Posted On 07 Sep 2016
Mississippi-based, Grammy Award winning songwriter, entertainer/musician, Grady Champion has been captivating audiences for more than two decades. The singer/harp player/guitarist/songwriter/producer is signed to Malaco Records, headquartered in nearby Jackson, MS.
In 2013, his first full-length release with the legendary blues label was released the following year. His album, Bootleg Whiskey, named for the George Jackson song, that is one of the album highlights, establishes Champion as a torch carrier for authentic Mississippi blues.
“I play what I feel,” says Grady Champion, whose socially conscious lyrics and inspiring live performances have earned him a 2014 cover story in Living Blues magazine. His appeal has crossed over between predominantly white fans of traditional blues and predominantly black soul-blues fans. “I think blues has a bright future . . . you just gotta be able to hang in the game.” With an album on Malaco and a touring schedule of approximately 180 performances per year, that is just what Grady Champion is doing.
Grady’s newest album, ONE OF A KIND, will be released on Malaco Records in September 16th. It will be his 10th album released in his career (1st album was as a rap artist in 1990, Going Gold).
All Access caught up with Grady at his favorite breakfast spot the major chain restaurant, Cracker Barrel, to chat all things music. Read their interview below:
Now that we are more then half-way through 2016, what are some words you would use to describe it?
It’s been a very exciting and challenging first half of the year, but now things are starting to come together after the release of my new single “Move Something”.
What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you and your music?
My single “Southside” and the amount of airplay I received on Music Choice, Sirius XM, etc.
Growing up, did you all always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
Growing up, I didn’t think I was going to be a musician, because of my love for sports. My earliest musical memory was singing in the church choir at 8 years old.
How do you think being from Mississippi has influenced you as an artist and ultimately, your unique sound?
It helped prepare me for the hard work and challenges in the music industry. Being rooted in the birthplace of American music, the soul, the gospel, the rock & roll, and the blues helped define my sound.
You’ve had a lot of different musical experiences. I’m curious to know more about your transition from rapper to blues musician?
I decided when I was 22 years old, I wanted to play in front of a more mature audience because I was a single father and during that time it was a lot of violence in rap music.
What was it like working on the Etta James collection, “Let’s Roll” with Kevin Bowe on the single “Trust Yourself”?
It was a great time, I enjoyed the experience writing with Kevin.
This fall, you will be releasing your newest album, “One of A Kind” via Malaco Records. What does it feel like knowing this is your 10thcollection? How do you think you have grown as an artist on this record? What things did you do differently with the making of it?
It’s very exciting knowing I have been in this business as long as I have, writing songs and performing shows. I have grown musically and vocally over the years just from doing so much of what I do. I took my time with writing, arranging, and recording this album; in most cases I just go in and get it done.
Who are some of your favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you? Who would you love to work with in the future?
I’m a very traditional guy; Muddy Waters, BB King, Freddy King, Albert King, Sonny Boy Williamson and I can go on and on! One person that I wanted to work with, I was able to work with on “The One of a Kind” album, Elvin Bishop; would also like to work with some of the older legends that are living, such as, Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
That it can touch and change someone life; making them feel good, helping them through a situation, or putting smile on their face.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Yes, even though I do blues based music, my music is always real, true from the heart, and spiritual.