Charlie Wilson has made several hits in the late ‘70s and ‘80s as front man of the Gap Band. The pioneering R&B/funk group charted classics such as “Outstanding,” “Yearning for Your Love,” “Burn Rubber on Me,” “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” and “Early in the Morning.” Wilson has proven that he is still climbing the music charts with his latest album (2017) “In It To Win It.” He has just finished hitting the road with Bruno Mars for the 24K Magic World Tour, and he isn’t planning to slow down anytime soon.
Charlie Wilson will be at the United Center this Friday, November 30, 2018, with Special guests Joe and En Vogue. Not only will he be giving his all to his Chicago fans, but he also tells the Defender what he has been up to lately while making moves.
“I released my ‘In It To Win It’ album in 2017 and since then I’ve been on the road touring and blessed with sold out shows around the country. I collaborated with Snoop on the song and video for ‘One More Day’ from his ‘Bible of Love’ album and just completed eight dates touring with Bruno Mars on his 24K Magic World Tour in Minneapolis, Detroit, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Honolulu.”
Wilson states that touring with Mars was a blast and that he loves him and his music. The icing on the cake was that he was able to close out the tour in Mars’ hometown of Honolulu for a historic moment– where the show was the first ever to sell out three nights at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
“I had so much fun, and it was an incredible experience to share that, and something I will never forget.”
In the years between the Gap Band’s heyday and his solo success, Wilson survived drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness and prostate cancer. He chronicled his odds-defying life and career in his 2015 best-selling autobiography “I Am Charlie Wilson.” Sober now for 22 years, the singer says, “I wouldn’t have believed I’d be where I am right now. That’s why I shout every night because I thank God for allowing me to be here.”
Wilson discussed the transformation of his health routine since his September 2008 prostate cancer diagnosis. As with many men, it was at his wife Mahin’s advising that he had an annual check-up. It was the screening PSA and physical exam that caught his prostate cancer early. He has undergone treatment and is now cancer free.
“I can hardly believe it’s been ten years. My whole life changed. Although I am cancer free, I still keep an eye out on my health with regular check-ups. It is important to maintain a clean lifestyle and that includes working out and eating healthy.”
According to statistics, “African American men are 61 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer compared to Caucasian men. Black men are nearly 2.5 times as likely to die from the disease.”
Charlie has continued to spread the word for African-American men to get tested for prostate cancer. “The statistics are scary, but Black men still aren’t talking about it,” explains Charlie. “Many brothers out there don’t get checked out because they think they can overcome anything, or they think getting tested
will take away from their ‘manhood.’ Well, for years I’ve been performing, now it’s time to start informing. A man dies from this disease every 18 minutes. Prostate cancer is serious business.”
As a tribute to his 22 years of sobriety, helping homeless addicts and educating the African American community about prostate cancer, Wilson was honored at the 2018 NAACP Image Awards with the first-ever Music Makes A Difference Award. “It was truly an overwhelming experience to receive this award,” stated Wilson. “Numerous people have been by my side these last 22 years, and the most important person is my wife, Mahin.”
Wilson continues his reign as “Uncle Charlie,” the lovable nickname originally given to him by Snoop Dogg, being one of the most highly sought-after adult entertainers for today’s top Hip-Hop and Pop artists. “The first person to start calling me ‘Uncle Charlie’ was Snoop Dogg over 20 years ago. The name stuck, and I’m thankful to see how it continues to resonate with so many generations of fans and artists.”
If you have your tickets or are arranging to go to the concert, be prepared for a good time; Uncle Charlie’s raves that you’re in for a treat and he represents for men on how to treat their lady.
“We’re going to have a party! I’m going to perform my number one solo hits and GAP Band classics with my band and dancers in tow. Ladies remember to bring some flat shoes because you’ll be coming out of those heels – trust me! Love is a powerful word, and as men, we need to let our women know that we love and respect them,” stated Wilson. “So, when guys bring their ladies to my show or have this album playing during a romantic dinner, they know I am speaking for them.”
Wilson is looking forward to continuing to tour and making new music. A new album is also in the works. The inspiration behind his music is to have fun and make music that is uplifting, helps spread love and feels good. He also conveys that to his audience when performing and he likes to collaborate with others as well.
He has been to many other major cities in the United States and even other countries, but there’s something about Chicago that makes it rise to the top of his list.
“Chicago is one of my favorite cities to perform in. I love the people and the energy the city brings out to my shows. I just want everyone in Chicago to stay strong. I know a lot is going on right now but we can never give up hope and need to keep our communities and country in our prayers.”
Wilson underscores that declaration with his latest album, “In It to Win It” (P Music Group/RCA, Feb. 17, 2017) which was nominated for three 2018 NAACP Image Awards, Outstanding Male Artist, Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration and Outstanding Album. The set boasts two number one singles which hit two different Billboard charts in April 2018. “Chills” was #1 on the Adult R&B chart and “I’m Blessed” ft. T.I. was #1 on the Hot Gospel chart. He also received a Rhapsody & Rhythm award in May 2018 from the National Museum of African American Music, scheduled to open in Nashville in 2019.
Wilson has achieved ten No. 1 singles, 11 Grammy Award nominations, a New York Times best-selling memoir and ongoing sold-out, coast-to-coast tours. Charlie Wilson has proven his point and isn’t planning to slow down anytime soon. “I’ve been in this game for many years, I’ve had some big hit records and sold many records. However, I need to show people that I’m still in it. It’s championship time.”