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Charlie Wilson will be going to the Grammys this year, because he’s nominated. But this year’s nomination is different. For the first time  Wilson gets the nod in the Gospel category for a song called “I Believe,” co-written by his wife. He’s been clean and sober for 19 years and the song celebrates his journey.

“It talks about how you can recognize that He’s the one why the stars are twinkling, the sun is shining. It’s an inspirational song; it’s not just a gospel song,” says Wilson.

Wilson says that overcoming drugs and alcohol was a process. With the support of his wife, he was able to take control of his addictions, which had him in a stronghold for years after the demise of the Gap Band. Wilson says that during his concerts he always gives a testimony as well as a show.

“I testify every night on the stage. Those few minutes, I’m going in and I’m going in hard and hopefully I can get somebody in the audience to go in with me. I know there are people going through problems and they’re trying to figure out how to get a way out. I didn’t think there was a way out for many years. I was stuck like Chuck.”

This is Wilson’s seventh Grammy nomination (though he’s never won). It’s a validation of decades putting in work in the industry and the remarkable comeback he made after being off the map for several years. People know now that Wilson puts on a helluva show – if you remember him being honored at the BET Awards last year, even his successors Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams were inspired being onstage with him. His shows are routinely 2 plus hours long and so energetic that his wife has to intervene.

“When I got to change clothes my wife usually meets me and says ‘You’re doing too much, you need to calm down or you’re not going to make it through the next show.’

Wilson says that even with bronchitis, he doesn’t cancel shows.

“I aint never missed no show. We don’t do that.”

He was sick over the holidays after a European tour, but says he didn’t have time to go to a hospital, so he was treated as an outpatient so he could get back to the stage. Of course, he’ll be working up to the cruise, where he’s performing again this year, but he’s ready for the The Fantastic Voyage.

“What room are we in?” Wilson asks. “We’re going to have some fun. Some of those room have some seats that are real comfortable.They’re soft. You gotta unscrew some of those seats.”

To catch Charlie live this year check out his 2014 tour dates here: 

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