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Fresh Off His GRAMMY Win For '662,' Young Bluesman Christone "Kingfish" Ingram Is Just Getting Started
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram

Photo: Justin Hardiman

interview

Fresh Off His GRAMMY Win For '662,' Young Bluesman Christone "Kingfish" Ingram Is Just Getting Started

23-year-old blues practitioner Christone "Kingfish" Ingram picked up his first golden gramophone at the 2022 GRAMMYs, for Best Contemporary Blues Album. What does his immense promise mean for the future of the blues?

GRAMMYs/Jun 10, 2022 - 08:16 pm

At the 2022 GRAMMYs, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram strode onto the stage in Las Vegas and accepted the first golden gramophone of his young career. Beating out industry giants like Joe Bonamassa, Shemekia Copeland, and Steve Cropper, the 23-year-old took home the GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

"For years, I had to sit and watch the myth that young Black kids are not into the blues," an emotional Ingram said as he accepted the GRAMMY. "So, I just hope I can show the world different."

That's just what Ingram has been doing for the better part of a decade. Hailing from the blues Mecca of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Ingram took an early interest in the blues and started gigging around the area while still in junior high. In 2014, a student band he was in — from Clarksdale's Delta Blues Museum — performed at the White House.

By the time he was 18, Ingram was regularly playing with such guitar heroes as Gary Clark, Jr. and Eric Gales. In 2019, he released his debut album, Kingfish, on the celebrated label Alligator Records.

Kingfish was nominated for a GRAMMY and helped win its namesake five Blues Music Awards in May. Ingram hit the road, opened for Vampire Weekend and Buddy Guy, and was celebrated on the covers of Guitar World and DownBeat and by Rolling Stone and Elton John — among others.

During COVID, Ingram wrote and recorded 662, his follow-up record with GRAMMY-winning producer Tom Hambridge. Named for his area code in his native Mississippi, the album was a more personal statement from Ingram, reflecting not just the pandemic but also the recent death of his mother.

Roundly praised in the press, the record earned Ingram his GRAMMY. And just a few weeks later, he earned two Blues Music Awards for Best Contemporary Blues Artist — Male and Best Contemporary Blues Album, bringing his career tally to nine BMAs with no losses.

Ingram wasn't able to pick up his BMAs, however — he resumed touring as soon as restrictions allowed. That's where GRAMMY.com caught up with him, as he traveled from Portland, Oregon, to Los Angeles for a show.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

With this GRAMMY and two more BMAs, your profile raised considerably in the weeks before this leg of the tour. Are you seeing the impact of those wins on the road?

Oh, man. It's been fun. Already everyone is excited and ecstatic over the wins. So, yeah, it's been really beautiful.

Are you seeing new faces or bigger crowds at the shows?

Most definitely. You have some people in the crowd chanting congratulations on the GRAMMY win, so you know that's what they are there for.

What was that night like — when you got to go up on stage there and accept the GRAMMY in Las Vegas?

I know you probably hear this a lot, but it was like I had no words — because I was definitely nervous. It was a short walk [to the podium], but it was also a long walk because I had all these words piling up in my head of what I was going to say.

So, I just had to get up there and just try to make it brief so I didn't embarrass myself. It was very nervewracking, for sure.

Your acceptance was brief, but you packed a powerful message — that the blues are not dead.

Not at all, not at all. You know, that's just a myth that people put out. There are definitely young kids and young Black kids that are into this style of music. Not all of us are really into top 40 like that for sure.

And then, a few weeks later, you added a couple more awards to your mantle at the BMAs.

Yeah, man. We missed the awards because we were in Dallas for a show. But we racked up two more BMAs, and we're definitely thankful for that and, you know, everybody who holds me in a high regard enough to even consider me for those awards.

How did you find out about the BMAs?

I had a friend text me. She was texting me throughout the show, and she was like, "Yeah, you just won again."

Those awards push your BMA tally to nine in three years. You've won every time you've been nominated, which is very impressive.

It's kinda strange. Nominated for nine, and we've won all nine. It's definitely something to see. I hear from certain people it's a record, actually.

Did you expect you would get all these accolades and all this attention so early in your career?

Not at all. Obviously, I have been doing this a long time, and I think some dues have been paid. But I still didn't think that all of this would come this early. I thought at least when I was like around 30 or something like that, but I'm really glad to see everybody really digging what I do.

