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"Big Daddy" Marquise Knox - Interview with a Prodigy

"Big Daddy" Marquise KnoxBlues Interview
Real BLues Real People
by "Miss Vickie"
special ops./STLBLUES.NET

What can you say when you realize you are watching history. As a matter of fact, you are actually a part of the historical happening as we speak. We read books, watch dvd's, and look at portraits of some of the greatest blues musicians ever to grace our earth. But today, we are experiencing what others in the future will do in our stead. Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill? Check it out for yourselves! I write about BB's Jazz Blues and Soups because it is a venue highly regarded by blues musicians. Mark O'Shaunessey, John May, Carol and the staff, work very hard to bring to St. Louis some of the best blues musicians in town and around. One day, about two years ago or so, John May heard of a kid who was knocking everyone's socks off with his "Old Man Blues" sounds. His style, his demeanor, his voice, his rifts....all sound like you are listening to one of the legends of blues. As a matter of fact, you are, but he'll be considered a "living" legend soon. You can take that to the bank!

On February 8, 2007 this young , old, man turned "Sweet 16". Sweet 16 I tell you! What were you doing at that age? I was being kissed. (laughter) This young man was playing the blues.

Marquise Knox was born in St. Louis in 1991. I was working for the KDHX Community Radio as a volunteer. I had no idea there was a change a comin'. Marquise received his first guitar from his father at the age of three. It was a plastic guitar from K-Mart. The rest is history! The blues entered into his life aroung the age of twelve. His Uncle Clifford was and still is a very huge influence of the style of music that Marquise plays today. His Grandmother too. Though Marquise is a native of St. Louis, he traveled quite often to Granada, Mississippi amd Little Rock, Arkansas to visit with family. There he would play music with family and friends on the front porches, bar-b-ques, and the like. They loved and played the old blues-style music. Marquise could not help but get caught up in the action. "It's sometimes easier to play around the family," says Marquise. "Uncle Clifford was tough on me. He taught me a lot."

I asked Marquise, "What made you come out and start playing around the town at such an early age?" Marquise started playing at age twelve and a half with the Billy Barnett Band at 1860's Saloon in Soulard. His God Grand Daddy hooked Marquise up through his connections with other musicians who buy their strings at J Gravity Strings (The Guru) located at 1546 So. Broadway.

One night, Erica Johnson heard Marquise sing and play. She was amazed, like we all are when we first here him perform. Erica got up on stage and sang a song to Marquise, called "My Big Fat Daddy". Thus crowning him, Big Daddy Marquise Knox. Erica said to Marquise, "I'm going to get you known!" And then the waters were unleashed.

Marquise met Jeremy and the Bottoms Up Blues Gang. They helped him produce his first cd. Then he met Skeet Rogers and the Inner City Blues Band. "I owe a lot to everyone who has helped me on my way," says Marquise. Bud at Beale on Broadway brought Marquise over to play, and while there, he met John May and began to play at BB's across the street. The first gig he played there was the Baby Blues Showcase. An excellent opportunity for young blues artists to showcase their stuff. Jeremy of the Bottoms Up Blues Gang puts this together and does a great job! Thanks Jeremy!

Let's hear from Big Daddy Marquise Knox:

"My first time playin' at BB's was the Baby Blues Showcase and I've been playin' there ever since. To play inside of BB's you gotta have that special thing. It was hard at first, but I got it all now! (laughter) I love my gigs at BB's; they're the best around! I love everything about the place, I love John May!" (laughter) "I want to send a shout out to everybody that helped me to get where I am."

There is a special person on stage when you go to see Marquise. His style, his music, the hats he wears, and the clothes. He loves hats and you can see this. He wears them well...just like the old timers. He likes to get dressed up. He looks sharp! How can he be only 16?

Big Daddy Marquise Knox is planning a cd release party at BB's sometime in April. Word to the wise..watch for this one! John May has his hand in the production. There will be some solo, some band work, and with new technology, Marquise can play and back himself up on the same cd!

I'd like to thank "The Prodigy" for this interview. What a nice young boy..yes I said it...young boy and a great blues musician. He has a younger brother trying to follow in his foot steps. Good Luck to him. Marquise Knox,what an inspiration! Live Long and Prosper, Big Daddy!

check out these websites - BB's | Baby Blues Showcase | KDHX | J Gravity Strings

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