What happens when two busy talents finally find time to collaborate on a song? “Magic,” declares Charlie Wilson as the R&B/funk icon talks about his new single, “Forever Valentine.” The infectious romantic romp was co-written and co-produced by Bruno Mars.
iHeartMedia will world premiere “Forever Valentine” on its urban AC radio stations nationwide this Friday (Jan. 17). The track will play at the top of every hour from 10:00 a.m. local time to 11:00 p.m. local time. Released through P Music Group and distributed by BMG, “Forever Valentine” will also become available at all major DSP’s on the same day.
“I’ve been having so much fun with this record,” says Wilson of his and Mars’ creative combustion, which initially went through some stop-and-go moments owing to their respective jam-packed schedules. “We talked about the song’s vibe for a while, put a chorus down and then didn’t see each other for a while,” he continues. “Then we ended up on the road together [both performed at London’s Hyde Park Festival in 2018; Wilson also played select dates on the final leg of Mars’ 24K Magic World Tour later that year]. We’d sing every day at lunch time as we further hashed out the song.”
Mars co-produced “Forever Valentine” with Grammy-winning production team The Stereotypes (co-writers/co-producers of Mars’ Grammy-winning song of the year “That’s What I Like”) and D’Mile. The three parties also co-wrote the song with Wilson, Micah Powell and Seth Reger. Ratcheting up the track’s fun quotient are backing vocals by Mars, Wilson and James Fauntleroy, among others.
Prior to “Forever Valentine,” Wilson scored his sixth No. 1 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs airplay chart in 2018 with “Chills” from the singer-songwriter’s In It to Win It album. The track went on to spend six weeks atop that tally. In all, per Nielsen Music/MRC Data, the 13-time Grammy nominee has garnered 23 hits on the aforementioned chart, stretching back to 2000’s No. 2 hit “Without You.”
A favorite perennial on the tour circuit, Wilson will fittingly perform next on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Also on his concert itinerary are stops at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. (Feb. 15), Pechanga Casino in Temecula, Calif. (Feb. 16), Jazz in the Gardens festival in Miami Gardens, Florida (March 14) and Sol Fest Los Cabos in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (April 27).
In the meantime, Wilson is anxious for fans to hear the magic that he and Mars have conjured up. “Bruno is a firecracker; high energy like me on the stage,” he says with a laugh. “We talk about that all the time as we have a lot of admiration and respect for each other. It’s a beautiful thing when two people have that kind of connection. Nothing but great things can come of that.”