Author: The Double Scoop
I met Jamell Richardson on the set of the movie Get On Up a little over a year ago. I was cast as an extra in the movie and he was cast to play Jimmy Nolen, the lead guitarist for James Brown. Jamell had one of those contagious personalities; the type of personality that people are immediately drawn to. He was very personable and funny and was well known among the other cast and crew members. His outgoing personality makes it hard for him to ever meet a stranger so it wasn’t a surprise that we connected on the set. Since the movie ended Jamell’s career has really taken off so Ashley and I decided to catch up with him for an interview so that people who are unaware of the artist can get a better idea of who he is.
Check out our interview below.
TDS: Where are you originally from?
JR: Mobile, Alabama
TDS: What influenced your decision to start playing the guitar?
JR: B.B. King was a big influence. I actually started playing the guitar when I was only two years old and started professionally recording at age 13. I am self taught.
TDS: Being that you are only 26 what made you want to become a blues musician?
JR: I consider myself to be a soul artist more so than a blues musician. I grew up in a traditional Pentecostal church where my grandmother was the church pastor. Blues music reminded me a lot of the music that I heard in church growing up.
TDS: Who are some blues artists that you have worked with during your career?
JR: Bobby Womack, Bobby Bland, and Shirley Brown just to name a few
TDS: You recently released your first EP “Gulf Coast Blues Boy”. How long did you work on it and what is your favorite song off the EP?
JR: I worked on the EP about 2 to 3 months and I would have to say my favorite song is “Can’t hurt me no mo”.
TDS: Last year you were in the James Brown biopic Get On Up and was cast as Jimmy Nolen. Tell us about that experience and how you were cast for the role.
JR: Initially when I submitted for a role in the movie I wasn’t selected. At the time my friend Mike and I were band members for Mel Walters and Mike got a phone call to come in for his final audition for the movie. I ended up riding to the audition with him because he didn’t have time to drive me to my car. At the audition some of the producers walked up to me because they noticed that I resembled some of James Brown’s band members. I was initially cast for the role of Les Bowie but was later cast as Jimmy Nolen after one of the other musicians dropped out. I was shocked that I was cast for the role.
TDS: Initially you didn’t have a speaking line in the movie. How did you end up getting a speaking role?
JR: During the time of filming I was still playing with Mel Walters. There was a conflict between the filming time and the dates I was supposed to play with the band so I decided to quit the band and continue with filming. I definitely took a leap of faith. The day after I quit I woke up and spoke into existence that I would get speaking lines. That same day on set we were filming a scene where James Brown and his band members were arguing about him not paying them. The directors felt that the scene was too dry and missing something so one of them came up to me and told me to say F- you to James Brown. He told me not to tell anyone so when I said it everyone was kind of caught off guard and the moment was very organic.
The overall movie experience was amazing; I had the opportunity to work alongside great actors like Dan Akyroyd, Viola Davis, Jim Scott and Chadwick Boseman. On the set I gave guitar lessons to singer Aloe Blacc to help him prepare for some of his scenes. I’m still on a high from the whole experience. In my career I’ve always felt the need to stay in the background even though I knew I was supposed to be a front man. Being a part of the movie has helped me to see that more clearly.
TDS: Are you interested in pursuing any more acting jobs and do you have any upcoming projects?
JR: I’m not opposed to it but music is my heart. Music got me into acting. I’m currently working on a new album called “Bringing It Back” which I plan to release in late April or May. The title of the album represents bringing back real music, real life and real things. I feel that it is the type of music that everyone can listen to.
TDS: How can people contact you and hear some of your work?
JR: For bookings email@example.com
Youtube: Jamell Richardson
It was a pleasure interviewing Jamell and we are very excited to see him advance even more in his career. You can purchase his EP on Itunes here.
Jamell Richardson “Gulf Coast Blues Boy” features special guest Erica Washington @ BayFest Music Festival 2014.