Growing up in a musical household proved to be tricky for Charlie Wilson, a black young man growing up in Tulsa in the 1950s and 60s. There wasn’t such a thing “as black radio in Tulsa,” there was one radio station where Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra reigned supreme. His mother, a devout Christian, “would call any music that wasn’t gospel—the blues.” So if he wanted to expose himself to the likes of Otis Redding, the Temptations, James Brown and Sam Cooke he would have to go next door to his neighbor, Miss Hanna’s, and there was where his love affair with music began.
“I Am Charlie Wilson” is a candid look into the life of the R&B and funk legend, Charlie Wilson. The memoir is interspersed with music lyrics from the legendary Gap Band and tales from the road and behind the music scene. His impressive journey includes his battle with substance abuse and how his faith carried him through not only his addiction, but also prostate cancer.
The founding member of The Gap Band and seven-time Grammy nominated artist proclaims, “Singing the blues didn’t kill me after all. Music, my gift, helped me to soar, dropped me to my lowest of lows, and resurrected me in ways immeasurable…”