A spokesperson for Charles Bradley has announced the death of the renowned soul singer. Reports suggest that the singer died Saturday at the age of 68.
Success comes easy and early to many people. But Charles Bradley was certainly not one of them. He struggled and struggled for decades. He worked as a cook for ten long years and worked odd jobs and there was no sign that he will get that elusive breakthrough.
He first started tasting success when he was in his forties. To be true, this is a time, when many people are at the pinnacle of their career. There is no denying that it was his persistence that finally brought the success to his door.
A statement while announcing the singer’s death said on his Facebook page, “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Charles Bradley. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time…Mr. Bradley was truly grateful for all the love he’s received from his fans and we hope his message of love is remembered and carried on…Thank you for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
Charles Bradley cause of death was cancer. A statement by his representative said, “Always a fighter, Charles battled cancer with everything he had. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the fall of 2016 and underwent treatment. Bradley headed out on the road earlier this year after receiving a clean bill of health but the cancer recently returned, spreading to his liver.”
There is no denying that his story is very inspiring. In 1996, Bradley’s mother called him and asked him to move back in with her in Brooklyn so she could get to know him. It was there he began making a living moonlighting as a James Brown impersonator in local clubs under the name “Black Velvet.” During this time, Bradley experienced more difficulties, including almost dying in a hospital after having an allergic reaction to penicillin, and, in a separate episode, awaking at his mother’s house to a commotion as police and ambulances were arriving to the scene of his brother’s murder, just down the road from there.
It was very late in his when he was discovered by the world. It was in the course of performance as “Black Velvet,” that he was eventually discovered by Gabriel Roth (better known as “Bosco Mann”), a co-founder of Daptone Records. Roth introduced Bradley to Daptone artist and his future producer Tom Brenneck, then the songwriter and guitarist for The Bullets, and later for Menahan Street Band, who invited Bradley to his band’s rehearsal. Bradley asked that the band simply perform while he made up lyrics on the spot. After writing several songs, Daptone released some of these initial recordings on vinyl starting in 2002.
His first album No Time for Dreaming was launched in the year 2011. In the spring of 2012, Soul of America, a documentary directed by Poull Brien, debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Poull Brien first met Bradley when he directed the music video for “The World (Is Going Up In Flames).” This feature film told Bradley’s story from his childhood in Florida, to the days of homelessness and heartache, then later his gigs as Black Velvet, and finally ended with him touring and recording at Daptone Records. The film included his performance at festivals around the world.
Nicknamed the “Screaming Eagle,” Bradley was known for hits like “Changes,” “The World (Is Going Up in Flames)” and “Heartaches and Pain.” His performance on “CBS This Morning: Saturday” last year received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding On-Camera Musical Performance in a Daytime Program.