awards.
Since scoring his first top 10 R&B hit in 1979 as co-founder/lead singer for R&B/funk pioneers the Gap Band, Wilson continues to defy the odds. For in a career that stretches more than four decades — and multiple generations of fans — Wilson has not only become a force on the charts but also onstage. And he has simultaneously become the go-to collaborator for many fellow stars.
What ties it all together, says the 13-time Grammy Award nominee, is being able to tap back into the passion that bubbled to the surface when he began performing in church at four years old. “It was fun and felt good,” Wilson recalls with a laugh. “That’s when singing first became something I didn’t want to ever let go.”
Sidelined from touring by the pandemic, Wilson has spent the last 18 months re-energizing by writing and recording songs “celebrating women” for the follow-up to his seventh solo album, 2017’s In It to Win It. Hinting that fans will be surprised at the who’s who of guests he has on deck, Wilson is returning full circle to the independent roots that fostered his solo career. It was in 2000 that he and longtime manager Michael Paran released the singer-songwriter’s breakthrough solo album Bridging the Gap. Wilson earned his first No. 1 R&B hit that same year with the set’s lead single, “Without You.”
“The music industry is changing, shifting more to an independent model,” says Paran, founder/CEO of P Music Group, Inc. “With our own label infrastructure including distribution as well as in-house writers and producers, Charlie is recording some great records. We’re going to come out of this pandemic reset big.”
Meanwhile, Wilson continues to cement his reputation as everyone’s favorite uncle and guest collaborator. Alongside Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, he sings “Wish Me Luck,” the opening theme for the new 2021 STARZ original series Black Mafia Family. Wilson’s vocals also grace Grammy Award-winning Best Rap Albums from Nas (King’s Disease, 2021), Tyler, The Creator (Igor, 2020) and Kanye West (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2012). In addition to an appearance on Nas’ latest No. 1 album King’s Disease II, Wilson’s MVP credits extend to projects from Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Hit-Boy. And that’s not counting his work with hip-hop next-geners Chika, Aminé, Brockhampton, Guapdad 4000 and O.T. Genasis.