Remember Jimmy Nolen, James Brown’s guitarist, in Get On Up, the motion picture released in 2014? That was Jamell Richardson, “born in Mississippi, raised in Alabama,” like he sings in his “I Love The Blues”. Besides being an actor, the “Gulf Coast Blues Boy” is an incredible musician and performer.
Jamell Richardson was born in Meridian, Mississippi, and raised in the small town of Butler, Alabama. His musical journey started very, very young: his grandmother who was a pastor carried him to church with her every chance she could. By the age of one, Jamell was being influenced by all the church musicians. When his grandmother noticed his interest in music, she bought him his first guitar.
By age 11, Jamell was already an active studio and church musician as well as a vocalist. He groomed his skills playing behind numerous gospel quartet groups, from Rance Allen, Paul Beasley, to Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Sapp and a number of other well-known gospel acts. As he matured, Jamell began to expand his horizons by listening to B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix, George Benson, Eric Johnson, and many more which lead to his growing interest in other genres especially the blues.
By 2012 he was on the road touring and recording with the legendary Southern soul bluesman Mel Waiters. He quickly began to shine being featured as Mel Waiters’ “young gun” and “phenomenal guitar player.” His guitar solos made him a YouTube sensation.
In 2013, as his music career was taking off, Jamell got introduced to acting when he was cast for the Get On Up movie. Released in August 2014, the biopic was produced by Mick Jagger and Brian Grazer, and features Chadwick Boseman, Dan Aykroyd, Jill Scott, Tika Sumpter, Craig Robinson, Nelsan Ellis… Not only did Jamell play James Brown’s long time friend and musician Jimmy Nolen, but he also worked as the movie’s guitar instructor and coach. He taught everyone from Top 10 Billboard recording artist Aloe Blacc to Keith Robinson (Dream Girls), and a number of other cast members from the film.
So far in his short career as a musician Jamell has had the opportunity to share the stage with legends such as Bobby Womack, Lenny Williams, Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Latimore, Al Green, Shirley Brown, Denise LaSalle, Millie Jackson, and many more blues legends.
Jamell is known for his “B.B. King like” facial expressions and Jimi Hendrix style guitar tricks, his strong soulful voice and his incredible stage presence.
Check out this video of Jamell Richardson getting emotional while paying tribute to his idol B.B. King at the MTV Hangout Music Festival.
More tunes on Soundcloud