There are guys who have been playing the blues for decades, and they haven't gotten a GRAMMY.

I know, but I can truly say we kind of grinded and work hard in recent years. Not saying that they haven't, but at the same time, there's definitely a lot of grinding behind us that's for sure. It didn't just happen.

You've also gotten to work with so many of your heroes, legends like Buddy Guy and Eric Gales. Do those relationships mean more to you than all the hardware?

Most definitely, because those were the guys that I was Googling and YouTube-ing. So, to even be put in the conversation with those guys or to even jam with them or even have them like what I do — it's a really beautiful thing, man, cause I'm very inspired and influenced by what they do.

What do you think they see in you and your music that they want to play with you and help bring you along?

I think something that everybody sees — especially other musicians — is passion. I'm definitely very passionate about what I do. When it comes to the blues, I kind of look at it as being my history, my heritage. So it's something I'm very passionate about.

It must be tough with your schedules, but have you been able to develop relationships with any of these guys? I know you and Eric Gales have played together a lot, and obviously, y'all are from the same region.

Every time we see each other there's always love, and we even see each other when we're not on the same stage. Matter of fact, I was texting Eric the same night of the BMAs because he had won one as well. So yeah, there's definitely a connection, a bond there.

So, has all this attention got you thinking about next steps — about where you want to take your career?

I'm always thinking about that, because there are so many things I want to do musically. I have different album ideas. I want to put out a gospel record sometime soon. Yeah, so it definitely lit a fire under me, for sure. I want to release more music and show the world what I have to offer creatively.

What was it you wanted to accomplish with 662?

Well, for one, I just wanted to just show people what I had been going through in the last two years. I wanted to get more deep and more personal with the songs than I had on my first record. And musically, I wanted to just show the growth that I had the last two years as far as my voice and different guitar tones and positions and whatnot.

How did the pandemic affect your creative process in making 662?

Honestly, I feel like it did some good, in a way, because we actually wrote the album in quarantine. We wrote it from, I wanna say, about May to September 2020. And not only that, it was also good for me because that was time that I could just sit back and workshop on my songs, right? I could workshop on my guitar skills, so that I could be ready for the studio in September.

What are you guys working on now? What projects are in the pipeline?

We've got a couple things, musically. We're always of the hunt for different producers. I've always wanted to do something with like hip hop and the blues. So, we got something like that brewing. I can't really speak about it that much, but we got that brewing. And, yeah, just out here doing shows and making more music for sure.

It must feel great to be back performing in front of live audiences again.

We're really enjoying the shows and got a couple more left on the schedule. It's just so great to see everybody, man. I appreciate everybody's support and everything.

Tito Jackson On His New Blues Album Under Your Spell & His Better-Late-Than-Never Solo Career

Vicente Fernández Posthumously Wins GRAMMY For Best Regional Mexican Music Album | 2022 GRAMMYs

Vicente Fernandez performs at the 2002 Latin GRAMMY Awards

Photo: M. Caulfield/WireImage

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Vicente Fernández Posthumously Wins GRAMMY For Best Regional Mexican Music Album | 2022 GRAMMYs

The late Mexican legend, who died in December at 81, won the GRAMMY for Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano) for his 2020 album, 'A Mis 80's'

GRAMMYs/Apr 3, 2022 - 10:44 pm

Nearly four months after his death, Vicente Fernández
's legacy lives on.

The Mexican icon’s album, A Mis 80's, won Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano). The posthumous win marks Fernández
's 
fourth career GRAMMY.

Aida Cuevas' Antología De La Musica Ranchera, Vol. 2,

 Mon Laferte's Seis,
 Natalia Lafourcade's
 Un Canto Por México, Vol. II and
 Christian Nodal's <em>Ayayay! (Súper Deluxe)</em>
 were the other albums nominated in the category.

Fernández passed away in December at the age of 81. Throughout his prolific career, Fernández — known as the King of Ranchero Music — also won nine Latin GRAMMYs.

