EPISODE 19 – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Born to a musical family near Clarksdale, Mississippi in January 1999, Christone Ingram fell in love with music as a small child. There was always music playing around the house. His family sang (and continues to sing) at their family church. His mother, Princess Pride, is first cousin to country music legend Charley Pride. Christone starting hitting drums at age six and at nine he picked up the bass. Around this time his mother enrolled him in a program at the Delta Blues Museum. At age 11, he got his first guitar and quickly mastered it. The young prodigy soaked up music from Robert Johnson to Lightnin’ Hopkins, from B.B. King to Muddy Waters, from Jimi Hendrix to Prince. Before long he could play like them all, but all the while he kept developing his own sound and style.

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 heard Ingram’s brand of blues before. 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 Tiny Desk (Home) Concert.

Upon its release, Kingfish 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, it was declared the #1 Best Blues Album Of 2019 by tastemaker UK music magazine MOJONPR Music included Kingfish in their list of Best Debut Albums. Outlets including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Guitar World, The Washington Post and many others shared the joy of their musical discovery with their audience. Radio stations around the world played his music at all hours. In 2019, Ingram’s first single, Fresh Out (featuring Buddy Guy) was the most played song on Sirius/XM’s highly regarded Bluesville channel, and it was #1 on Living Blues Radio Chart’s Top 50 Albums.

In 2020, Ingram won five top Blues Music Awards, including Album Of The Year, Best Emerging Artist Album, Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year, Contemporary Blues Male Artist Of The Year and the coveted Best Guitarist award. He also won four Living Blues Awards, including Album Of The Year and Artist Of The Year. In February 2021, Ingram guest hosted Spotify’s popular In The Name Of The Blues playlist, which featured the young bluesman as seasoned blues fan, talking about and listening to some of his favorite songs. No Depression calls Ingram, “a young bluesman with an ancient soul and a large presence in the here-and-now.”

Ingram has twice headlined his own national tours (“Fish Grease” and “Fish Grease 2”), performing multiple times at clubs, concert halls and festivals across the U.S. and Canada, including show-stopping performances at the Chicago Blues Festival, the Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, the Bonita Blues Festival in Florida, The Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, at sold out shows from New York’s Brooklyn Bowl to Austin’s Antone’s to San Francisco’s famed Biscuits & Blues to Los Angeles’ legendary Troubadour and El Rey Theatre. He’s performed in Europe repeatedly, including appearances at the Moulin Blues Festival in the Netherlands and the Blues Heaven Festival in Denmark.

Since the release of Kingfish, Ingram recorded and released three stand-alone singles. In February 2020, he unleashed his incendiary studio and live interpretations of legendary bluesman Michael “Iron Man” Burks’ Empty Promises. In July 2020, he released his emotionally riveting original song, Rock & Roll, a deeply loving tribute to his mother, Princess Pride Ingram. In November 2020, he gifted his fans with his first Christmas song, the instant holiday classic, Ghost From Christmas Past.

With his eye-popping guitar playing and his reach-out-and-grab-you-by-the-collar vocals, Ingram performs every song with unmatched passion and precision. And he can’t wait to bring that power on stage. As he recently told DownBeat magazine, “You need that crowd to connect. You need that crowd to be there so you can tell their story to them. Somewhere, somebody has the blues.”