Uncle Charlie is back with his seventh studio album, Forever Charlie, which features the hit singles, “Goodnight Kisses,” and “Touched By An Angel.” The set also features collaborations with rapper Snoop Dogg and reggae artist Shaggy. The Forever Charlie album was a way for Uncle Charlie to let his fans know that he will not be retiring anytime soon, because of his love and gratification for music. He continues to pour his heart and soul on the new album and most will say Uncle Charlie’s music nourishes the soul. The album also allows listeners to relive some of the music from the Gap Band because people want to get on the dance floor. Even though Uncle Charlie continues to stay true to himself as a musician and a person, he embraces versatility in his music as well.
The “Goodnight Kisses” and 9 x Grammy nominee conversed with Singersroom two days before his birthday about the new album, and his tour with Kem and Joe.
Check out our exclusive interview with our favorite Uncle!
Concept for the New Album, Forever Charlie: You know, I’ve been around forever, so I don’t want to ever go away. In the world we live in, we use the word “forever” a lot, I just believe I’m going to be around forever. I don’t want anybody to forget who I am, so my better days are ahead of me and I’m going to be around forever. I just thought it would be a fitting title for the album. Forever Charlie, I’m going to be here and I’m just getting started again.
Forever Charlie versus Other LPs: I took the same approach, celebrating women, and I know as men, we put up with a lot too. But, it’s mostly the women that put up with a lot, and they have been degraded and talked about on records. So again, I like to celebrate women and say things from a woman’s perspective. My wife gives me feedback as to what women want to hear or what you should say about a woman. She will say to me, ‘you should say this or you don’t want to say this’, or ‘you don’t look like a pervert’. She’ll say just make some great music. But, I want this album to be a little more up tempo too, and have some funk style to it from when I was in the Gap Band. I just want to make sure I’m saying something to all of my fans that they can relate to and have some fun. I was reading a review the other day and the reviewer was from the New York Times, I believe, and he said you can tell he wasn’t trying so hard to have a radio record. He wasn’t trying, it was great music. They gave me five stars because the music was real, top to bottom. I just wanted to make some great music that people can listen to on the album. I was in a car a few minutes ago and a Jamaican guy was driving me here and I was playing my CD while we were driving. We got out to do a couple of things and when I got back in the second time, he said to me, I just want to say this to you man, this is the first time ever I listened to a CD and I didn’t want to skip it. I heard it twice and I didn’t have to skip anything. He was like the album flowed so well, and I just said thank you. I want people to feel and embrace the music. The Jamaican guy said I like that Shaggy record; I like that one a lot, but I just wanted to tell you that I didn’t have to skip any of the songs. It’s been a long time that I had a CD, and I didn’t have to skip it.
Direction for the Album: I have to be subliminal; I can’t be in-front saying things, because I have to watch what I say. So, if I can say it in a subliminal form, that’s what we are going to do on the record. Some people are like, what is he trying to say or why he singing those kinds of lyrics, so I have to add a few things and let people figure it out later on. It’s good, and I am having fun doing it. So those songs like “Sugar.Honey.Ice.Tea,” the area and time that the Gap Band was hot, it was time to bring some of that flavor back in the music. Let’s make people dance!
Working with Shaggy on "Unforgettable": Working with Shaggy was cool. He already did his parts for the song back in Jamaica, but I didn’t receive it. It was some level of miscommunication with the producer. He was upset about it, so he flew to Los Angeles. He said give me two days, I’ll be there. And when he got there, we did the whole song over; we did his part over. We had a great time. Shaggy is a cool guy. He’s easy and happy, and he put his love and time in his music. You know how people just arrogantly want to put their parts on records and just leave. I never had to witness that kind of approach with any artist I’ve ever worked with in the studio. But it wasn’t like that with Shaggy; we were cracking jokes and just had a great time together for hours. It was good; I got some real strong love for Shaggy. It was my first time really meeting him. It’s Unforgettable, man!
"Infectious" Record with Tha Doggfather, Snoop Dogg: Snoop is family; I’m on his new album. I don’t know if it’s out yet, but I’m on that album. So many songs with Snoop, Pharrell; all of those guys really opened the book to me and I’m just ready to work. Our relationship is so bonded and so tight; it’s just a natural and progressive feeling. When I am in the room coming to see Snoop, it’s just a beautiful thing. I used to fuss with him, and I said I’m always singing on your album, why y’all not coming to sing on my album? But he did get on a couple of CDs. I was just fussing with him out of love and sometimes they take it seriously and they say, ‘Oh, no, I got you Uncle’. He comes in and he says, ‘Unc, that Infectious record, I’m about to lay it down’. And I say that’s what I’m talking about, and Snoop was so happy to be on that record. The R&B version of the record without him was so crazy funky, and so we were like let’s put Snoop on the record and it was cool.