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

The Recording Academy Announces Major Changes For The 2022 GRAMMY Awards Show

GRAMMY trophies at the 59th GRAMMY Awards in 2017

Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

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The Recording Academy Announces Major Changes For The 2022 GRAMMY Awards Show

Process amendments include the elimination of nominations review committees and the addition of two new GRAMMY Award categories, including Best Global Music Performance and Best Música Urbana Album

GRAMMYs/May 1, 2021 - 01:27 am

Editor's Note: The 2022 GRAMMYs Awards show, officially known as the 64th GRAMMY Awards, <a href="https://www.grammy.com/news/2022-grammys-awards-64th-new-air-show-date-location-las-vegas-april-3-announcement "https://www.grammy.com/news/2022-grammys-awards-64th-new-air-show-date-location-las-vegas-april-3-announcement"">has been rescheduled to Sunday, April 3, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The below article was updated on Tuesday, Jan. 18, to reflect the new show date and location.

The Recording Academy announced today that it has made significant changes to its Awards process that reflect its ongoing commitment to evolve with the musical landscape and to ensure that the GRAMMY Awards rules and guidelines are transparent and equitable. Among the changes are the elimination of Nominations Review Committees, a reduction in the number of categories in which voters may vote, two GRAMMY Award category additions, and more. These updates are a result of extensive discussions and collaboration over the course of the last year among a special subcommittee of Recording Academy members and elected leaders, and were voted on by the Academy's Board of Trustees. These changes go into effect immediately for the 2022 GRAMMY Awards show, officially known as the 64th GRAMMY Awards, taking place Sunday, April 3. The eligibility period for the 64th GRAMMY Awards is Sept. 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2021.

Additional rule amendment proposals will be discussed and voted on at an upcoming Recording Academy meeting and the full rulebook for the 64th GRAMMY Awards will be released in May.

"It's been a year of unprecedented, transformational change for the Recording Academy, and I'm immensely proud to be able to continue our journey of growth with these latest updates to our Awards process," Harvey Mason jr., Chair & Interim President/CEO of the Recording Academy, said. "This is a new Academy, one that is driven to action and that has doubled down on the commitment to meeting the needs of the music community. While change and progress are key drivers of our actions, one thing will always remain — the GRAMMY Award is the only peer-driven and peer-voted recognition in music. We are honored to work alongside the music community year-round to further refine and protect the integrity of the Awards process."

APPROVED RULE AMENDMENTS INCLUDE:

Voting Process Changes

  • Elimination Of Nominations Review Committees In General And Genre Fields

    • Nominations in all of the GRAMMY Award general and genre fields will now be determined by a majority, peer-to-peer vote of voting members of the Recording Academy. Previously, many of the categories within these fields utilized 15-30 highly skilled music peers who represented and voted within their genre communities for the final selection of nominees. With this change, the results of GRAMMY nominations and winners are placed back in the hands of the entire voting membership body, giving further validation to the peer-recognized process. To further support this amendment, the Academy has confirmed that more than 90 percent of its members will have gone through the requalification process by the end of this year, ensuring that the voting body is actively engaged in music creation. Craft committees remain in place (see below for craft category realignment.)
  • Reduction In Number Of Categories Voter May Vote

    • To ensure music creators are voting in the categories in which they are most knowledgeable and qualified, the number of specific genre field categories in which GRAMMY Award Voters may vote has been reduced from 15 to 10. Additionally, those 10 categories must be within no more than three fields. All voters are permitted to vote in the four General Field categories (Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist). Proposed by a special voting Task Force who brought forth the recommendation, this change serves as an additional safeguard against bloc voting and helps to uphold the GRAMMY Award as a celebration of excellence in music, with specific genre field categories being voted on by the most qualified peers.
  • Craft Category Realignment

    • To better reflect the overlapping peer groups within the voter membership body, six existing craft fields will be consolidated into two fields: Presentation Field and Production Field. In either newly consolidated field, voters would have the ability to choose how many categories they feel qualified to vote in, respecting category vote limits, without being excessively limited by the three-field restriction. This benefits the integrity of these Awards by embracing and utilizing the specializations of the voters, without restricting their choice or contributions due to the field limits imposed by the recent reduction of the number of categories voters may vote in. Field updates are as follows:

      • Package Field, Notes Field and Historical Field renamed and consolidated to Presentation Field

      • Production, Non-Classical Field; Production, Immersive Audio Field; and Production, Classical Field renamed and consolidated to Production Field

New Categories Added

Two new categories have been added, bringing the total number of GRAMMY Award categories to 86:

  • Best Global Music Performance (Global Music Field)

  • Best Música Urbana Album (Latin Music Field)

"The latest changes to the GRAMMY Awards process are prime examples of the Recording Academy's commitment to authentically represent all music creators and ensure our practices are in lock-step with the ever-changing musical environment," said Ruby Marchand, Chief Industry Officer at the Recording Academy. "As we continue to build a more active and vibrant membership community, we are confident in the expertise of our voting members to recognize excellence in music each year."

