“The love child of James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Rick James, Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye and Randy Newman.” That’s how singer/songwriter Charles Perry unabashedly describes the DNA behind the dynamic fusion of pop, soul and funk on his EP, The Soul Superhero.
Released Friday (Sept. 25), the Verve Records project is comprised of four tracks: “Apologize,” “What I’m Looking For,” “Panty Drop” and “Stranger to Love.” Tiesto’s remix of the latter track has racked up nearly 2 million Spotify plays.
Perry also joins Ne-Yo, Ariana Grande, Tori Kelly and more on the compilation We Love Disney. Those who pre-order the Oct. 30 release now will instantly receive Perry’s contribution on the album, “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” from the Aristocats.
Brooklyn native Perry’s résumé includes backing vocals for a who’s who in music, among them Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Usher, and Luther Vandross. Currently working on his full-length debut, Perry collaborated with producers Neff U (Jackson, Dr. Dre), Freddy Wexler (Lil Wayne, Avicii), Jason Evigan (Maroon 5, Jason Derulo) and David Foster (Earth, Wind & Fire, Houston) on The Soul Superhero.
“Charles has the depth and sensuality of Marvin Gaye mixed with the theatrics of Freddie Mercury,” says Foster, who is also chairman of Verve Music Group. Adds Wexler, “When I listen to artists, I look at the hair on my arms. If it stands up, I go for it. That’s what happened with Charles.”
The title of Perry’s EP is borrowed from the singer’s childhood nickname. Growing up, he would watch his grandfather, a member of the Brooklyn doo-wop group the Jive Five, perform at the Apollo Theater and Radio City Music Hall. During rehearsals in his grandparents’ living room, he would don a cape, stand on a table and start singing.
“I’m living my dream,” Perry tells Billboard. “My music comes from raw energy. The Soul Superhero is some intergalactic crazy funk … and it’s my truth.” The EP is currently available on iTunes here.
Watch Perry discuss the track “Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat” and his involvement with the We Love Disney soundtrack below.