Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley, 65, was born in Gainesville, Florida.  He was raised by his grandmother until the age of eight when, while meeting his mother for the first time, she told him that she wanted him to come live with her in Brooklyn, NY.  In 1962, his sister took him to the Apollo Theater to see James Brown perform. Bradley was so inspired by the performance that he began to practice mimicking Brown’s style of singing and stage mannerisms at home.  When he was a young teen, Bradley ran away from home and lived on the streets and in subway cars for two years. Later, he enlisted in Job Corps which eventually led him to Maine to work as a chef. One time while working, someone told him he looked like James Brown. Yet when asked if he could sing, he was too afraid to admit it. Eventually he did, however, overcome this fear and performed five or six times with a band. But after his band mates were drafted into the Vietnam War, the act never re-formed.  Bradley worked in Maine as a cook for ten years until deciding to head west, hitchhiking across the country. He lived in upstate New York, Seattle, Canada and Alaska before settling in California.  There, Bradley worked odd jobs and played small shows for 20 years before he was discovered by Daptone’s Gabe Roth…and then, as they say, the rest was history.



  1. I’ve never heard him before…but he does look like James Brown. I like him. And, yes, whyyyyyyy is it so hard to make it in America??? 🙂


  2. lkanigan says:

    What a life and what a story! Good for him.


  3. The man’s got soul (and that James Brown scream, too!) Wow! What a story….


  4. Singing his story. Love it.


  5. Reblogged this on Wholeheartedness and commented:
    Nothing like good blues…


  6. I think his story almost trumps the singing of it – I want to talk with him. And ‘yes’ to all the other comments about the James Brown parallel.


  7. wow that´s what I call music!


  8. That’s a great question.


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