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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
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Babyface (born Kenneth Brian Edmonds; April 10, 1959) is an American R&B musician, singer-songwriter, and record producer. He has written and produced over 26 No. 1 R&B hits throughout his career, and has won 11 Grammy Awards.
Edmonds was born on April 10, 1959, in Indianapolis, Indiana, to Marvin and Barbara Edmonds. Barbara was a production operator at a pharmaceutical plant. Edmonds, who is the fifth of six brothers (including future After 7 band members Melvin and Kevon Edmonds, the latter of whom went on to have a modestly successful solo career), attended North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, and as a shy youth, wrote songs to express his emotions. When he was in eighth grade, Edmonds' father died of lung cancer, leaving his mother to raise her sons alone. At this stage, Edmonds became determined to have a career in music.
Edmonds later played with funk performer Bootsy Collins, who tagged him "Babyface" because of his immature face while he was still a teen. He also performed in the group Manchild (which had a 1976 hit "Especially for You" with band member Daryl Simmons), as he was a guitarist for the band. Then, as a keyboardist in the light-funk and R&B group The Deele (which also included drummer Antonio "L.A." Reid, with whom he would later form a successful writing and producing partnership). One of his first major credits as a songwriter for outside artists came when he wrote the tune "Slow Jam" for the R&B band Midnight Star in 1983. The tune was on Midnight Star's double-platinum No Parking on the Dance Floor album, and while it never was a single, it received massive radio airplay and the song is still played on quiet storm radio stations. Babyface remained in The Deele until 1988, when both he and Reid left the group.
His album Playlist consists of eight cover songs and two original works. It was released on September 18, 2007. It was the first album on the newly re-launched Mercury Records label.
On February 4, 2014, he released a duets album with Toni Braxton titled Love, Marriage & Divorce on Motown Records after numerous release date changes.
Writing and producing
In the late 1980s, he contributed to the creation of new jack swing, writing and producing music for the likes of Bobby Brown, Karyn White, Pebbles, Paula Abdul and Sheena Easton.
In 1989, Edmonds co-founded LaFace Records with Reid. Three of the label's early artists TLC, Usher, and Toni Braxton were successful, the former becoming one of the best selling female groups in music history. Braxton's eponymous 1993 debut album went on to sell over eight million copies, and earned her the 1994 Grammy Award Best New Artist. TLC's first two albums on LaFace—1992's Ooooooohhh... On the TLC Tip and 1994's CrazySexyCool—combined to sell more than 15 million copies in the U.S. CrazySexyCool won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best R&B album.
Babyface helped form the popular late-90s R&B group Az Yet. Edmonds also helped to mold and work closely with some of his former wife Tracey Edmonds acts such as Jon B and producer Jon-John Robinson.
Edmonds works with many successful performers in contemporary music. "I'm Your Baby Tonight," produced for Whitney Houston, was his first No. 1 Top 40 hit in the US. He also wrote and produced Boyz II Men's "End of the Road" and "I'll Make Love to You," both of which established records for the longest stay at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He co-wrote, co-produced, and provided backing vocals on Madonna's 1994 Bedtime Stories, which featured the 7-week No. 1 hit "Take a Bow," and shared billing with Eric Clapton on the chart-topping Grammy winner "Change the World" from the Phenomenon soundtrack. He also wrote and produced the No. 1 hit "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)" for Whitney Houston as well as the rest of the critically acclaimed 10 million selling Waiting to Exhale soundtrack in 1995, which spawned additional hits for Houston, Brandy and Mary J. Blige.
Additionally, Edmonds has produced and written music for many artists including Carole King, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Faith Evans, Al Green, Beyoncé, Diana Ross, Sheena Easton, Toni Braxton, Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, Paula Abdul, Eric Clapton, Pebbles, Tevin Campbell, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Tamia, Shola Ama, 3T, Sisqó, Dru Hill, Fall Out Boy, Céline Dion, Honeyz, Katharine McPhee, Mariah Carey, Vanessa L. Williams, Chanté Moore, En Vogue, Kenny G, Kristinia DeBarge, Lil Wayne, Japanese singer Ken Hirai, P!nk, Marc Nelson, TLC, Ariana Grande, Jessica Mauboy, and Phil Collins among others. He received three consecutive Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year in 1995–1997.
Babyface was in the studio for about two years with Ashanti to produce her album The Declaration.
He worked on the Lil Wayne album Tha Carter III, on the Kanye West-produced "Comfortable." He also worked with R&B singer Monica for her sixth studio album Still Standing.
In 2013, Babyface served as producer for Ariana Grande's debut album Yours Truly, producing majority of her songs, including her second single, "Baby I".
In September 2014, Babyface served as collaborator for Barbra Streisand's album Partners, performing duet for "Evergreen" track and background vocals for other album tracks.
Acting career and film producing
In 1994, he appeared and performed on an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 entitled "Mr. Walsh Goes to Washington (Part 2)".
In the mid-1990s, Edmonds and his then wife Tracey Edmonds expanded into the business of motion pictures, setting up Edmonds Entertainment Group and producing films such as Soul Food (1997), Josie and the Pussycats (2001), and also the soundtrack for the film The Prince of Egypt, which included contributions from numerous artists, including Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. They also executive produced the BET reality series College Hill. Edmonds also worked with David Foster to compose "The Power of the Dream," the official song of the 1996 Summer Olympics, performed by superstar Céline Dion. Linda Thompson provided the lyrics.
Babyface also participated as a duet partner on the Fox reality show Celebrity Duets.
Soda Pop Records
Edmonds founded his record label Soda Pop Records in 2009. Since founding the label he has signed R&B icons K-Ci & JoJo, releasing their first album for the label entitled My Brother's Keeper. In 2013 Babyface secured a distribution deal with E1 Music for the label.
K-Ci & JoJo
Babyface married his first wife during his young adult years. Later on, in 1990, Babyface met Tracey Edmonds when she auditioned for the music video "Whip Appeal". They married on September 5, 1992 and they have two sons, Brandon and Dylan Michael. In January 7, 2005, Tracey filed for divorce in Los Angeles County Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences. In October 2005, Babyface and Tracey finally announced that they were ending their marriage of thirteen years.
In 2007, Babyface began dating his backup dancer Nicole "Nikki" Pantenburg (former dancer and personal friend of Janet Jackson). In September 2008, Babyface and Nicole welcomed a daughter, Peyton Nicole Edmonds. The pair married on May 17, 2014.
On December 2, 2012, Babyface worked at a local Nathan's for charity. All proceeds went to Toys for Tots.
In 1999, a 25-mile (40-km) stretch of Interstate 65 that runs through Indianapolis was renamed Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds Highway.