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Charles Bradley (born November 5, 1948) is an American funk, soul and R&B singer, who experienced a tumultuous life before being recognised as a musical talent, born in Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
Abandoned by his mother at merely eight months of age, Bradley was raised in Gainesville, Florida by his maternal grandmother, before his mother returned eight years later and took him to Brooklyn, New York. Bradley subsequently spent a lot of time on the streets, sleeping in subway cars, however took inspiration from a James Brown performance his sister invited him to in 1962, and instantly wished to become a singer.
The road to success turned out to a long and winding one, Bradley soon joined the federal work program Job Corps, which moved him to Maine and taught the Floridian how to cook. Bradley spent the next 30 years working as a chef in New York, Alaska, and California and performing music on the side, playing where ever he was welcome. After being let-off from his job in California, Bradley moved back to Brooklyn, and performed in such clubs as the Black Velvet, where he earned a loyal following, and eventually caught the attention of Gabriel Roth of Daptone Records.
Bradley’s debut single on Daptone Records “Take It as It Comes” highlighted the singer’s talents and helped form a partnership with Thomas Brenneck. The pair released two singles as Charles Bradley & the Bullets before disbanding, however the two continued to work together with the Menahan Street Band, releasing the singles “The World (Is Going Up in Flames)” and “Heartaches and Pain”.
Bradley made his solo recording debut in 2011 with “No Time for Dreaming” a whopping 49 years after deciding he wanted to become a singer. The album earned a great deal of critical acclaim and Bradley embarked on a relentless tour in support of it. The singer followed the album up in 2013 with the album “Victim of Love” and has frequently been sampled by artists including Jay-Z and Asher Roth.