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Since the release of Kingfish
, his Grammy-nominated 2019 Alligator Records debut, and 662
, his 2021 Grammy-winning sophomore album, guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Christone "Kingfish" Ingram
has become the defining blues voice of his generation. From his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi to stages around the world, the 23-year-old has already headlined three U.S. tours, performed at Australia's largest music festival, amazed fans across Europe and the UK, and was selected to open for The Rolling Stones in London's Hyde Park.
Kingfish has also performed with friends including Vampire Weekend, Jason Isbell and Buddy Guy, with whom he appeared on Austin City Limits
In July 2021, NPR's Morning Edition
featured Kingfish in a seven-minute story broadcast to its 14 million listeners. In April 2022, Kingfish made his national television debut on CBS Saturday Morning
, performing three songs as well as being featured in an in-depth interview segment. Parts of the interview were recorded at New York's legendary Apollo Theater, where Kingfish headlined.
debuted on the Billboard
Blues Chart in the #1 position and remained on the chart for an astonishing 91 weeks. In addition to receiving a Grammy Award nomination, Kingfish
was named the #1 Best Blues Album Of The Year by MOJO
. Ingram's lead single, Fresh Out
(featuring Buddy Guy) was the most played song on Sirius/XM's highly regarded Bluesville
was also #1 on Living Blues
magazine's Top 50 Albums Of The Year Radio Chart. The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Guitar World, The Washington Post
and many other publications shared the joy of their musical discovery with their readers. Radio stations around the world played his music at all hours. Kingfish was even interviewed by Sir Elton John for his Apple Music Rocketman
As soon as 662
dropped on July 23, 2021, fans, critics, and radio stations showered the album with praise. It also debuted at #1 on the Billboard
Blues Chart. Kingfish appeared on NPR's World Café
and Mountain Stage
, and the album's title track became a "Top Tune" for trendsetting radio station KCRW (Los Angeles). MOJO
as the Best Blues Album Of The Year, while NPR Music
said Ingram's playing is "astounding…it's almost like he's singing through the guitar."
won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album, won the Blues Music Award for Best Blues Album, and topped both the DownBeat
Critics' Poll and the Living Blues Critics
' Poll. Since his 2019 debut, Kingfish has been nominated for a total of nine Blues Music Awards and has won them all. He's also won nine Living Blues
Awards and his momentum has continued to build. In July 2022, The Washington Post Magazine
ran a 5000-word story on the young musician. Kingfish simultaneously appeared on the cover of Guitar World
magazine, where the publication exclaimed, "Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram has already made his mark as one of the best, and undoubtedly most exciting, blues guitarists in the world."
Even though his time in the spotlight has been short, Ingram's road has been long. In the three years since Kingfish
was released, major events altered both his personal and professional lives. "There has been much change, happiness and despair in my life," Ingram says of recent years. Right as his career was taking off, he lost his mother and biggest champion, the late Princess Pride Ingram. After her death, Ingram toured for 13 months non-stop, until the pandemic halted live performances and forced him to take stock. As he was thinking about the man he was becoming and the new directions his life was taking, he began writing songs for his next album, 662
. The number 662 is the telephone area code for Ingram's northern Mississippi home, and it first came into use the same year he was born—1999.
"The world was introduced to me with Kingfish
," Ingram says of his chart-topping debut. "With 662
, I wanted the world to hear and meet a different, more personal side of me." The album—recorded in Nashville and co-written and produced (as was Kingfish
) by Grammy-winner Tom Hambridge—features 13 songs displaying many sides of Ingram's dynamic musical personality, as well as his one-of-a-kind guitar and vocal skills. According to Ingram, "662
is a direct reflection of my growth as a musician, a songwriter, a bandleader, and as a young man. This album was written during the pandemic, shortly after I returned home from a whirlwind year and a half of touring and promoting Kingfish
. It was an incredible time of change and growth, moments both good and bad, and I am a better and stronger person for it."
Ingram's journey began in the city of Clarksdale, in Coahoma County, Mississippi, just ten miles from the legendary crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. Born to a talented family, he fell in love with music as a child, initially playing drums and then bass. At a young age, he got his first guitar and quickly soaked up music from Robert Johnson to Lightnin' Hopkins, from B.B. King to Muddy Waters, from Jimi Hendrix to Prince.
Through classes at the Delta Blues Museum, he learned the history of the blues and how to play them. Under the tutelage of Richard "Daddy Rich" Crisman and Bill "Howl-N-Madd" Perry, he not only developed his own playing sound and style, but also earned his "Kingfish" moniker courtesy of Mr. Perry. From the halls of the Delta Blues Museum, Kingfish progressed quickly as a musician, playing Clarksdale's famous Ground Zero Blues Club and Red's Lounge stages before soon traveling the US and abroad, all while still in high school.
During the Obama administration, the young guitarist performed at the White House for First Lady Michelle Obama as part of a delegation of student musicians from the Delta Blues Museum. By age 16 he was turning heads and winning awards, including the 2015 Rising Star Award, presented by The Rhythm & Blues Foundation.
Ingram's appeal beyond blues was immediate. Even before he cut his debut album and while still a teenager, many of Ingram's YouTube performance videos garnered millions of views. He performed two songs in season two of the Netflix show Luke Cage
after the series' lead producer saw one of his videos. Both songs appear on the official soundtrack album, which introduced him to a young audience, many of whom had never before heard Ingram's brand of blues. As part of Luke Cage
promotion, Ingram performed in an NPR Music
Tiny Desk Concert with rap legend Rakim, who also appeared in Luke Cage
, and, in 2020, Ingram hosted his own NPR Music
Tiny Desk (Home) Concert.
Sparked by his non-stop touring, writing and recording schedule, Kingfish's natural talent just keeps growing. With his eye-popping guitar playing and his reach-out-and-grab-you-by-the-collar vocals, he performs every song with unmatched passion and precision. While his songs tell personal stories, they also tell of shared human experiences. With both Kingfish
, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram creates contemporary blues music that speaks to his generation and beyond, delivering the full healing power of the blues.