In case you needed a reminder, it’s Charlie, last name Wilson. The 70-year-old R&B and soul legend performed his first NPR Tiny Desk Concert, both celebrating 50 years in music along with longtime sobriety. After starting his set with “Charlie, Last Name Wilson” from his 2005 solo album of the same name, he jumped into ZAPP classic “Computer Love,” also revealing to the audience that he sang background on the 1985 song.
“I’ve been on a lot of records, I’ve sung a lot of duets in pop, rock, hip-hop, and R&B, but I bet you 90 percent of the people in this room don’t know I sang on this record right here,” Wilson said before the “Computer Love” instrumentation began.
Supported by five background vocalists and a seven-piece band, Wilson went on to sing his solo hits (“I’m Blessed,” “There Goes My Baby”), The Gap Band selections (“Yearning for Your Love,” “Outstanding”) along with the Fetty Wap and Ron Isley-assisted remix for “Sweet Yamz.”
A praise break during the 30-minute show also found Wilson rejoicing over his recovery from drug addiction. “I went from rags to riches, riches to rags, then rags to the curb, the curb to homeless,” he said. “Because I was an alcoholic and a crack cocaine addict! But I’m 28 years clean and sober!”
NPR Music will continue its Black Music Month shows with performances from Babyface, Adam Blackstone, Ambre, Amaarae, Brandee Younger, and more special guests. Last year, NPR held month-long engagements for Black Music Month, including sets from Usher, Denzel Curry, FKA Twigs, Monica, Ravyn Lenae, Larry June, Maverick City Music, and others.
Watch the full concert below.
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