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Charles Kent "Charlie" Wilson (born January 29, 1953), also known as Uncle Charlie, is an American R&B singer-songwriter-producer and the former lead vocalist for The Gap Band. As a solo artist he has been nominated for nine Grammy awards and three NAACP Image Awards, received a 2009 Soul Train Icon Award, and was a recipient of a BMI Icon Award in 2005. In 2009, he was named Billboard magazine's No. 1 Adult R&B Artist, and his song "There Goes My Baby" was named the No. 1 Urban Adult Song for 2009 in Billboard Magazine.
On June 30, 2013, BET honored Wilson with a Lifetime Achievement Award that was presented to him by Justin Timberlake. The BET tribute performances included renditions of Wilson's songs performed by India Arie ("There Goes My Baby"), Jamie Foxx ("Yearning for Your Love"), and Stevie Wonder ("Burn Rubber") but it was not until Wilson himself took to the stage at the request of Timberlake to perform his Grammy-nominated song "You Are" and then transition into a medley of hit songs performing alongside Timberlake and surprise guests Snoop Dogg and Pharrell Williams that Wilson stole the show during the youth oriented program. The Charlie Wilson tribute helped BET achieve the highest ratings in years for the program and also earned the network the #1 primetime spot in the 18–49 demographic topping all its broadcast and cable competition for the night in both demographics and total viewers.
Wilson is the national spokesman for the Prostate Cancer Foundation where there is a Creativity Award in his name which donates hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to researchers across the country for the development of creative science that conforms to PCF funding principles but is short-term and designed to allow development of otherwise unfunded ideas.
He was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. At age 3, he was taught to sing in church which led the way for him to sing in his junior high school's choir, which was a precursor to his musical career with The Gap Band and later his solo career. He attended high school at Booker T. Washington.
The Gap Band
From the start of his career, Charlie and his brothers, Robert and Ronnie, helped define and popularize an upbeat form of funk music that was infectious and lasting with their group The Gap Band. The group's songs like "Outstanding", "Party Train", "Yearning for Your Love", "Burn Rubber on Me", "You Dropped a Bomb on Me", and "Oops Upside Your Head" are among their immense catalog and some of the most sampled songs in music history. After 15 albums The Gap Band announced their retirement in 2010.
According to Wilson's website, rapper Snoop Dogg nicknamed him "Uncle Charlie". with whom he is good friends. Snoop and his wife, Shante, renewed their vows in April 2008 at Wilson's 20 acre ranch outside of Los Angeles, CA. The event inspired the music video to Wilson's hit "There Goes My Baby", which featured Snoop and his wife and was given to them as a gift symbolizing their relationship.
A few years later, Michael Paran persuaded Wilson to embark on a solo career. Paran, who is CEO of P Music Group, was responsible for rebranding the GAP Band in 1997 and repositioning them as one of the top R&B touring groups, has managed Wilson for the past 14 years
Paran and Wilson independently released Wilson's first solo album Bridging the Gap, which scored them Wilson's first No. 1 Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary single, "Without You.". In 2004, Paran successfully negotiated a multi-album deal for Wilson with Jive Records. The first album from that deal, Charlie, Last Name Wilson, debuted in the fall of 2005 featuring production from various hit-making producers including R. Kelly, Justin Timberlake, will.i.am, the Underdogs, Kay Gee, and The Platinum Brothers. The album, which was certified gold by the R.I.A.A., produced the hit single, "Charlie, Last Name Wilson".
Since then Charlie has consistently topped the Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary chart with singles from his follow up albums through P Music/Jive Records. His 2009 CD, Uncle Charlie, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 200 and No. 1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart, and received two 2010 Grammy nominations: Best R&B Album and Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male for "There Goes My Baby".
In December 2010, Just Charlie, was released and spawned the hit single "You Are" which held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary chart for 13 weeks as well as 15 weeks consecutively on the Mediabase chart. The song earned two 2012 Grammy nominations, Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song, giving Wilson, his wife Mahin, and their fellow songwriters Dennis Bettis, Carl M. Days, Jr., and Wirlie Morris (who co-produced the track with Wilson) their first nomination as songwriters together.
