Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Veteran of R&b, Soul to Play the Pru Center

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Veteran of R&b, Soul to Play the Pru Center

Article excerpt

Rhythm-and-blues great Charlie Wilson sees himself as both an elder statesmen and current force in the world of slow jams and upbeat dance grooves, an influential singer and songwriter whose music is timeless and ever evolving.

"My music continues to grow with me and I with it," Wilson said. "I named my new album 'Forever Charlie' because my wish is for my music to live on forever. I was focused on creating music that people will listen to now and still will listen to 30 years from now."

Wilson, who came to fame as frontman for R&B, funk and soul pioneers The Gap Band in the 1970s and '80s, performs Saturday at the Prudential Center in Newark. "Forever Charlie," the singer's seventh solo album, was released in January and hit No. 2 on the Billboard R&B chart and No. 17 on the Top 200 albums chart.

"Timeless soul, R&B and funk won't ever go out of style because there's so much feeling attached to it," said Wilson, 62. "It evokes emotion and people crave the feeling that comes with it."

Wilson also sees his music as transformative, with its fluid rhythms serving as a jumping-off point for hip-hop. "I do feel that I am the bridge between hip-hop and R&B," Wilson said.

He has collaborated with many hip-hop and rap artists, including longtime friend Snoop Dogg and Kanye West. "There is a special flavor that some of the young guys want and they feel that I bring that to their projects," Wilson said. "It's a compliment and I enjoy working with them."

Wilson's partnership with West on the latter's track, "Bound 2," received two Grammy nominations this year. Overall Wilson is a nine- time Grammy nominee. On "Forever Charlie," Snoop Dogg and reggae rapper Shaggy guest on standout tracks "Infectious" and "Unforgettable," respectively. Other album highlights include the smooth Top 10 single, "Goodnight Kisses," and upbeat opener, "Somebody Loves You."

An Oklahoma native, Wilson joined forces with The Gap Band, which included his brothers Robert and Ronnie, in 1972. …

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