Soul singer Charles Bradley died on Saturday. He was 68.
Bradley was diagnosed with cancer last year.
The Brooklyn native, dubbed the “The Screaming Eagle of Soul,” was known for his stirring live performances and heartfelt lyrics.
“Charles was truly grateful for all the love he’s received from his fans and we hope his message of love is remembered and carried on,” Bradley’s label Daptone Records said in a statement. “Thank you for your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
Bradley had been touring in support of his third album “Changes” after cancelling a 2016 round of shows due to his diagnosis.
Bradley grew up poor, raised by his mother in Brooklyn.
He spent decades working odd jobs as he moved around the country.
Throughout his life he would turn to singing as a backup gig.
Bradley found his musical success later in life, eventually playing international festivals including Coachella, Glastonbury and Primavera Sound as well as drawing growing crowds to his solos shows.
(Rich Fury/Getty Images for Arroyo Seco Wee)
He often told the story of going to see his idol, James Brown, at the Apollo Theater in Harlem when he was 14.
In the early 2000s, Bradley was back in New York, playing small clubs as a James Brown impersonator and occasionally taking jobs as a handyman.
Fate led him to on the door of Gabriel Roth, the head of Daptone Records.
“I couldn’t figure out how he knew me or how he got a hold of me. It wasn’t like I had the word out on the street I was looking for him or anything, or singers,” Roth told the blog Wax Poetic in 2014. “He just showed up at my door! And that was that, man. He sounds amazing.”
The two hit it off and began making records together.
The documentary “Charles Bradley: Soul of America,” directed by Poull Brien, followed Bradley’s journey during the transformative months before the 2011 release of his debut album “No Time for Dreaming.”
Bradley’s live shows in support of the album won over audiences around the world.
He soon found himself playing international festivals including Coachella, Glastonbury and Primavera Sound as well as drawing growing crowds to his solos shows.
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Bradley went on to record three albums under the Daptones label, backed by renowned soul and funk outfits The Extraordinaires and the Menahan Street Band.
“RIP to our dear brother Charles Bradley. Your heart was too big for this planet. See you on the other side. We love you,” labelmates Antibalas said in a statement Saturday.
During his time on Daptone, Bradley worked alongside another singer who discovered fame late in life: Sharon Jones.
Jones, a force of nature with a voice to match, died of pancreatic cancer last November. She was 60.
“I’ve had the honor of being completely and utterly blown off stage by both of these sweethearts. RIP Charles Bradley. We miss you, Sharon!” singer Neko Case tweeted Saturday.