Wilson has been a vocalist and contributor/collaborator to dozens of songs in the hip hop, rap, and R&B communities. Wilson appeared on The Biggie Duets together with R. Kelly on the song "Mi Casa". He has worked with Snoop Dogg on numerous projects. Their first collaboration was Snoop's 1996 album Tha Doggfather, on which Wilson appeared on four songs: "Doggfather", "Snoop Bounce", "Groupie" (also featuring 213, and "Tha Dogg Pound"), and "Snoop's Upside Ya Head". Wilson also worked with 2Pac and The Dogg Pound on an unreleased song "Just Watching" (1996), as well as "Wanted Dead Or Alive", which featured him on the hook and 2Pac & Snoop rapping. He was also featured on the Grammy-nominated single "Beautiful" (together with Pharrell) from Snoop's 2002 album Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss. Additionally, Wilson appeared on "Signs" (with Justin Timberlake) and "Perfect", both songs from Snoop's 2004 album R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta) The Masterpiece. He was also featured on Snoop's 2008 abum Ego Trippin', on the songs "SD is Out" and "Can't Say Goodbye"; the latter was also performed live with Snoop and Wilson at 2008's American Idol Gives Back charity concert.
In 1998, Wilson performed on Mystikal's Ghetto Fabulous album.
In 2007, Wilson performed in two songs on UGK's Underground Kingz album: "Quit Hatin' the South" and "How Long Can It Last".
In 2011, chart-topping producer/artist, Kanye West included Wilson on his CD, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Wilson recorded over a dozen songs with Kanye and appeared on the following songs: "See Me Now", with Kanye West featuring Beyoncé; "All of the Lights", with Kanye West featuring Rihanna; "Lost in the World", "Runaway", and "Monster", with Kanye West featuring Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, and Rick Ross. In addition to these songs, Wilson appeared on five of the G.O.O.D. Friday Releases to promote the new CD including, "Lord, Lord, Lord" with Kanye West, featuring Mos Def, Swizz Beatz, Raekwon; and "Good Friday" with Common, Pusha T, Kid Cudi, and Big Sean. He also appears on "Bound 2", the closer of Yeezus, West's 2013 album. Altogether Charlie Wilson's albums have sold over one million copies.
Support for American Servicemen and Women
In 2008, Wilson participated and performed on the ABC Television Special, America United: Supporting Our Troops, which was taped at Camp Pendleton, in California.
Wilson has made it his personal mission to support American troops, especially in the Middle East. He and his band have traveled to Kuwait and Iraq four times (2009, 2010, and twice in 2011), taking his critically acclaimed, high energy show to dozens of bases throughout both countries and giving American military members a "little taste of home." Wilson's November 2011 trip was in response to a special request by the U.S. Armed Forces for Wilson to return to the Middle East and perform at five bases in Kuwait for the thousands of troops stationed there, before they returned home from their withdrawal from Iraq under President Barack Obama's campaign promise.
Wilson married Mahin Tat in 1995. They met that year, when she was his social worker during his time in a drug rehabilitation program.
Although reportedly clean since 1995, Wilson's cocaine and alcohol addictions had led to his becoming homeless and sleeping on the streets of Hollywood Boulevard between 1993 and 1995.
In 2008, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and treated successfully with implants. He has since worked with the Prostate Cancer Foundation, encouraging black men to be tested for the disease. He has also spread awareness by providing vocals for Lupe Fiasco's single, "Mission", which focuses on cancer survivors.
Awards and Nominations
Wilson has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards.
2015 Grammy Nomination - Best Rap Song (with Kanye West) for "Bound 2"
2015 Grammy Nomination - Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (with Kanye West) for "Bound 2"
2014 Grammy Nomination - Best Gospel Song for "If I Believe"
2012 Grammy Nomination - Best R&B Performance "You Are"
2012 Grammy Nomination - Best R&B Song for "You Are"
2010 Grammy Nomination - Best R&B Album for Uncle Charlie
2010 Grammy Nomination - Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "There Goes My Baby"
2003 Grammy Nomination - Best Rap/Song Collaboration (with Pharrell & Snoop Dogg) for "Beautiful"
1997 Grammy Nomination - Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals (with Luke, Mr. X, Melle Mel, Yo-Yo, Chaka Khan, Da Luniz, Shaquille O'Neal, Quincy Jones & Coolio) for "Stomp"
NAACP Image Awards
2014 NAACP Image Award WINNER - Outstanding Album for Love, Charlie
2014 NAACP Image Award Nomination - Outstanding Male Artist
2010 NAACP Image Award Nomination - Outstanding Male Artist
November 5, 2013 - SoulTracks Reader's Choice Award - Major Label Album of the Year - Charlie Wilson 'Love, Charlie'
June 30, 2013 - Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Charlie Wilson at the BET Awards
January 2013 - Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Charlie Wilson by the Trumpet Awards Foundation
December 2011 - Billboard Magazine names Charlie Wilson the No. 2 Adult R&B Artist for 2011
December 2011 - Billboard Magazine names "You Are" the No. 2 Urban Adult Song for 2011
December 2011 - Mediabase names Charlie Wilson No. 1 Adult R&B Artist for 2011
December 2011 - Mediabase names "You Are" the No. 1 Urban Adult Song for 2011
February 2010 - NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Male Artist
December 2009 - Billboard Magazine names Charlie Wilson No. 1 Adult R&B Artist for 2009
December 2009 - Billboard Magazine names "There Goes My Baby" the No. 1 Urban Adult Song for 2009
November 2009 - Soul Train Icon Award presented to Charlie Wilson
September 2005 - BMI Icon Award presented to Charlie Wilson
January 29, 2013 - New York, NY - City of New York Proclamation honoring Charlie Wilson for his lifetime achievement in the music industry and his courageous and continued efforts to spread awareness about sobriety and prostate cancer by Inez E. Dickens, Council Member, 9th District, Manhattan
October 12, 2012 - Baton Rouge, LA - Charlie Wilson receives Key to the City by Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle
May 8, 2011 - The County of Allegheny, PA, declares "Charlie Wilson Day" by Councilman Bill Robinson
May 7, 2011 - Atlantic City, NJ - Charlie Wilson receives Key to the City by Mayor Lorenzo Langford
May 6, 2011 - The City of St. Louis, declares "Charlie Wilson Day" and includes a resolution in its minutes commemorating Charlie Wilson's success and accomplishments
May 14, 2010 - The City Council of the City of Pittsburgh declared May 14 "Charlie Wilson Day" for his continued commitment to educating men about the importance of yearly checkups and early screening for prostate cancer.