"As an Academy, we have reaffirmed our commitment to continue to meet the needs of music creators everywhere, and this year's changes are a timely and positive step forward in the evolution of our voting process," said Bill Freimuth, Chief Awards Officer at the Recording Academy. "We rely on the music community to help us to continue to evolve, and we’re grateful for their collaboration and leadership." 

The Recording Academy accepts proposals from members of the music community throughout the year. The Awards & Nominations Committee, comprised of Academy Voting Members of diverse genres and backgrounds, meets annually to review proposals to update Award categories, procedures and eligibility guidelines. The above rule amendments were voted on and passed at a Recording Academy Board of Trustees meeting held on April 30, 2021. For information on the Awards process, visit our GRAMMY Voting Process FAQ page.

The Recording Academy will present the 2022 GRAMMY Awards show on Sunday, April 3, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on demand on Paramount+ from 8–11:30 p.m. ET / 5–8:30 p.m. PT. Prior to the telecast, the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony will be streamed live on GRAMMY.com and the Recording Academy's YouTube channel. Additional details about the dates and locations of other official GRAMMY Week events, including the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, <a href="https://www.musicares.org/person-year "https://www.musicares.org/person-year"">MusiCares' Person of the Year, and the Pre-GRAMMY Gala, are available here.

2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Nominations List

Announcement: 2022 GRAMMYs Postponed
2022 GRAMMY Nominations

Graphic by the Recording Academy

news

Announcement: 2022 GRAMMYs Postponed

After careful consideration and analysis with city and state officials, health and safety experts, the artist community and our many partners, the Recording Academy and CBS have postponed the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards Show

GRAMMYs/Jan 5, 2022 - 10:45 pm

The following is a Joint Statement from the Recording Academy and CBS:

“After careful consideration and analysis with city and state officials, health and safety experts, the artist community and our many partners, the Recording Academy and CBS have postponed the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards Show. The health and safety of those in our music community, the live audience, and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly to produce our show remains our top priority. Given the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, holding the show on January 31st simply contains too many risks. We look forward to celebrating Music’s Biggest Night on a future date, which will be announced soon.” 

2022 GRAMMYs Awards Show: Complete Nominations List

Lady Gaga Pays Homage To Tony Bennett With Heartfelt "Love for Sale” & “Do I Love You" Performance | 2022 GRAMMYs
Lady Gaga

Photo: Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Lady Gaga Pays Homage To Tony Bennett With Heartfelt "Love for Sale” & “Do I Love You" Performance | 2022 GRAMMYs

Dressed to the nines in a seafoam green ball gown, Lady Gaga performed "Love for Sale” and “Do I Love You" — two tracks from her GRAMMY-winning collaboration album with Tony Bennett, 'Love for Sale'

GRAMMYs/Apr 4, 2022 - 02:30 am

Lady Gaga transformed the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas into her own personal jazz lounge, as she performed Love for Sale highlights "Love for Sale” & “Do I Love You" at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards. It came easy to the pop icon, as she’s no stranger to the Sin City stage (her Lady Gaga Enigma + Jazz & Piano residency at MGM Park Theater began in 2018).

The performance served as a tribute to Gaga’s Love for Sale (and longtime) collaborator Tony Bennett, who announced his retirement last year as the 95-year-old is currently battling Alzheimer’s disease. Though he couldn’t be in attendance, the jazz legend opted to virtually introduce his latest partner-in-music.

First channeling her inner Judy Garland, Gaga performed a glitzy rendition of the album’s title track. The performance then got more somber as the singer paid tribute to Bennett with “Do I Love You," as clips of the pair recording and performing together played onscreen. It was a naturally touching performance, with Gaga getting choked up when looking at the 95-year-old’s hand before hitting her final note.

Gaga was already a winner before she stepped on stage: Love For Sale won awards for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical at the Premiere Ceremony earlier in the evening. The album’s single “I Get A Kick Out Of You” also earned nominations for Record Of The Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Music Video. The album itself also scored nods for Album Of The Year and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

Check out the complete list of winners and nominees at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

"The Coolest Cat On The Planet": Honoring Tony Bennett, An Industry Icon And Champion Of The Great American Songbook