meta-scriptFresh Off His GRAMMY Win For '662,' Young Bluesman Christone "Kingfish" Ingram Is Just Getting Started |
Christone "Kingfish" Ingram

Photo: Justin Hardiman


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 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.

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Autumn Rowe at the 2023 GRAMMYs
Autumn Rowe at the 2023 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


Where Do You Keep Your GRAMMY?: Autumn Rowe Revisits Her Unexpected Album Of The Year Win With Jon Batiste

Acclaimed songwriter Autumn Rowe reveals the inspirational location where her Album Of The Year golden gramophone resides, and details the "really funny way" she first met Jon Batiste.

GRAMMYs/Apr 10, 2024 - 08:33 pm

Ever since Autumn Rowe won a GRAMMY in 2022, it's been her biggest motivation. That's why the musical multi-hyphenate keeps the award nestled in her writing room — to keep her creative juices flowing.

"It reminds me that anything is possible," she says in the latest episode of Where Do You Keep Your GRAMMY?

Rowe won her first-ever career GRAMMY in 2022 with an Album Of The Year award for Jon Batiste's We Are. "It was very stressful," she recalls with a laugh.

"Right before they announced Album Of The Year, the pressure started getting to me," Rowe explains. "Album Of The Year is the biggest possible award you can win. So, I'm like, 'We didn't win any of these [categories], how are we going to win the biggest award?"

The win also taught her one unforgettable, valuable lesson: "We matter. The music matters. Everything matters. We just have to create it. If there isn't space for it, we have to make space for it. Don't wait for something to open."

Rowe says she grew up "super dirt poor" and never even had the opportunity to watch the awards ceremony on television. "To be a GRAMMY winner means it is possible for everyone," she declares.

Press play on the video above to learn more about the backstory of Autumn Rowe's Album Of The Year award, and remember to check back to for more new episodes of Where Do You Keep Your GRAMMY?

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(L-R) Doja Cat and SZA at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy


GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Doja Cat & SZA Tearfully Accept Their First GRAMMYs For "Kiss Me More"

Relive the moment the pair's hit "Kiss Me More" took home Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, which marked the first GRAMMY win of their careers.

GRAMMYs/Mar 1, 2024 - 06:11 pm

As Doja Cat put it herself, the 2022 GRAMMYs were a "big deal" for her and SZA.

Doja Cat walked in with eight nominations, while SZA entered the ceremony with five. Three of those respective nods were for their 2021 smash "Kiss Me More," which ultimately helped the superstars win their first GRAMMYs.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, revisit the night SZA and Doja Cat accepted the golden gramophone for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance — a milestone moment that Doja Cat almost missed.

"Listen. I have never taken such a fast piss in my whole life," Doja Cat quipped after beelining to the stage. "Thank you to everybody — my family, my team. I wouldn't be here without you, and I wouldn't be here without my fans."

Before passing the mic to SZA, Doja also gave a message of appreciation to the "Kill Bill" singer: "You are everything to me. You are incredible. You are the epitome of talent. You're a lyricist. You're everything."

SZA began listing her praises for her mother, God, her supporters, and, of course, Doja Cat. "I love you! Thank you, Doja. I'm glad you made it back in time!" she teased.

"I like to downplay a lot of s— but this is a big deal," Doja tearfully concluded. "Thank you, everybody."

Press play on the video above to hear Doja Cat and SZA's complete acceptance speech for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards, and check back to for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

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Baby Keem (left) at the 2022 GRAMMYs.

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GRAMMY Rewind: Watch Baby Keem Celebrate "Family Ties" During Best Rap Performance Win In 2022

Revisit the moment budding rapper Baby Keem won his first-ever gramophone for Best Rap Performance at the 2022 GRAMMY Awards for his Kendrick Lamar collab "Family Ties."

GRAMMYs/Feb 23, 2024 - 05:50 pm

For Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar, The Melodic Blue was a family affair. The two cousins collaborated on three tracks from Keem's 2021 debut LP, "Range Brothers," "Vent," and "Family Ties." And in 2022, the latter helped the pair celebrate a GRAMMY victory.

In this episode of GRAMMY Rewind, turn the clock back to the night Baby Keem accepted Best Rap Performance for "Family Ties," marking the first GRAMMY win of his career.

"Wow, nothing could prepare me for this moment," Baby Keem said at the start of his speech.

He began listing praise for his "supporting system," including his family and "the women that raised me and shaped me to become the man I am."

Before heading off the stage, he acknowledged his team, who "helped shape everything we have going on behind the scenes," including Lamar. "Thank you everybody. This is a dream."

Baby Keem received four nominations in total at the 2022 GRAMMYs. He was also up for Best New Artist, Best Rap Song, and Album Of The Year as a featured artist on Kanye West's Donda.

Press play on the video above to watch Baby Keem's complete acceptance speech for Best Rap Performance at the 2022 GRAMMYs, and check back to for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind.

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

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GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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