Uncle Charlie Wilson to release second album

When Charlie Wilson first started performing solo, it was unnerving for him.

When Charlie Wilson first started performing solo, it was unnerving for him.

“I was scared to death,” the former Gap Band lead singer told the Defender. When he stepped out on the stage, without his younger and older brothers––Robert and Ronnie––who made up the hugely popular 80s band, it was like missing limbs.

“I looked to the left and didn’t see my older brother, who would give me a nod. I looked to the right and my baby brother (who played the bass) was not there. He would usually be all over the place (on stage),” Wilson explained, laughing.

But one successful solo album later and having worked with a number of hip hop and R&B standouts, including Snoop Dogg and R. Kelly, Wilson has overcome the stage fright and is taking the charts by storm.

He is set to release his sophomore project, Uncle Charlie, shortly after Valentine’s Day. His first album, Charlie Last Name Wilson, was a gold-certified hit.

As lead vocalist for the grooving band whose finger-popping, get-on-your-feet jams still excite audiences today, Wilson acknowledges his and the band’s role as “pioneers for a lot of music going on today.”

Still, he explained, a lot has changed, thanks to technology.

Many of the artists and producers that Wilson is working with today in his solo career are ones who got their inspiration and musical tutelage from the Gap Band, Wilson said.

The hit single, “There Goes My Baby,” off his upcoming album was written by singer/producer Baby Face. Snoop Dogg, T-Pain and Jamie Foxx also have a presence on the project.

An upbeat and excited Wilson explained that, “the playing field is large … hip hop has taken over,” when early critics of it never thought that it would.

The jovial Wilson earned the nickname Uncle Charlie from the younger artists he worked with, mostly as a show of respect, he explained. And he has built a rapport with them that he considers a “win-win.” His encouraging and like-family ways, and his zeal for life, in general, reached through the line in the Defender’s phone interview with the star.

“I’ve been where they are going,” he said. “I’m happy to be the one bridging the gap.”

Whether to write hooks or have a hand in production, “they trust me,” the 56-year-old Wilson said. “I’m definitely the coolest uncle you can have.”

Even working with his contemporaries, “I’m still being me.”

And everywhere he goes as a solo artist, he’s pointed out as the man from the Gap Band.

That’s fine by Wilson, who said he doesn’t even try to escape it. “That’s where I came from,” he said.

Even though he embraces hip hop and injects it in his songs, Wilson doesn’t stray too far from his R&B roots.

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