Ray Charles
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"Ray Charles Robinson" was an United States/American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer who is sometimes referred to as "The Genius".

He pioneered the genre of soul music during the 1950s by combining rhythm and blues, Gospel music/gospel, and blues styles into music recorded by Atlantic Records. He also contributed to the racial integration of Country music/country and pop music during the 1960s with his Crossover (music)/crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his two Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music/Modern Sounds albums. While with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company. Frank Sinatra called him "the only true genius in show business", although Charles downplayed this notion.

He was blind from the age of seven. His best friend in music was South Carolina-born James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul".

Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was also influenced by jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, and country artists of the day, including: Art Tatum, Louis Jordan, Charles Brown (musician)/Charles Brown, and Louis Armstrong. Charles' playing reflected influences from country blues, Juke joint/barrelhouse and stride piano/stride piano styles.

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