Known as the “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown‘s work still influences the music industry more than six years after his death.

A feature film about his life hits theaters Friday, and you might be surprised to learn that the church played a big influence in his life and legacy.

Brown’s story is a real life tale of rags-to-riches, with a few bumps on the journey.

“He had to fend for himself, so he became a hustler,” Gospel music historian Bill Carpenter said.

Carpenter listened to Brown as a child, later covered him as a journalist, and wrote about him in his book, Un-cloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia.

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