Soul man Charles Bradley knew he could sing — former band members and friends always told him that. But he just never got the shot, shuttling from one odd job to another. Into his 50s, Bradley was living with his mother in New York and performing as a James Brown interpreter under the name "Black Velvet." When Daptone Records co-founder Gabriel Roth saw him perform, this soul man finally got his shot at fame.
A 62-year-old soul singer, Charles Bradley has a story you can hear in his voice. But for most of his life, he wasn't a singer.
Born in 1948, Bradley spent most of his childhood in Brooklyn. One day, his sister invited him to come to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where she was going to see James Brown. At the time, Bradley didn't know who Brown was, but his sister offered to pay his way.