Charles Wilson was born and raised in Springfield. His grandparents raised him after his mother was killed in a car accident. While living with his grandparents, Charles discovered that his great-grandfather was a lynching victim in the 1908 Springfield Race Riot. Charles joined the school band in high school, which began a life-long love of music. He continued to play trumpet and French horn in bands throughout his life, including the army band and his own band, the Chuck Wilson Band.