Charlie Wilson is truly busy these days. Today (Tuesday, June 30th), he delivers a gift to fans in the form of a book — his memoir, I Am Charlie Wilson.
The R&B Pioneer published an engaging story that cites a variety of life-lessons: Establishing a relationship with God, Forgiveness, Love, Self-love, Music, Family, and Holding your head up high during adversity. The singer, songwriter, and producer also discusses the highs and lows of superstardom as a group member and solo artist, and his battle with substance abuse and homelessness.
Despite Wilson's professional and personal setbacks, he has influenced many R&B and Hip-Hop artists, including Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, R. Kelly, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, and many more with his music, lively spirit, and everlasting faith.
Now, sober for 20 years, Uncle Charlie is still taking the world by storm; releasing seven studio albums, garnering nine Grammy nominations, being the 2013 BET Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and a number of hits that people from all walks of life enjoy listening to.
The R&B legend took time out of his busy touring schedule to converse with Singersroom about the book, family, and overcoming addiction.
Check out our exclusive interview with Uncle Charlie!
The Memoir, I Am Charlie Wilson: My goal when I decided to write the book was to inspire people and let them know that they can get out of a bad situation, especially when they feel like there's no way out. I want people to know my story so that they can be somebody even if they have come across a few hardships in their lives. I feel like once my fans read my book, it will be a gateway for people to start making some changes in their lives. You should get up, try again, and never give up. Like I said before, my overall goal was to inspire and impact their lives when I wrote the book.
Coming Up with the Title for the Book: We tossed up a few ideas as far as the title for the book, and we finally came up with 'I Am Charlie Wilson'. I want to let people know who I am as a person, outside of singing. I want to show my fans how you can get up on your feet and never give up on yourself. When you give up on yourself, everything falls apart; you have to be your number one fan. Many artists decided to publish a book about their lives for exposure, but that was not my intention. Some artists only do it for money, and they become copycats, but God gave me an opportunity to share my story and touch someone's life once they finish reading the book.
Writing About the Darkest Times: It was crazy hard to write about the drugs, alcohol, and homelessness because it was a dark period in my life at that time. It was hard to get through, but I made it through. I didn't want to point a finger at anyone because as you get older, you start taking responsibility for your actions. When I was writing about those things, there were so many emotions, and I had a moment to reflect on that period of my life. I would have my good and bad days because, in those days, I was very loud and bitter. Denene Miller, my co-writer, also encouraged me to express my thoughts and feelings about this specific stage in my life. I would say she definitely challenged me, and that's what I needed. It reminded me that I've come a long way, and I can only keep moving forward in my life.
Living with Regrets: If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. God bumped my head a few times to make me realize that you're better than this, and you have to come out of this dark place [Laughs]. I believe if I would've received more money when I was in the Gap Band, my cocaine habit would've escalated even more. Or if I decided to have a solo career years earlier and leave my brother behind, I wouldn't be where I am today. When I decided to clean up my act and get sober, I believe God wanted me to tell my story so that I can encourage others that you don't have to remain a prisoner. I have a beautiful wife who loves me wholeheartedly, and I am not as stupid as I was back in the day [Laughs].
Performing as a Solo Artists vs. A Group: Back in the days, I missed performing with my brothers. I would look over to my left and right for them because they were always right there with me on stage. Now, as a solo artist, I'm used to performing solo on stage. I got the hang of it, and I like it. My wife gives me two thumbs up when I do a great job on stage or she looks at me sideways if I don't do my best. So, I have her feedback. While I'm on stage, I just let my ideas flow as an entertainer.
Forgiving His Father: Before my father passed away, I got a chance to talk to him, and he was the one that encouraged me to go solo. He was like, 'it's time for me to do it on my own'. He felt like it was my calling. I love my father, and I closed that chapter in my life when I was angry with him. We were able to talk and forgive each other and move on. It wasn't easy, but we did it, and it was the right thing for me to do as a man.
Rebuilding his Relationship with His Daughters: I talk to my daughters and my relationship with them is a lot stronger. They were on the road with me when they were smaller so they were around me when I would perform. They were so happy to see when I got sober and cleaned up. I am just so happy that I can be around for them, alive, healthy, and in good spirits.
The Memoir's Debut in Stores: I had a great publishing company that worked with me, Simon & Schuster. I'm happy that fans will be coming to see me at my book signing, and I will be able to sign their book. I appreciate their love and support. Publishing a book is almost like working on another album because you want the album to be a top seller and also captivate people as well. It's like I'm reaching the number one spot all over again. It just feels good to know that fans support me in any endeavor I decide to do as an artist.
Purchase I Am Charlie Wilson!