Charles Kent Wilson, R&B veteran musician and the former lead vocalist of The Gap Band, popularly known as Uncle Charlie, has become the first artiste to score number one hits in each of the last three decades, according to Billboard.
“Blessed to announce #ForeverValentine is the #1 song at radio on the @Billboard & Mediabase charts! “Thank you to my fans, radio & my team @PMusicGroup! Also BIG congrats to @BrunoMars @Stereotypes & @DMile85! WE DID THAT!, ” he tweeted.
Blessed to announce #ForeverValentine is the #1 song at radio on the @Billboard & Mediabase charts! Thank you to my fans, radio & my team @PMusicGroup! Also BIG congrats to @BrunoMars @Stereotypes & @DMile85! WE DID THAT! 🎉💘https://t.co/oIJWhFF6P9 pic.twitter.com/qRx1XMsonP— Charlie Wilson (@CharlieWilson) May 4, 2020
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His latest single, “Forever Valentine” co-written and co-produced by Bruno Mars, marks Uncle Charlie’s seventh No. 1 entry on Billboard’s Adult R&B charts. He has been described as the man with a voice of gold.
“I am so happy and proud of ‘Forever Valentine,’” he told Billboard. “Bruno had the vision and we always wanted to work together musically. To have a No. 1 song in May with ‘Valentine’ in the title proves what we set out to accomplish in this record. It is actually an ‘Anti-Valentine’s Day’ love song because we want you to celebrate love not just on Valentine’s Day but every day.”
“After 20 years since my first hit as a solo artist, it’s amazing to consistently earn these No. 1 songs. I so appreciate radio and the streaming services for all of their support over the years,” Wilson said.
Apart from and becoming the first artist to reign in each of the last three decades with new No. 1s, with “Valentine,” Wilson ties Maxwell and R. Kelly for the most leaders on the list by a male act in the chart’s 26-year history.
Wilson, a Tulsa, Oklahoma native, has been on the airwaves with new music in five different decades, a feat accomplished only by a few. His longevity has made him a legend for younger artists.
“I’ve been in this game for many years,” the Gap Band co-founder and solo star said. “I’ve had some big hit records and sold a lot of records. But I need to still show people that I’m in it. It’s championship time.”
Speaking with Rowling Stone about his decades of chart success he said: “I’ve watched [singers] since the late Eighties, early Nineties come and go. They see me now, it’s like, ‘Wow, you still got it like that?’ I don’t know no other way to perform. I go hard when I sing. It’s just what I do.”
As a solo artist, Charles Kent Wilson has been nominated for 11 Grammy awards and 10 NAACP Image Awards (including two wins). He is a recipient of a BMI Icon Award in 2005. He received a 2009 Soul Train Icon Award and 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.
In 2013, BET honored Wilson with a Lifetime Achievement Award that was presented to him by Justin Timberlake. Reportedly, Wilson’s 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.
Despite his successes, Uncle Charlie has had some odds-defying life and career, which he chronicled in his 2015 best-selling autobiography, “I Am Charlie Wilson”. He survived drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness and prostate cancer. “I wouldn’t have believed I’d be where I am right now. That’s why I shout every night because I thank God for allowing me to be here,” the singer sad.
Wilson is the national spokesman of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. The foundation has 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.