By Brinda Fuller Willis, PhD
Jackson Advocate Contributing Writer
Although he’s only 22-years-old now, his Blues journey started when he was only eight-years-old as a student at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Upon his arrival at the museum, he met an unlikely quirky character, Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry, a Bluesman from the Hill Country of Abbeville, Mississippi. Perry immediately recognized Christine Ingram, who he named “Kingfish”, for the child prodigy that he was.
Little did Perry know, this little kid was the cousin of country music legend Charley Pride. The “Kingfish” already had music running through his gene pool and his talent was revealed at the Delta Blues Museum program which gave kids an introduction into Mississippi’s musical treasure – the Blues.
Christone’s mother, Princess Pride, is Charley’s cousin. Kingfish says, “I found out I was related to Charley Pride when I was about 12-years-old. That’s when I started listening to his music and thought I could possibly play country music too. But when I heard the Blues, I was hooked. I really learned about Charley and how famous he was when I was 15 or 16. That was about the time I started touring. I never met him, but I heard that he knew about me.
“My favorite Charley Pride song is ‘Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone.’ That’s why I did my version of that song on the Mississippi Public Broadcasting special Charley Pride: Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi ‘Star of Hope’ documentary that aired earlier this year. I was so impressed by his voice, his head for business, and the fact that he did Country music when practically no other African American was doing Country. I consider him my ‘Father of Country Music.’”
According to Christone, “Mr. Perry started calling me ‘Kingfish’ and it stuck. At first, I couldn’t understand why he called me ‘Kingfish,’ but as time went on, I realized that he saw something special in me saying, ‘There’s a Kingfish Among Us.’ He saw a gift in me for music that could only come from God.”
Kingfish said, “While at the museum, I started playing with the museum band and learned a lot through the program that they ran for kids like me, teaching us about the Blues and giving us a platform to develop. They put us on stage, encouraging us to embrace our heritage and culture through Blues and Gospel music.”
The Delta Blues Museum is the oldest music museum in Mississippi and specializes in preserving and exploring history and heritage of the unique American art form of the Blues. The museum is located at the intersection of Highway 61 and Highway 49 (“the Crossroads”), known as “the land where the Blues began.”
Kingfish has become a Blues and Blues Rock phenomenon well before his first album Kingfish was released in May 2019. NPR calls him “A rising blues prodigy…A torchbearer.” Look for the release of his second album 662 worldwide on July 23, 2021.
Kingfish is a 7x Blues Music Award winner; he’s Grammy nominated and has headlined two worldwide tours. Kingfish has appeared on Austin City Limits, and Rolling Stone has declared, “Kingfish is one of the most exciting young guitarists in years, with a sound that encompasses B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, and Prince.” Kingfish recently appeared at the B.B. King Museum Expansion event on June 5, 2021 in Indianola where he treated the audience with a preview of his upcoming 662 album.
Follow him on all social media platforms and on his website, www.christonekingfishingram.com.