Ray Charles Robinson (commonly known as Ray Charles; September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004) was an 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, and blues styles into music recorded by Atlantic Records. He also contributed to the racial integration of country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his two 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".