Spotlight Series: Grady Champion


The blues laid the foundation for so much of the music we enjoy today, which is why you’ll find blues musicians performing on Levitt stages across America, year after year. This week, we’re spotlighting one of the genre’s most innovative artists. Enjoy these 12 fun facts about Mississippi’s ‘Champion of Blues’—GRAMMY Award-winning songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Grady Champion:

  • Champion is the youngest of 28 children.
  • Churchgoers in Canton, Miss., enjoyed some of Champion’s earliest performances, when he served as an 8-year-old choir member at his family’s church.
  • After high school, young Champion worked as a radio DJ and boxer in Florida.
  • In the 1990s, Champion launched his career as a professional performer rapping under the moniker MC Gold.
  • Champion teamed up with Kevin Bowe to write “Trust Yourself,” which appeared on Etta James’ album Let’s Roll—winner of the 2003 GRAMMY Award for “Best Contemporary Blues Album” and the Blues Foundation’s “Soul/Blues Album of the Year” in 2004.
  • In 2010, Champion solidified a name for himself in the blues community, winning the 26th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. and embarking on an international tour across the US, Europe and Canada.
  • Champion’s 2011 album Dreamin’—featuring the Blues Critic Award-winning song, “Make That Monkey Jump”—reached the number one spot on Sirius XM’s Bluesville chart and earned nominations for Blues Music Awards in two categories, “Best Soul Blues Album” and “Song of the Year” for “Thank You for Giving Me the Blues.”
  • The drummer in Champion’s band is his first cousin, Calvin Jackson.
  • In 2014, Champion built his own recording studio adjacent to his home, which serves as the headquarters of his new label D Champ Records—boasting a roster that includes JJ Thames and 2015 International Blues Challenge winner Eddie Cotton Jr.
  • This acclaimed, next generation leader in the blues community earned praise from AllMusic stating, “Champion, along with young innovators like Shemekia Copeland and Shawn Pittman, is one of the brighter beacons in the future of blues music.”
  • Champion’s contributions to the field secured him a 2014 cover story in Living Blues magazine.
  • Earlier this month, Champion released his tenth album One of a Kind

Experience Champion’s award-winning vocals and harmonica licks—that Levitt AMP Middlesboro audiences will enjoy tomorrow night—in the video below! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *