Born and raised in Detroit, Charles Wilson III, known professionally as BLKBOK, has carved a unique path in the music world. Identified as a piano prodigy by the age of eight, Wilson’s early accolades in statewide competitions showcased his talent. His professional name, BLKBOK, reflects a homage to renowned composer Johann Sebastian Bach, as well as his deep roots in pop and hip-hop culture. 

BLKBOK’s debut album, “Black Book,” was a breakout success, earning recognition from The New York Times as one of the “5 Classical Albums to Listen to Right Now.” This album established his innovative voice in the music industry, blending classical piano with contemporary influences. Collaborative works, such as “Angels Watching Over Me” with Lawrence Brownlee, further highlight his versatility and creative breadth. 

In a notable career milestone, BLKBOK’s original track “Stars (Ad Astra)” was the first piano duet performed from space, underscoring his commitment to pushing musical boundaries. His sophomore album, “9,” pays tribute to the Little Rock 9, exploring themes of disparity, equity, and Black excellence. 

For Black Music Month, BLKBOK talks with “American Black Journal” guest host Trudy Gallant-Stokes about how he blends classical and contemporary music, the significance of his name, his parents’ influence, and Detroit’s impact on his career. 

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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit PBS, WTVS-Channel 56.