As the lead singer of brotherly trio the Gap Band, the pioneering group whose late 70's early 80's funk still serves as a guiding light for producers and singers, it has been a long road for Charlie Wilson. From the dusty roads of Tulsa, Okalahoma to the neon lights of Cali to being homeless in the city of angels, the brother has seen it all. "I went from riches to rags," Charlie laughs. "But now it's time for me to take it back to the stage with Charlie, Last Name Wilson."
"From day one, R. Kelly has always proclaimed himself a modern day Charlie Wilson," he says. "He and I have been talking about collaborating for years, and now it's finally happening." On Charlie, Last Name Wilson, his first disc since 2001, the former cowboy boot wearing bro is now gator stepping in Chi-town with the king of urban grooves. "This was a big step for me, because the Gap band always did our own music," Wilson recalls. "Letting others write and produce for me, is a big step." Fortunately, coming through on his promise, R. Kelly has stepped to the plate to produce four mackadelic tracks.
"The first song we recorded was the title track. I already knew he was talented, but it was then I realized he's a genius." With his own classic appeal, Charlie Wilson possess a style that has never gone out of style, the kind of voice that can be gutbucket and cool, smooth as hot butter and tasty as chocolate. "Charlie, Last Name Wilson" is the kind of urban romancer that will appeal to both old souls hanging in the spot and R&B kids chilling on the block.
The instant classic "No Words," is an exquisite track that has an eternal pop sound comparable to Burt Bacharach, Curtis Mayfield or Babyface. With this enchanting song, sonic Chicago architect R. Kelly has constructed one of the finest "drama" ballads of his career. "That is my favorite song, because it's so powerful," Charlie says. "Basically, it's me singing from the woman's perspective. I know some men are going to be mad that I'm saying these things, because now they might have to stop playing basketball long enough to buy their lady some flowers."
Proving himself to be more than a balladeer, the smoking "So Hot" is the kind of popping dance-floor track one might not expect to hear. A master blaster for the BET generation, one can imagine booming speakers, slinking girls and enough sweat to swim through without drowning. Indeed, with a brilliant collection of material, Charlie, Last Name Wilson has created the perfect re-introduction for contemporary audiences to embrace.
Throwing down some new tricks, the upbeat groove of "Magic" is a whimsical song with Uncle Charlie (that's what the kids call him) playing the roll of a magician-the kind who can blink his eye, mumble a few words and make your clothes disappear. "It's all about being able to work that charm," Wilson says slyly. Abracadabra, hocus pocus and all that jazz...
On Charlie, Last Name Wilson a masterful performer returns to proclaim his rightful place on the throne. Mixing booming beats with chocolate love, Charlie Wilson is bringing the truth; and, as with most great soul singers, the gospel of life, love and happiness can be heard in the grain of his voice.