Christone "Kingfish" Ingram
Growing up near Clarksdale, Mississippi, just 10 miles from the legendary crossroads of Highways 61 and 49, kids in Christone Ingram’s hometown weren’t into the blues. “In my town, every kid wanted to be a rapper,” he said. “I wanted to do something no one else was doing.”
Indeed, he has. Still in his early 20s, Buddy Guy has called him the “next explosion of the blues,” and the young musician, who first hit the drums at 6 and the bass at 9 has been a rising prodigy ever since. His mother, Princess Pride, is a first cousin of Charley Pride, and she enrolled her son in a program at the Delta Blues Museum. At 11, he got his first guitar and he soaked up music from Robert Jackson to Lightnin’ Hopkins to B.B. King to Muddy Waters, with some Jimi Hendrix and Prince thrown in. At the same time, he developed his own sound and style.
Mississippi Blues icon Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry gave the young Ingram his stage name, “Kingfish” and the young man was on his way. He performed at the White House for Michelle Obama in 2014, as part of a delegation of young blues musicians from the Delta Blues Museum. In 2015, he won the Rising Star Award presented by the Rhythm & Blues Foundation.
Kingfish has shared stages with Buddy Guy, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Guitar Shorty and Eric Gales. He has performed at festivals around the country and the world and finds time to work on causes dear to him: teaching kids about the blues and music and helping people with developmental challenges, such as autism, express themselves through music. “Treat everybody right and anybody can do anything,” he said.
In 2019, Kingfish released his first album, titled, fittingly, Kingfish. Recorded in Nashville and produced by two-time Grammy winner Tom Hambridge, the album showcases his blistering, raw and inspired guitar playing, soulful deep vocals and songwriting skills. He tells stories with his solos, channeling the spirits of past masters, although the music he makes is his own. He co-wrote eight of the 12 tracks, a departure for him. “A lot of folks know me for my covers,” he said. “That’s why it was so important for me to release original music.” He is joined on several tracks by a few of his friends, including Buddy Guy and Keb’ Mo.’
With the release of the album, Kingfish Ingram is ready to blaze a trail with the blues torch that has been passed to him. With his eye-popping guitar playing and his grab-you-by-the-collar vocals, Kingfish delivers each song with unmatched passion and precision. Steeped in the rich, vivid history of the blues, he’s driven by his burning desire to create contemporary music that speaks to his generation and beyond. He’s a 21st century bluesman inspired by Robert Johnson but dreaming of collaborating with Kendrick Lamar and soul-funk bassist Thundercat.
“My core is blues, but it’s important for me to create a sound and style that is uniquely my own. I have a lot to say, so please stay tuned.”
You may just hear the voice of a generation.