A native of the State of Ohio, tenor Charles received much of his musical training at Morgan State University, located in Baltimore, MD. During his studies he toured internationally with and was often a featured tenor soloist with the famed Morgan State University Choir under the leadership of the celebrated Director and Composer, Dr. Nathan Carter. While at Morgan State, he studied voice with the renowned bass, Joseph Eubanks. He later went on to study voice with the legendary baritone William Ray at the Peabody Preparatory, and with the distinguished baritone and international concert artist, Daniel Comegys. Professors Eubanks, Ray and Comegys continued to provide advanced instruction as he began his singing career, encouraging Charles to perform at every opportunity. The result of his hard work and dedication to further develop and broaden the scope of his musical craft, in conjunction with performing at hundreds of venues, is a professional singer equipped with a competent and polished command of most historic and popular vocal music styles.
The following is a Performance Snapshot for Charles Sullivan as an Actor (Dramatic, Comedic & Improvisation), Professional Vocal Performer in Concert, Musicals & Plays, Operas & Oratorio, and Recording Artist: A Portrait of Motown - Now and Forever; A Sweet Song from Brooklyn; Before King, He Was King: The Life of Joe Louis; Bye Bye Birdie; CD’s Recorded: A Man for All Seasons, American Songbook Favorites, Memories of Nat King Cole, Spirituals from the Heart, Spirituals from the Heart II, Walk Down Memory Lane, Walk Down Memory Lane II;Chichester Psalms (Bernstein); Cosi fan tutte (Mozart); For Sentimental Reasons: The Life of Nat King Cole; Godspell; Gospel Mass (Ray); Josh Gibson and Babe Ruth: Kings of Swing; La Boheme (Puccini); La Gioconda (Ponchielli); La Sonnambula (Bellini); Let Freedom Ring: The Voice of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Oliver; Oratorio de Noel (Saint-Saen); Magnificat (Bach); Man of La Mancha; No Mother to Guide Her; Porgy and Bess (Gershwin); Rigoletto (Puccini); Runnin: from Thurgood to Freddie Gray; Shuffle Along: The Life of Eubie Blake; Stabat Mater (Rossini); The Avenue; The Civil War, Abraham Lincoln & the African America Soldier; The Crucifixion (Stainer); The Messiah (Handel); The Motown Revue; The Music Man; The Stop; The Ordering of Moses (Dett); The View: A Perspective of 20th Century Black History; Trailblazer: Before Rosa Parks There Was Jackie Robinson; Wizard of Oz; West Side Story.
The Great American Songbook: Balladeers, crooners and wailers: Some of our greatest vocalists have poured their hearts and souls
into musical gems known as the Great American Songbook. They sang these songs in concert halls, nightclubs, on radio, television and in films, and left us a legacy that still remains today. Their interpretations moved us to tears and wove lyrics and music into the fabric of our lives, making us see ourselves in these vintage American songs. Charles is the embodiment of the American Songbook sound. He is the epitome today of the class of all the great voices that have come before him. These Standards from the 20th Century (with many songs from the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond, including songs from many of the greatest Big Bands and Orchestras in American history), making him what some might call the contemporary "crossover artist supreme”, similar to the great tenor Mario Lanza.
His repertoire includes songs made famous by Julie Andrews, Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Michael Buble, Ray Charles, Patsy Cline, Rosemary Clooney, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Harry Connick Jr., Sam Cooke, Bing Crosby, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr., Doris Day, Fats Domino, Billy Eckstine, Nelson Eddy, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Dean Martin, Tony Martin, Johnny Mathis, Patti Page, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Barbara Streisand, Sarah Vaughn, Dinah Washington, Andy Williams, and many other celebrated singers.
Broadway Musicals: Charles sings many songs from Broadway Musicals. Much of his repertoire encompasses the 100-year history of modern American Musical Theater, the story of this music’s relationship to 20th-century American life and includes references to the immigrant experience at the turn of the century which helped give rise to this popular new style and form of entertainment. Hear him sing unforgettable and enduring standards associated with Broadway Musical greats such as Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan, Bob Fosse, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, W. S. Gilbert, Lorenz Hart, Moss Hart, Oscar Hammerstein II, Victor Herbert, George S. Kaufman, Jerome Kern, Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Sullivan, Kurt Weill, and many other outstanding contributors. Listening to Charles sing melodies from shows like “South Pacific” (Some Enchanted Evening, This Nearly Was Mine) and “The Most Happy Fella” (Standing on the Corner) will make you feel like you’re sitting in a theatre on Broadway itself.
