Charlie Wilson’s Words of Wisdom

February 07, 2013 | by —LIANA LOZADA | Homepage

The eighth annual Jazz in the Gardens music festival will return to Sun Life Stadium March 16 and 17 with performances by both old and new school talents such as Ne-Yo, Earth Wind & Fire, and American Idol winner Fantasia. R&B trailblazer and multiple Grammy nominee Charlie Wilson will be among the headliners. Though he rose to fame as a member of The Gap Band, Wilson continues to evolve his craft and solo career, building on decades of experience. The first single, "My Love Is All I Have," off his new album, Love, Charlie, is currently number one on the Billboard Urban Adult Contemporary Singles Chart.

Despite his continued success, Wilson is no stranger to adversity, overcoming drug addiction in the mid ’90s and also recently beating prostate cancer. Wilson channeled his experiences into his new album. "When I thought about all the challenges I have been faced with and the blessings that have helped me overcome them, I realized that love was the consistent thing in my life," says Wilson. "There is so much going on in the world today, so many negative things [happening], and I wanted to give something back to the folks that support me and realized that love was that something."

His giving back is not only evident in his music, but also in his philanthropic efforts. Wilson is a national spokesperson for the Prostate Cancer Foundation and has organized multiple trips to the Middle East to perform for deployed U.S. troops. Wilson also wants to help reshape the way women are portrayed by popular music. "It is important to me to continue to uplift women. There is so much music out there that calls women [disrespectful] names and I wanted to show young people and some adults that women need to be respected and cared for."

As an industry veteran, Wilson has also seen the music business evolve for better and for worse. "As far as production is concerned, there are so many producers who work strictly using technology. I personally prefer the old school style of production and use real musicians when I can," Wilson explains. "There is also no media training. Some artists don't get an opportunity to work with someone to show them how to perform and keep an audience entertained."

But Wilson is at home in the studio with his contemporaries, performing on tracks with Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West. "As far as the distribution of music is concerned, that's an entirely new ball game," says Wilson. "I've been blessed to have worked with Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, and some other contemporary artists, and through the internet their fans have become my fans."

As for his upcoming appearance at Jazz in the Gardens? "I love playing the Jazz in the Gardens show. I did an interview a few weeks ago with host Michael Baisden and we talked about how much fun we are going to have. It's going to be a blast and I can't wait to get there. We are going to have one heck of a party!"

Ticket tiers to the eighth annual Jazz at the Gardens begin at $57 and may be purchased online.

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