Charles Bradley performs in The Current studio

Charles Bradley performs "Nobody But You" live in The Current studio. (MPR)
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Charles Bradley performs in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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  • Charles Bradley performs in The Current studio (full session + interview) 20:20
  • Charles Bradley - Nobody But You (live on 89.3 The Current) 04:00
  • Charles Bradley - Ain't It a Sin (live on 89.3 The Current) 03:44
  • Charles Bradley - Changes (live on 89.3 The Current) 05:21

Charles Bradley sings from the heart. "I sing the way I feel and the things that I've seen in life and the things I'm going through," he says.

The sincerity behind Bradley's music comes through at full volume when he and his band, the Extraordinaires, perform. In town for a show at First Avenue in Minneapolis, Bradley and his band visited The Current studio for a session hosted by The Current's Mac Wilson.

Bradley's latest full-length release, Changes, takes its title from a Black Sabbath cover Bradley recorded for the album. Being a firmly established R&B artist, Bradley says he wasn't familiar with the Sabbath tune at first, but as he learned the song, its emotional third verse resonated deeply. "When I was going through my depression after losing my mom, I was learning this song at the same time," he recalls. "The last verse just stuck to me; I didn't have to learn it."

Much as the words to "Changes" spoke to Bradley during his bereavement, he strongly believes music can bring joy in times of sorrow or chaos. "That's what's keeping the world together today; I think music is the root of life," Bradley says. "And it is so strong, because when you're down and out, sometimes you just listen to music and say, 'Whoa …' That's why I always say to anybody out there, if you're an artist and you want to show the world your love, show good lyrics.

"That's what I do," Bradley continues, "because I don't judge anybody on what they do, but I can look on the world and see what I see … the only thing I can change is try to show the world I'm changing me to be a better person, so maybe you can look at me and learn something from me. And when I see a person that is doing good and doing a greatness, I look at them and try to learn from them."

And although his song "Ain't It a Sin" may sound like a lament or a judgment, Bradley explains it's really a sort of variation on what some call the Golden Rule. "All I'm saying is 'Don't do me wrong, and I won't do you wrong'," he says. "We've got to make it right all over the land."

The Extraordinaires are: Billy Aukstik, trumpet; Fred DeBoe, sax; Mike Deller, organ; Alex Chakour, guitar; Vince Chiarito, bass; Caito Sanchez, drums.

Songs Performed


"Nobody But You"
"Ain't It a Sin"
"Changes"
All songs from Charles Bradley's 2016 album, Changes, available on Daptone Records.

Hosted by Mac Wilson
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark and Andrew Brassard
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Luke Taylor

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13 Photos

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    Charles Bradley performs in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Charles Bradley 9
    Bassist Vince Chiarito listens to Fred DeBoe, sax, of Charles Bradley's band, the Extraordinaires, in The Current's studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Charles Bradley in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Alex Chakour on guitar in the foreground; in background, drummer Caito Sanchez and bassist Vince Chiarito; all members of Charles Bradley's Extraordinaires. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Charles Bradley 6
    Drummer Caito "Primo" Sanchez of Charles Bradley's Extraordinaires. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Charles Bradley 5
    Charles Bradley performs in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Charles Bradley 4
    Charles Bradley performs in The Current studio, alongside bassist Vince Chiarito. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Charles Bradley 3
    Organist Mike Deller performs with Charles Bradley in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Charles Bradley 2
    Bassist Vince Chiarito of Charles Bradley and the Extraordinaires. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Charles Bradley 1
    Billy Aukstik of Charles Bradley and the Extraordinaires performs in The Current studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Charles Bradley portrait (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Charles Bradley portrait (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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    Charles Bradley portrait (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)

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