Birmingham SlossFest profile: Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires

Birmingham SlossFest profile: Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires
Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires will play SlossFest July 15. (Shayan Asgharnia)

Performer: Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires

Type of music: Gritty soul (Bradley has been dubbed the “Screaming Eagle of Soul”)

About: Charles Bradley’s debut album was decades in the making. The Brooklyn, New York, native began his music career as a James Brown impersonator in 1967, and had to be plied with gin and pushed onto stage to perform his first show, according to Rolling Stone.

Fast-forward through years of unemployment, ill-fitting jobs, occasional homelessness, the murder of his brother and an allergic reaction to penicillin that almost killed him, all while making periodic live performances. In the early 2000s, Daptone Records co-founder Gabriel Roth caught Bradley’s James Brown act and teamed him with guitarist and producer Tom Brenneck, who has produced Bradley’s three albums. After the release of several singles, Bradley’s album debut came in 2011 – 44 years after his music career started.

Bradley finally had grabbed ahold of the American dream: Critical acclaim for his albums, landing on many year-end best-of lists. A breakthrough performance at the influential SXSW Music Festival. A growing, adoring fan base. Legendary live shows (Paste magazine named Bradley the Best Live Act of 2015.)

Last October, while touring behind the release of his third album, “Changes,” Bradley was forced to cancel the remainder of his shows.

“My doctors recently discovered a cancerous tumor in my stomach,” he said in a statement posted on his website.

“Music is how I share my love with the world, and the love that my fans have given back brings me so much joy,” Bradley said. “I look forward to seeing your gorgeous faces soon, and to continue to share my love through music.”

After months of treatment, Bradley in May announced a North American tour this summer and fall, including a performance at SlossFest on July 15. He will tour Europe in November and December.

“I am so grateful to my beautiful fans and touched by all the love and support they showed me through my crisis and time of sickness,” Bradley said in a statement. “I am honored and glad to be back and am going to give you all of my love.”

You can follow Charles Bradley on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Discography: “No Time for Dreaming,” “Victim of Love,” “Changes”

You might have heard: “Stay Away,” “The World (Is Going Up in Flames)” “Heart of Gold,” “Heartaches and Pain,” “Victim of Love,” “Changes”

Playing at SlossFest: Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires will perform on the Blast stage Saturday, July 15, from 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Sloss Music and Arts Festival takes place at the historic Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham July 15-16 and features 40 performers on four stages. Tickets can be purchased here.

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