Christone “Kingfish” Ingram (Photo from callmekingfish on X)
Seven hopefuls with roots in the Magnolia State anticipate music’s biggest night on February 4th.
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is currently riding high on his third GRAMMY award nomination—this time, for his acclaimed 2023 release Live In London—but he remembers clearly when his name made the short list the first time, in 2020 for his self-titled debut.
“I remember waking up that morning and my phone was blowing up, and on Facebook somebody was like, ‘Hey man, congrats on your nomination!’” he says. “I kept saying to myself, ‘nah, nah, nah.’ Then I went and googled the nominees in the Traditional Blues category, and there was my name.”
That year, he and fellow Mississippian Bobby Rush were nominated in the same category, and both lost. Rush won the category the next year for Rawer Than Raw, his second GRAMMY trophy out of seven total nominations.
This time, they won’t have to compete against each other. The Clarksdale native’s nomination is in the Contemporary Blues category, which he won in 2022 with his second album, 662. Rush is nominated for the Traditional Blues award alongside Castro “Mr. Sipp” Coleman from McComb and John Primer, a Chicagoan who grew up in the Camden community of Madison County.
As strange as it may seem to see so much talent come from one place, this kind of showing is nothing new for artists with roots in the Magnolia State. According to The Recording Academy, Mississippi has more GRAMMY wins per capita than any other state in the U.S., spread across the awards’ 66-year history.
“It shows that Mississippi being the ‘birthplace of America’s music’ is not a made-up concept or a branding opportunity,” says Kamel King, a music attorney and the tourism development bureau manager at Visit Mississippi. “It is the honest-to-God truth, and it continually shows itself to be true, time and time again.”
Ingram, who is currently sailing through the Caribbean as a headlining performer on the 40th Rhythm & Blues Cruise—which also features Coleman and Primer plus Mississippi artists Super Chikan, Terry “Harmonica” Bean and Eden Brent—will return to port just in time for the ceremony on February 4. But first, he’s looking forward to reconnecting with his friends and sharing in the GRAMMY-nomination glow.
“I’ve been wanting to talk with [Coleman] to see how he feels—I’m pretty sure he feels great, you know,” Ingram told us three days before leaving port. “It’s a great time for Mississippi blues.”
How to watch the Grammy Awards
For the fourth consecutive year, former talk show host, comedian and author, Trevor Noah, will be hosting music’s biggest night. Noah could pick up a GRAMMY while he’s there – he was nominated for Best Comedy Album.
While the gala that airs at 7:00 p.m. CT on CBS will get most of the attention, the lion’s share of awards are actually presented earlier in the day during the Grammys Premiere Ceremony. Viewers can stream that event beginning at 2:30 p.m. CT at Grammy.com/live and on The Recording Academy’s YouTube channel.
Here are the Mississippi artists to watch for at the 66th Grammys.
Meridian native Hayley Williams of Paramore leads the group with two nominations—Best Rock Album for This Is Why and Best Alternative Music Performance for the album’s title cut.
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is up for Best Contemporary Blues Album for Live In London. In the Best Traditional Blues Album category, Mr. Sipp’s The Soul Side of Sipp, John Primer’s Teardrops For Magic Slim Live at Rosa’s Lounge, and Bobby Rush’s All My Love For You will face off.
In addition, Rush, Coleman and Charlie Musselwhite were part of the ensemble of performers on Count Basie Swings the Blues by The Count Basie Orchestra, which is nominated for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.
Swae Lee of Tupelo hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd is featured on the song “Calling” by Metro Boomin, who is nominated for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, and also “Too Bizarre (Juked)” from Skrillex’s Quest For Fire, which is nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album.
Jackson-based mixing engineer Courtland Liddell mixed the song “Your Power” by Lacrae and Tasha Cobbs Leonard, nominated in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song category, in his home studio.
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