Releasing The Album Close to Your Birthday: I think it’s a coincidence, but it happened the last couple of years in a row with the records coming out around my birthday. It’s great, but we really didn’t plan it. It seems like it happened like this again. With this album, it happened naturally.
Charlie & Mahin's 20th Wedding Anniversary: My wife is fantastic; we're together all the time. All day, every day, 24 hours a day. I mean, we go everywhere, except when I have to go to the bathroom, she's not going in there, but we do it together. It's a beautiful thing; this year would be 20 years of marriage. I told Shante (Snoop's wife) at the dinner table, we were having dinner at my house, and she said how you and Auntie stay together for so long? I told her, Shante, we do everything together, all day, every day, 24 hours a day. She looked at me and stopped and said, "Uncle Charlie, I don't know if I can do 24 hours a day. And she said what you do when you get on each other’s nerves and I told her that's the growing part, because you get to know what your partner like and don't like about you and vice versa. It's the best part about it because it latches on each other, and it's inseparable. When Mahin says, "I have to go and pray, we are praying together because we are together and we're one." It's just a blessing, hands down!
Mahin as an Influence for the Forever Charlie album: I'm in the studio, doing vocals, and she's always there. Around 30 minutes later, she says to me, umm, excuse me, and I’m like, can I just get warmed up first? Mahin says yes, but you’re singing with no feeling, you just going through the motions. You have to sing the song. And then I looked at the producer and he says, you have to sing this thing, man! And then she says, ‘you have to make me feel it, I’m a woman. Come on, you just skating through’. I said I’m just getting started. And Mahin says, I know, I know, I’m not trying to be hard on you, but I’m saying let’s go. Then another 30 minutes go by and Mahin says that’s what I’m talking about, now you’re singing me out of the other room.
Why It’s Essential to Have God in Your Life: You have to put God first in everything that you do and I say that at every concert. I say how much God has been good to me, I have a testimony and I testify. You have to understand something, when you look at me and if you know anything about me, God has blessed me to be here, so I will testify and have a little church for a couple of minutes and then it’s time to get back to work. But, I think you should have God in your life every day, and put him first in everything that you do because he will give you your biggest desires. Whatever you ask for in prayer and you believe it, you can receive it. Anything that you want to do in prayer, you can achieve it, so you have to empty your house. I don’t owe the devil anything because he tries to give me stuff and take it back. A house without debt, your blessings will come like an avalanche abundantly. People are always like, ‘I want this and that’, so ask God for it. Ask God for it and watch how you get it. You may not get it when you want it, but I guarantee it’s going to be there. You ask God, he doesn’t take blessings, he gives you blessings. He is in the blessing business; he doesn’t give and then take back.
Touring with Kem & Joe: Oh my gosh, Joe and Kem, man it’s a beautiful thing. Joe is a great gift to this world. Kem, another one; he wants to share his love, share his life. These guys are beautiful gifts to the world. I got some of the best God-gifted vocalists on the road with me for this tour. “Forever Charlie tour” with Joe and Kem; it’s a beautiful thing. It’s going to be the biggest R&B tour, I’ll be in New York on March 5th at the Barclays Center and we are about to shut it down.
When I started putting the tour together, so many different came up, and then when those names popped up, I was like there you go, Joe and Kem. As soon as I asked Joe and Kem to join me on tour, they were like yes, let’s go. It’s a great setup, a great tour. I always tell people, listen, don’t let your girlfriend or wife tell you in front of your boys that you missed the show. I said, you need to take your girl to the show. I have some kibbles and bits if you don’t because you will be in the biggest doghouse. If you miss this show, you will be in the doghouse; I have the dog food for you (lol), and I will add some water for you because love is going down on this tour. It’s a massive tour, and there’s going to be some babies after this tour. ‘Goodnight Kisses’ doesn’t mean kissing your girl good night.
Delivering a Special Message to Fans about the Tour & Album: My name is Uncle Charlie, I am your Uncle. I am your favorite Uncle, there’s no other uncle. I will be around forever and I am just getting started. I’m going to give you great music all the time; I’m not doing anything different. I just want to have some fun. If you never saw Charlie Wilson on stage, you are missing out. You need to check me out and listen to other people because they are going to brag, but you need to come and see for yourself. You will go out saying the same things everyone has said about the Charlie Wilson concert. There is only one Uncle Charlie, and I am here to stay!