Classical Music, Hymns & Sacred Songs:
Music Professor and Voice Educator Joseph Eubanks once said that Charles’ voice quality
and charisma ensured that he would became a recognized lyric tenor. With a vocal timbre that can also be dramatic, expressive and rich in tone, his masterful interpretation encompasses the very soul of the wonderful genre of Classical Music, from Opera and Neapolitan favorites to Art Songs, beautiful Hymns and Sacred Masterpieces, which, are a staple in his concert repertoire. In each area of these classic songs he seems to move with simplicity from a powerful and resonant forte to
a gentle pianissimo scarcely perceptible,
without conceding for a moment the rare clarity
of his tonality.
* Art Songs: He brings an artistic quality
to Art Songs. He sings commendably, unreservedly, expressively, sensitively, openly portraying the emotion of each note and each sound with full, unforced tones like the stroke of a painter’s brush. His concerts are a welcome reflection that this music is not merely the presentation of historic songs,
but the crystallization in art of the spirit of great song writers, great prose, and simply beautiful music.
* Opera: Enjoy wonderful arias from
Opera’s like Cosi Fan Tutte, Die Zauberflote, Don Giovanni, Fedora, Gianni Schicchi, La Boheme, La fanciulla del West, L’Elisir D’Amore, Manon, Manon Lescaut, Rigoletto, Tosca, Werther, and much more.
* Oratorio, Sacred Songs & Hymns:
Hear beautiful songs like Ave Maria,
Amazing Grace, Great is Thy Faithfulness, How Great Thou Art, and Oratorio Songs
from The Crucifixion, Elijah, The Magnificat, The Messiah, The Ordering of Moses, The Seven Last Words (Stainer), Stabat Mater (Rossini), The St. John & St. Matthew Passions (J. S. Bach), and many more. Hear the works of great composers and songs that touch
* Gospel Music: Known for his rich, powerful voice when singing spirituals, Charles’ poignantly warm, soulful sound lovingly and profoundly penetrates the soul of all who hear him sing Gospel music. From the first note, the listener becomes spellbound; not only his voice, but his delivery of this spiritually infused music is captivating. World-class presentations of historic Gospel songs easily flow from his lips. He can impeccably blend his classical vocal timbre with traditional gospel, arriving at a mix that is invariably Sullivan’s. He is a diverse and innovative artist in his communication of classic and modern Gospel music.
Historical Portraits: For the wonderful diversity of individuals who have left their mark on the international landscape and culture, through the medium of the Historic Portrait Concerts and Lectures, we celebrate the lives of great leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Barack Obama, artists such as Pablo Picasso, George Gershwin, Billie Holiday, and Cole Porter, activists such as Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks, and icons of modern culture such as Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth and Maya Angelou. They all link us to our past, our present, and our future. For anyone fascinated by the link to world famous people and their stories, the Historic Portrait Concert is a “must-see” destination. Among critics, Charles has been cited for his realistic portrayal of historic characters. He does a remarkable job of bringing each historic person to life. In some cases, his portrayal closely reproduces the vocal delivery and mannerisms of the historic figure, making them come alive, while allowing the audience to experience the joy, success, challenges and struggles of the life of each person. Charles brings enormous emotional depth to each historic portrayal and the narrative reflects a deep sense of connection with each person. Music and Arts critic, the late Lorenzo Handy widely praised him for his concert work and portrayal of several historic figures, and his presentation of excerpts from speeches of Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt were deemed exceptional and overwhelmingly dynamic.
Blues, Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Rock-n-Roll & Pop: The hot sound of historic and current Blues, Jazz, R&B, Rock-n-Roll and Pop come alive in every concert. From high energy movement to sultry and smooth sounds, enjoy the many moods of Charles Sullivan as he sings many epic Blues, Jazz, R&B, Rock-n-Roll and Pop standards. Many of his fellow singers have said he can sing most of his highest notes without hardly opening his mouth, bringing his uniquely personal style to
the substance of this memorable music. Paying homage to pioneers of this great music, he serves up with incredible agility and flexibility, swinging versions of these classic songs with a uncommon musicality, infectious beat, rousing enthusiasm and jubilant vigor that spills from the stage into the audience. Because Charles is a master vocalist, he can take all-time favorites, either written or sung by someone else and not only make it his own, but he can make you feel it so deep in your spirit it’s like euphoria.
