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Charles Bradley: An Artist 60 Years in the Making


One of the biggest themes regarding a rising new artist is our amazement over their age – and generally, how young they are.  Charles Bradley defies everything you thought you knew about the music industry.  It wasn’t until the age of 62 that he released his debut album, but he’s slowly proving to the world that you don’t have to be young and fresh to be a hit.

Charles Bradley didn’t live the life that most popular artists do these days.  He didn’t attend a performing arts school and he didn’t carefully hone his craft with lesson after lesson.  Bradley really began to sing when he saw James Brown perform, but he chose a different path of life before exploring a musical option.

Two years spent homeless and living on trains and a lifetime spent working odd jobs, Charles Bradley seems the least likely candidate for a record deal.  That is until he was spotted moonlighting as a James Brown impersonator by the co-owner of Daptone Records.  His first album No Time For Dreaming released in 2011 and was filled with 60s and 70s inspired soul music which earned him the titled “The Screaming Eagle of Soul”.  After his album was released, Bradley had a whirlwind career.  He was listed on Rolling Stone’s Top 50 Albums of 2011 and performed in 17 countries and 3 continents in his first year on tour.

His success didn’t stop and a film dedicated to his extraordinary life Charles Bradley: Soul of America premiered last year at SXSW.  With the film garnering extra attention for the artist, as well as his performances during his tour earning praise, Charles Bradley will be releasing his next album on April 2.

Charles Bradley proves that you’re never too old to give up on your dreams.  “You’re never too old until you’re in the ground,” he says. “When I stop singing and dancing, it’s time to go home to a greater afterlife.”

Mackenzie is an Alabama native attending NYU and studying Journalism and Dramatic Literature. She hopes to one day live in London and write for the BBC.