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Charles Bradley

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Charles Bradley is no stranger to hard times. Born in Gainesville, Florida in 1948 and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Charles spent the better part of his childhood living on the streets. One of the more optimistic moments of his childhood came in 1962, when his sister took him to see James Brown at The Apollo. Brown’s energy formed a lasting impression on Charles. He went home and immediately began practicing microphone tricks with a broom attached to a string, imitating the Godfather’s every move. With his newfound inspiration came an urgent desire to get off the streets and make something of himself.

Charles made his way out of Brooklyn via Job Corps, a federal program for helping underprivileged families. His job placement took him to Bar Harbor, Maine where he learned to cook. While in Maine, he put together a band and began to pursue his passion for performing. He had his first taste of the stage when he was asked to perform for some female employees of Job Corps in Poland Springs. The ladies went wild and Charles knew that he was destined to be an entertainer. Unfortunately, his fate was put on hold when his band mates were drafted in the Vietnam War, and he was forced to find work as a chef in Wassaic, New York at a hospital for the mentally ill.

After nine years cooking for 3500 people a day, being harassed by local police officers, and having no musical outlet, Charles decided to leave Wassaic and head west in search of a dream.

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