Charlie Wilson plans to hit the studio again this month, and the R&B veteran and former Gap Band member has big plans for his follow-up to 2013’s “Love, Charlie.”
“This time I’m gonna go back to some of my favorite nephews who have some really big records out right now,” Wilson tells Billboard. “I’m really excited about working with Pharrell again and Justin Timberlake again and then, of course, Kanye (West). And there’s a lot of people I’ve always wanted to work with — Jimmy Jam and Terry (Lewis), L.A. (Reid) and Babyface, and Teddy Riley. There’s some guys I’ve always wanted to work with that maybe this time around I might get a chance to pull them in.”
Wilson also expects to be working with regular collaborators like Emile Ghantous, Greg Pagani, Wirlie Morris and others.
Sound-wise, Wilson acknowledges that, “I don’t want to stray too far from R&B because that’s what got me here. But at the same time, some of the R&B stuff I did with the Gap Band ended up pop. I’m just going to be true to what it is that made me, and we might stretch the arms a little farther and reach some more people with it, some more genres. I need to speak volumes this next time around, so my label has given me the green light, just, ‘Hey, bring us the record and we got you.’ But I definitely want to stay close to what has made me, and we can sprout from there.”
One song Wilson might consider is a version of West’s “Bound 2.” Wilson is featured on the rapper’s version of the song, but he says the finished product is considerably different than what he first heard in the studio, which opens the possibilities for him.
“The music was a whole lot different,” Wilson notes. “Some of the lyrics are the same, but he changed it up and they kept the hook. It was a more R&B version, and it was just incredible; it reminded me of a 2013 version of (the Gap Band’s) ‘Outstanding,’ the feel of it. (West) said to me, ‘If I was you I would do an R&B version of (‘Bound 2’), so I’m thinking about it. I wouldn’t have to do too much with the verses, and the beat’s incredible. It’s an urban hit for sure.”
Before new music comes out, meanwhile, Wilson will be at this year’s Grammy Awards, where the preacher’s son from Tulsa is up for Best Gospel song for the “Love, Charlie” track “If I Believe.”
“My wife dreamt it before we eve wrote the song,” Wilson says. “She woke up and said, ‘We need to make this record. God showed it to me, and it’s gonna be nominated for a Grammy. Then it got nominated for a BET Award and I was like, ‘What happened?’ And she said, ‘Maybe it was the BET Award I was seeing,’ and I was, ‘No, you said Grammy.’ But it ended up being nominated for a Grammy, which is so incredible. I’m so glad her vision was right.”