Best Of

Best R&B Artist

by

If you ever want to cry a gush of happy tears, we suggest you make your way to the documentary Soul of America, about New York City soul singer Charles Bradley. In it, you’ll discover the man’s hardscrabble life — from homeless teen to drifter adult seeking work — which led to his inexplicably (though thankfully) trying his hand at impersonating James Brown, which he did spectacularly and semi-professionally for years under the name Black Velvet. But the time came when Bradley wanted to express his own inner sadness and turmoil. “God, please help me, move my feelings aside so I can get these words out of me!” is how he put it to us last year when his album Victim of Love came out, and that quest brought him to the doors of venerable Brooklyn soul label Daptone, who understood immediately what an incredible voice and talent had appeared before them, waiting to be tapped. The rest is well known. Bradley can frequently be seen around town, either playing packed-to-the-gills gigs at Celebrate Brooklyn or Lincoln Center Out of Doors, when he and his band aren’t traveling the world. The demand for the “Flying Eagle of Soul,” as he’s called, has never been higher, and we couldn’t be happier. Fly, Eagle. Fly.