Charles talent for performing these genres of music is worth discovering for yourself. It's a shame that the masses are just finding out about what talent this man holds, but, it’s not too late to see for yourself what others have experienced; whether it’s 1950’s Blues or 1960’s Rock-n-Roll or 1970’s Pop or 1980’s R&B or past and modern
Jazz standards. He sings the vast Blues, Jazz, R&B, Rock-n-Roll and Pop repertoire with tremendous passion, yet with the simplicity of drinking a glass of water or the ease of someone breathing. In other words, he makes it look so easy. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the melodious magic of this enduring music comes alive in each show he presents.
Negro Spirituals: Charles notes in lectures on this topic, that the foundational tenets of the African American Negro Spiritual derive from Africa itself centuries ago. African people taken into bondage and made slaves, were sent across ocean waters to the United States. They brought their musical experience and indigenous religions, however; in an attempt to “de-Africanise” them, use of native languages and many of their customs and musical traditions (like the use of drums) were prohibited, and they were quickly converted to an American version of biblical religion. This led to secret religious services late in the night when their masters were asleep, and they began singing converted “work songs” from the fields into what we now call “Spirituals”. These spirituals were a combination of the lyrics related to bible passages, bible stories and ancient African elements, such as “shouting in praise”
and “call and response”, which can still be seen in almost every aspect of “black music” even today.
Spirituals are said to have developed into two textual forms: 1) Songs of Sorrow and 2) Songs of Jubilee. The Songs of Sorrow discussed the pain and suffering of slavery while songs of Jubilee, were later made famous by ground-breaking College and University choirs, expressing optimism for a better life post-bondage.
In the tradition of the Fisk Jubilee Singers of Fisk University (Nashville, Tennessee, 1867), Hampton Institute Singers (Virginia, 1872), the Tuskegee Institute Choir (Alabama), and later choirs like Wings Over Jordan; and past illustrious singers like Marian Anderson, Flora Batson Bergen, Thomas Bowers, Elizabeth Greenfield, Roland Hayes, Mahalia Jackson, Sissieretta Jones, Dorothy Maynor, Paul Robeson and William Warfield; and magnificent modern singers like George Shirley, Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman; hear Charles carry on, with extraordinary musical sensitivity, realism and emotion, that tradition of songs that move the spirit and stir the blood, from the rich treasure of this historic genre of music.
Signature Performances (The Songs of Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole & Frank Sinatra):
Charles is considered one of the foremost interpreters of the music of Tony Bennett, Nat "King" Cole and Frank Sinatra, displaying musical genius in each performance. In these performances Charles sings many of their most successful hit songs with virtuosic lining and masterful illustration. These performances are not mere imitations of the Bennett, Cole and Sinatra. While aspects of their original arrangements and distinguished style is still recognizable, there are blissful concessions for Charles own brilliant and unique vocal talent. The result is concerts of radiant and alluring renditions of songs.
Songs of America: Charles Sullivan also performs a host of American Folk and Patriotic Songs in his concert repertoire. His versatility combined with his exceptional musicianship, stylish stage presence and uncommon dramatic acting abilities enable him to present the tremendous range of American Songs.
A Multi-talented Entertainer, from “Ave Maria” and “Che Gelida Manina” to “It Had To Be You” and “Unforgettable,” Charles’ singing and artistic presentations of celebrated songs are incomparable; it is something that one must experience. The remarkable Charles Sullivan communicates across multiple genres of music
a better than vocally vibrant and classically powerful, stimulating and sophisticated style.
He has an incredibly cool, historically mindful
yet charming sound, exploiting a diverse
musical persona. With phrasing like that
of an instrumentalist, he has a voice like
Finally, whether singing American standards,
jazz, sacred or modern popular songs, his vocal renditions can be presented in classic time-honored quality, or they can be evocative of a sleek and stylish metro-lounge atmosphere
where music and the visual arts converge, creating a spellbinding environment for performances to remember. Interest in Charles Sullivan’s Repertoire continues to grow as people young and old discover it’s depth for vocal performances that cover the wide breadth of musical periods and styles, and this can all take place in one concert. The arc of Charles’ life is a study in the triumph of commitment to developing an expansive repertoire to bring joy to each hearer, aligned with raw talent in equal measure with cultural and creative musical savvy.