by Rachel Hunter
Stage IV Prostate Cancer Warrior Mark Smith of Gouverneur sat at the dining room table surrounded by family when his daughter, Jacey Lynn of Gouverneur, presented him with news of a special early Father’s Day gift: Nashville Country Recording Artist Jimmy Charles will give a private concert for Mark and all of his friends on Tuesday, March 20, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Casablanca Restaurant, Gouverneur.
Jimmy Charles is a soulful, genuine and passion-filled Country Singer and Songwriter that brings unparalleled energy to all his performances. Jimmy has had an impressive beginning to his professional career as a Season 9 contestant on "American Idol" and also was named in the Top 50 on the show "Nashville Star." On September 1, 2015, Jimmy’s song and Music Video “Superman” was Premiered World Wide with CMT and was also Broadcast Nationally on GAC, Zuus TV and Heartland! The Video Trended #1 on CMT.com for 2 days and in the top 5 for a week. On the Premiere Date Jimmy was in the Top 5 searched artists in the world next to the likes of Taylor Swift and Luke Bryan. Charles penned the song, “Superman,” in honor of prostate cancer patients and survivors – and the song has had a big impact on Mark’s life, encouraging him in his battle against prostate cancer.
In a recent interview, Jimmy Charles explained the story behind the song as follows:
“I’ve done a lot of charity work over the years,” he said. “I was at Chesapeake Urology Center in Baltimore and they work with ZERO, who are tied to thirty-seven prostate centers across the country. In Baltimore they knew me, watched my career and asked me to come back to perform at one of their [ZERO's] events. I did it, then they called me back and asked if it was possible to write a song to raise awareness for men to get their prostate checked.
“It was a very awkward question and I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but I wrapped myself around it. I read as much as I could and spoke with a man, Phil Shulka, who was a Stage 3 Gleason 10 survivor. He wasn’t supposed to make it. He wasn’t given much hope, but he battled through and he won. Now he is a mentor at Chesapeake Urology where he goes to bedsides and helps other men with cancer.
“We brought him to Nashville, set up in a writer’s room with myself and my friend Goose Gossett and we just listened to his stories for over an hour. It was an emotional experience, and when he finished we went to work and we came up with this song. As soon as we were done we knew we had a hit on our hands. We sent an acoustic version from the writer’s room to Chesapeake and they called us back crying. We recorded it and I sang it in front of 3,000 survivors and their families at one of their races, after which, everyone was coming up to me, hugging and thanking me.
“ZERO then asked me to be their national spokesman in the coming year and I said yes, but wanted the song to have a video because I knew the world needed to hear this song. It’s a song for prostate cancer, but not just for prostate cancer—it’s for anyone who has been affected by cancer, which is everyone. They agreed, we and we put a video together.
“Prostate cancer doesn’t show symptoms and when it does, it’s too late. A lot of men think they’re healthy; they don’t go to the doctor to get checked or tell anyone they have prostate cancer. So the song acknowledges that men can feel strong like superman, but there is something that can kill you, it’s a matter of life or death and it’s not just about you.
“Some men suffer alone, and don’t even tell their families. We don’t want them to feel like have to hide or be alone. It’s nice for me as a younger man to be the voice for these men and bring awareness to it. It’s incredible to believe that 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and every nineteen minutes in the U.S. a man dies from it, which is more than breast cancer. Women have a great, strong voice and it’s more fun to talk about saving the tatas than it is to talk about the prostate, but you never hear about it.”
This year Jimmy was named an Official Spokesperson for Zero Cancer and has been flying out to major cities across the country speaking and performing at their benefit races in front of thousands of survivors, their families and those battling. They have adopted "Superman" as their "Anthem".
Jimmy Charles’ style is best described as "Country, a lil' Rock & Roll and Whole Lotta Soul." Whether he is playing some of his favorite Country, Classic Rock covers or playing one of his own compositions, Jimmy is a mesmerizing entertainer with amazing stage presence and personality, keeping his audience on the edge of their seats or dancing in the aisles.
by Rachel Hunter