In a poignant Charles Bradley tribute video from the late singer’s label, Daptone Records, the soul giant belts an a cappella version of his 2013 ballad “Victim of Love” outside the ornate St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Jeff Broadway and Cory Bailey, co-directors of 2016 documentary Living on Soul: The Family Daptone, helmed and edited the clip, which features Bradley ruminating on his spirituality and past struggles.
“Right now, I’m just trying to get through life in a humble way,” says the singer, who died last month at age 68, following a bout with liver and stomach cancer. “And I try to forget about a lot of the hardships, but it’s hard to get rid of it because in the hardships, there’s some sweetness in it.
“Sometimes I feel like I missed the best part of my life,” he continues. “The only thing that’s left for me is to just give my love to the world because this body’s getting old, and I got a late chance in life. But anybody out there who’s seeking their dreams, for an older person like me, don’t give up. Take it to your grave.”
The vocalist marvels at the church’s intricate architecture, which he cites as proof of God’s existence. “Some people say there is not God,” he says. “There’s truly a God. I don’t care what they say or what trials they put me under. I’ll never give up on my faith. That’s what keeps me going. I know it’s for real.”
The tribute closes with a montage of scenes from Bradley’s acclaimed stage performances, including a June 2014 slot with the Daptone Super Soul Revue alongside Sharon Jones.
“We’d just recently met Neal Sugarman in New York, and knew almost no one on the tour,” Broadway said of the video in a statement. “Upon touchdown, we were told we’d be riding with Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires for the next 10 days on their tour bus. Some of the guys in the band were a bit skeptical, and understandably so. We were a couple of unknowns with cameras, eager to use them. Charles was not one of the skeptical ones, though. He immediately embraced us and made us feel welcomed on his bus.”