Charlie Wilson: In It To Win It
If James Brown was the hardest-working man in show business, Charlie Wilson is running a close second in the latest chapter of his life. Currently on tour, Wilson is one of the most electrifying and energetic performers in the business. Since his days as the front man of the legendary Gap Band, Mr. “First name Charlie, last name Wilson” has been blessed with an almost nonstop career of music hits, thanks in part to artists like Pharrell, Snoop, Justin Timberlake and Kanye West who’ve helped keep his voice and legacy fresh with a new generation of listeners.
The 63-year-old 11-time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter and Lifetime Achievement Award winner is still singing, dancing, and touring around the world — probably more than any artist half his age.
His new tour is called the “In It To Win It” tour and his new single is entitled, “I’m Blessed,” which directly speaks to Wilson’s road to recovery and his struggles with disease.
After the Gap Band parted ways with their manager and split their publishing deal with him in 1986, the band, still under contract, had trouble finding new management. With little money coming in and frustrations mounting, Wilson turned to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope, leading him to a life on the streets of Los Angeles for nearly two years.
“I was sleeping in trucks, cars, parking lots, and I’d have a shopping cart with some plastic around it; a brick for my pillow and a piece of carpet. That’s what I laid on.”
It was a cousin that he used to get high with who tracked him down and started him on the path to recovery.
“She was just crying so, so bad and she just hugged me for, you know, at least thirty seconds and she wouldn’t let go,” Wilson recalls. “And then when she let go she looked at me and she said, ‘Cuz, you dying out here.’ I was like, ‘I ain’t dyin’!’ and she took out a mirror and showed me myself. I was like, whoa, who the hell is that? And I looked so bad, my skin was all patchy and dry and I’m a grown man and I was weighing a hundred and fifteen pounds.”
Wilson was sick and tired of being sick and tired and didn’t resist when his cousin put him in rehab. While in rehab, his social worker was his angel. “She said, ‘I’ll help you. I won’t let your feet hit the ground.’ She got me a house, filled it up with furniture, everything, man. This woman I didn’t know from Adam.”
When he graduated from the program, that woman became his wife. Wilson and Mahin Tat have been married for over 20 years now. They are both thankful for the resurgence of his career and thank God for living the blessed life.
“I am excited about my new single, ‘I’m Blessed,’ because it says exactly where I am in my life, blessed to still be making music that people want to hear” states Wilson. “2016 has been a tough year for so many people around the world…