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Everybody's uncle, Charlie Wilson, wages war on prostate cancer

for Journal Register Newspapers

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After a pair of high-charting, Grammy Award-nominated solo albums -- 2009's "Uncle Charlie" and 2010's "Just Charlie" -- Charlie Wilson says he's approaching his next project with both confidence and apprehension.

"It's scary when you have to beat yourself every time and top what you did last time," says Wilson, 59, the former Gap Band singer who's been putting out solo albums since 1992. "So this one might take a little bit of time.

"Right now we're just trying to get some midtempos and some ballads. I know people like ballads. Ballads are timeless. Uptempo things come and go and fit the era, but I'm going after it, man. I want stuff that has staying power."

Wilson has plenty of other things going on while fans wait for the album. He launched a line of Uncle Charlie's Hats for men and women in February, selling them via his web site and in stores. And he's stepped up his role in prostate cancer prevention and awareness, still serving as a national spokesman for the Prostate Cancer Foundation and also joining forces with Janssen Biotech for a Making Awareness a Priority campaign (M.A.P.) that particularly targets the African-American men in his audience.

"I know I've made a difference in the community but I don't believe everyone's listening because there's too many people still dying," explains Wilson, who was himself diagnosed in 2008. "We're not talking about it enough. I already had a platform, now Janssen is helping me make a stage. I'm speaking loud and clear these days, and we're going to do whatever we can to make sure people hear me."

Charlie Wilson, Kelly Price and Kindred the Family Soul perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $69.60-$99.50. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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