Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley

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Birthday: Nov 05, 1948

Birthplace: Gainesville, Florida, USA

Florida native Charles Bradley was a key figure in the 2010s soul revival. Like his Daptone labelmate Sharon Jones, he was a real-deal soul singer who was discovered late in life, and died at the height of his popularity. Bradley was born to a single mother and initially raised by his grandmother; when he was eight his mother returned and moved to Brooklyn with him. By his teenage years he was homeless and living in various shelters; but at age 14 he was able to attend a James Brown show at the Apollo Theater-a key moment in his life. He formed his first band in the late '60s and began playing a Brown-inspired show while working as a cook in Maine. After a spell of hitchhiking he settled in California between 1977-94, still performing under various guises and at times even using the name James Brown Jr. (Another nickname, the Screaming Eagle of Soul, would carry into his later career). His mother's illness brought him back to Brooklyn where he continued performing-now using the stage name Black Velvet-but also experienced some tougher times, including a bout of ill health and the murder of his brother. He was finally discovered by Daptone cofounder Gabriel (Bosco Mann) Roth in 2002, and over the next decade made recordings with different backup groups, and at age 54 Bradley released the single "Take It As It Comes (Parts 1 & 2)"-not just his Daptone debut, but the first recording of his career. Further singles with different backup groups appeared over the next decade, with Daptone guitarist Tom Brenneck becoming his producer and main collaborator. 2011 brought Bradley's first full album, No Time for Dreaming, whose opener "The World (Is Going Up in Flames)" became his signature tune. By now Bradley was moving away from the James Brown homages and writing lyrics that drew from the trials in his own life. The followup, Victim of Love also garnered critical praise, and Bradley's years on the circuit had turned him into a mesmerizing live performer. (He'd formed a band, the Extraordinaries for live shows, while using the Daptone studio crew on discs.) He appeared at Coachella and Lollapalooza, and in 2014 toured with Jones in the Daptone Super Soul Revue, arguably the label's finest hour. Bradley's life was celebrated in Poull Brien's 2012 documentary "Charles Bradley: Soul of America," which underlined the hardships he overcame. He remained close to his mother through her illness, and never married or had children. 2016 brought Bradley's third and final album, Changes, whose title track was a Black Sabbath ballad that he personalized to deal with the loss of his mother. While touring that album he fell ill and was diagnosed with stomach cancer in summer 2016, cancelling a European tour to seek treatment and recovering enough to play some U.S. festival shows in the summer of 2017. Sadly the cancer had spread to his liver and he died September 28, 2017 at age 68.

Photos

Filmography

Movies

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Living on Soul Himself (Character) - 2017
No Score Yet 92% Charles Bradley: Soul of America Unknown (Character) - 2011

TV

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Conan Music Performer 2016
No Score Yet 40% The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Music Performer 2016
No Score Yet No Score Yet CBS This Morning: Saturday Music Performer 2016
No Score Yet 90% American Dad Minstrel Krampus (singing voice) (Guest Voice) 2013
No Score Yet No Score Yet Q With Jian Ghomeshi Music Performer 2013

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