(JACKSON, MISS) – Alligator Records has announced the signing of Clinton, Mississippi’s award-winning guitarist, vocalist and songwriter, 29-year-old Jarekus Singleton. One of the brightest, most exciting young stars on the blues scene today, Singleton’s cutting-edge, streetwise music — melding contemporary and traditional blues with rock energy and hip-hop wordplay — turns audiences of all ages into devoted fans. With his blazing guitar licks and strong, soulful voice, Singleton brings his up-to-the-minute take on the blues to every song he writes and performs. From ferocious and funky to slow and steamy to smoking hot, Singleton is a young blues master carrying the blues into the future.
Singleton’s label debut, Refuse To Lose, has just been completed and is set for a May 2014 release. The album of all original songs was produced by Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer along with Singleton, and recorded at PM Music in Memphis, engineered and mixed by veteran engineer Pete Matthews.
According to Iglauer, “Jarekus Singleton is one of the most dynamic and creative of the new generation of blues artists. With his deep Mississippi roots and his innovative songwriting, he’s creating fresh, relevant blues for today’s audiences. I’m thrilled to have him join the Alligator Records family.”
The Jarekus Singleton Band is one of the most popular blues bands in Mississippi, and they are positioned to conquer the national and international scene. They’ve been tearing up clubs, concert halls and festivals across the South, and performed twice at the world-renowned Chicago Blues Festival. The band has been featured at South Carolina’s Lowcountry Blues Festival and Festival of Discovery as well as many other festivals in the South and clubs throughout Mississippi. Singleton is managed by Peggy Brown at Hit The Road Entertainment, and was recently signed by Blue Mountain Artists booking agency. He and his band will play a number of high-visibility festivals and club dates, including Springing The Blues Festival, Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco, The North Atlantic Blues Festival, The PA Blues Festival, and The Cincinnati Blues Festival, with many more dates to be added.
Jarekus self-released his first album, Heartfelt, in 2011. Fans were not the only ones taking notice. Three songs from that album, “I’m Leaving You”, “Singing The Blues”, and “Gotta Believe Me”, are in regular rotation on B.B. King’s Bluesville on XM/Sirius Radio, the most-listened-to blues radio station in the world. But radio wasn’t alone in praising the rising blues star, as the rest of the world began paying attention. Singleton was named a “star on the rise” by Blues & Rhythm magazine in the UK. Guitar Center named him the 2011 “King of the Blues” in Mississippi. He received the Jackson Music Award for 2012 Blues Artist of the Year and for 2013 Local Artist of the Year. The Jackson Free Press named him the 2013 Best Local Blues Artist.
Born into a family of church musicians and vocalists on July 11, 1984 in Clinton, Mississippi, Jarekus Singleton was immersed in gospel music as a child. Taught by his uncle, Jarekus began playing bass guitar at age nine in his grandfather’s church band. He later switched to lead guitar and began to sharpen his instrumental and vocal skills, falling in love with the music of all three Kings (B.B., Albert and Freddie) as well as Stevie Ray Vaughan, rapper Jay-Z and even country artist Brad Paisley. In his late teens, Jarekus pursued a career in basketball, becoming a top-seeded national player in college until an injury took him back to his music full time. For a short period he performed as a rap artist, writing his own lyrics. Before long though, he began combining his rap wordsmithing with the music of his Mississippi heritage, creating a thoroughly modern, masterfully updated take on the blues.
Living Blues praised Singleton for “blending styles and elements across genres and generations.” Audiences at his shows run the gamut from older blues fans to younger rockers and rap aficionados. Knowing from his time on the basketball court that there is no substitute for hard work, Singleton is single-mindedly driven to succeed.
“Blues is honest music,” according to Singleton, who is determined to put his own stamp on the genre. “I love the blues tradition, and have always been inspired by the masters. But I want to create something for today’s audience that is as original and new as those blues masters were when they first started making records. I want to create blues for the 21st century.” Confirmed tour dates below:
March 22 – Underground 119, Jackson, MS
April 5 – Springing the Blues Festival, Jacksonville Beach, FL
April 11 – Jackson Zoo Fest, Jackson, MS
April 19 – Underground 119, Jackson, MS
May 17 – Stomp the Blues Out of Homelessness, Springfield, MO
May 23 & 24 – Biscuits & Blues, San Francisco, CA
July 12 – North Atlantic Blues Festival, Rockland, ME
July 27 – PA Blues Festival, Palmerton, PA
August 1 – Cincinnati Blues Festival, Cincinnati, OH
August 30 – Route 23 Fest, Wise, VA
September 13 – TFA Party, Indianola, MS
October 4 – Mighty Mississippi Festival, Greenville, MS