Charlie Wilson just became the first artist to rule the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs and Adult R&B Songs airplay charts with different songs simultaneously. He’s just the third artist to lead the lists in the same week at all, joining only Marvin Sapp and Kirk Franklin.
“I am overwhelmed with joy and can’t help but say I’m blessed,” Wilson tells Billboard.
On Hot Gospel Songs (dated April 14), Wilson’s “I’m Blessed,” featuring T.I., returns to No. 1 for the first time since the July 8-dated chart, scoring its fifth week atop the streaming-, airplay- and sales-based tally. Over on the Adult R&B airplay chart, Wilson’s “Chills” also returns to No. 1, for a second total week on top, having first led the March 31-dated list.
Sapp and Franklin led both charts simultaneously with a single song each. Sapp first achieved such a double domination when “Never Would Have Made It” led both surveys dated July 26, 2008. The track spent a record 46 weeks at No. 1 on Hot Gospel Songs, while that frame marked its lone week atop Adult R&B Songs.
Franklin followed in June 2011, as “I Smile” spent three consecutive weeks at No. 1 on both charts simultaneously. It spent 23 total weeks at No. 1 on Hot Gospel Songs and three atop Adult R&B Songs.
Wilson says that he isn’t surprised that only two other artists have topped both charts at the same time. “It takes a lot of work to get to No. 1 on either of these charts nowadays, especially on the adult chart, which has become even more competitive considering many mainstream acts like Bruno Mars, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran are also able to come over and chart in the only format that plays adult R&B music.”
“I’m Blessed” additionally breaks the record for the longest gap — just over nine months — between stints at No. 1 on Hot Gospel Songs. Hezekiah Walker’s “Every Praise” previously held the mark six five months between November 2013 and May 2014. “Blessed” is the first No. 1 on Hot Gospel Songs for both Wilson and T.I. (“Chills” is Wilson’s sixth Adult R&B Songs leader.)
While T.I. might seem like a surprising choice for a collaboration, Wilson says that the rapper was his first pick for “Blessed.” “I knew from the start that I wanted someone who was strong in the streets and had been through some trying times to testify with me. [T.I.] was filming a movie at the time, but we sent him the song and he loved it, so he came to the studio that same night after he was done filming to record his verse.
“His verse added another element to the song and it turned out exactly how I imagined.”