NMF Artist Spotlight: Charles Bradley

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Charles Bradley’s break has been a slow train coming.

The 63 year-old soul singer has been performing for audiences for over 40 years–the last 20 as a James Brown impersonator under the stage name “Black Velvet.”

Performing day-in and day-out in New York City nightclubs to scratch out living, Bradley’s extraordinary talent and soul was finally recognized by Gabriel Roth, co-founder of Daptone Records.

Bradley was offered a recording contract with Daptone, a label based around revivalist soul/funk acts such as Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, The Sugarman 3 and The Budos Band.

Bradley’s first full-length release, No Time For Dreaming (2011), received rave reviews and ended up on the Rolling Stone and Mojo year-end lists.

A documentary titled Charles Bradley: Soul of America premiered at the 2012 South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, to great praise. The film documents Bradley’s journey to stardom, from his 62nd birthday to his sold-out album release show in New York City.

Bradley, along with the backing band The Extraordinaires, will perform at the Nelsonville Music Festival on Friday, May 18. For more information, visit