April 1, 2010 - The Cook County Board of Commissioners in Cook County, IL and Mayor Richard Daly declared April 1 "Charlie Wilson Day."
February 17–27, 2010 - United States Certificate of Appreciation from the Area Support Group – Kuwait, Southeast Asia Tour for Outstanding Support of the Troops
February 18, 2010 - Certificate of Appreciation from the Military Headquarters, Camp Buehring for Outstanding Support to the Troops in Kuwait
November 27, 2009 - City of Buffalo, Executive Chamber Proclamation names November 27, "Charlie Wilson Day"
November 27, 2009 - 100 Black Men Greater Buffalo Chapter Making A Difference Health Award presented to Charlie Wilson
November 2009 - The Soldiers of Fort Hood present a plaque to Charlie Wilson "For Outstanding Support during 'Your Salute to the Troops.'"
July 31, 2009 - Proclamation from the City of Cincinnati to Charlie Wilson for "Pampering the Spirit Of Cancer Survivors and Caregivers."
July 16, 2009 - Indiana Black Expo presented the Rev. Charles R. Williams Excellence Award to Charlie Wilson for his commitment to educating the African American Community about Prostate Cancer.
June 2009 - Tulsa, OK Key To The City presented to Charlie Wilson and the Gap Band
June 2009 - City of Los Angeles, State of California presents The Trailblazer Award to Charlie Wilson
April 6, 2009 - The Prostate Cancer Foundation created The Charlie Wilson Creativity Award which was presented to Adam Dicker, MD, PhD, Karen Knudsen, PhD – Thomas Jefferson University for their work on "Self-Seeding and Radiation Therapy: A New Strategy Against Metastatic Prostate Cancer - Preventing Circulating Prostate Cancer Cells from 'Re-seeding' in the Prostate May Change Behavior of Metastatic Cells.
February 20 – March 1, 2009 - United States Certificate of Appreciation from the Area Support Group – Kuwait, Southeast Asia Tour for Contribution to significantly enhance the morale of the military and civilian personnel assigned and attached to the Area Support Group – Kuwait
February 12, 2009 - Certificate of Appreciation presented to Charlie Wilson from the 3D Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division For Outstanding Support to the Soldiers of the 3DC "Greywolf" Heavy Brigade Combat Team 1st Cavalry Division
June 5, 2008 - American Society of Young Musicians presented the Trailblazer Award to Hall of Fame Inductee Charlie Wilson
June 25, 2005 - Museum of African American History present a plaque to Charlie Wilson and the Gap Band for their Tribute to Black Excellence
February 8, 2004 - 23rd AMIC Grammy Celebration Honors the Gap Band
May 11, 2002 - Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Acting Through Langston University presented to Charlie Wilson an Honorary Master of Fine Arts Degree
June 19, 2001 - Sound City Music Achievement Award (KRNB Radio 105.7) to Charlie Wilson, "In Recognition of Your Outstanding Contribution to the Music Industry"
June 18, 2001 - Distinguished Alumnus Award from Langston University, Langston, OK presented to Charles Kent Wilson
June 18, 2001 - Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame presented to The Gap Band the Award for the Arts & Humanities "In Honor Of Your 25th Year in the Entertainment and Music Industry.
February 19, 2001 - County of Los Angeles Commendation to Charlie Wilson. Congratulations as an honoree of The 20th Annual Pre-Grammy Party