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Is Gen Z guitar wiz Christone 'Kingfish' Ingram, 25, the heir apparent to Buddy Guy and B.B. King?

George Varga, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

Given his electrifying guitar playing and deeply felt singing, it's not surprising that everyone from Buddy Guy and Elton John to Bootsy Collins and G. Love are avowed fans of Gen Z music dynamo Christone "Kingfish" Ingram. And it's not surprising a growing number of admirers are hailing this Mississippi native as the rising heir apparent to such blues icons as Guy and the late B.B. King.

But at just 25, Ingram has already achieved more than Guy — his single biggest mentor — and King had when they were his age. The two legends were each 31 when their debut albums came out in 1956 and 1967, respectively.

Ingram was 19 when his justly acclaimed debut album, "Kingfish," was released in 2019.

"I had done studio work recording before I was in 11th grade," he said, speaking recently from Los Angeles. "And I had been singing in church since I was young."

Guy and King were both officially senior citizens when they performed at the White House in 2012 for President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama. That was one year after Ingram made his White House debut. He was 14 at the time.

"That was a standout point in time for me!" Ingram said in a 2021 San Diego Union-Tribune interview. He's been racking up more standout moments ever since.

 

Ingram was 23 when Fender Guitars debuted its Kingfish Telecaster Deluxe model in 2022.

By comparison, King was 55 when Gibson Guitars unveiled its commemorative B.B. King ES-355 signature line in 1980. Guy was 59 when Fender released its Buddy Guy signature Stratocaster line in 1995.

King was 51 when he won his first Grammy Award; Guy was 55. Ingram was only 23 when he won his first Grammy — for best contemporary blues album — for his second full-length release, "662." His victory saw him top such much better-known nominees as Steve Cropper, Joe Bonamassa, Shemekia Copeland and the Black Keys.

He was also 23 when the Rolling Stones handpicked him to open their 2022 show at London's Hyde Park. King and Guy were 43 and 34, respectively, when they first opened concerts for the Stones in 1969 and 1970.

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