KING SOLOMON HICKS is a New York City guitarist, blues, jazz singer, and composer whose style of music ranges from jazz, blues & gospel through to R&B and funk.
Hicks started playing at the age of six, and by the age of thirteen he’d starting playing along with the Cotton Club in New York City’s 17-piece band as a lead guitarist. At Harlem’s School of the Arts and at Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts, he studied jazz, classical, and Afro-Cuban guitar.
The musician will be playing his debut London show at the 100 Club on 7th June 2022.
We had a chance to chat with the artist about his forthcoming shows and also about his influences:
RAW RAMP: Hi, what is it like to be making your debut London appearance? And, especially, what is it like to be playing at the legendary 100 club?
“It’s an exciting time for me. My album won a Blues Music Award last year  and now I’m playing the same stage that The Pretty Things, The Kinks, the Who, the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Jackie Wilson & Muddy Waters have played on. It’s a milestone in my career I’d say!”
RAW RAMP: We saw you jammed with Joe Louis Walker, what other electric blues guitarists have been an influence on your stylistic approach to music?
“I really listen closely to Chris Cain and Robert Cray! I opened up for Robert at the Ridgefield Playhouse In Connecticut and it was so inspiring to see him play with such conviction. I borrow guitar ideas from the two of them all the time. “
RAW RAMP: We saw you met Harlem on My Mind singer Catherine Russell, she worked with Bowie back in the day… what other New York artists have inspired you?
“First for me …. Taj Mahal! He’s been rocking since the 60’s and was born in Harlem NYC! Another favorite is Johnny Copeland! [Although from Louisiana] he had a long stay in New York and I think it’s cool he played the Cotton Club on 125th street! The same club where I got my start at thirteen.
RAW RAMP: Have you been recording since 2020 “Harlem”? Is there a new album in the works?
“I’m either on the road touring or I’m back in the studio working on new ideas and cutting demo tracks . There is definitely a new album in the works! The songs are chosen and I’m in the process of thinking who should be a guest on the album!
“Kirk is always a part of my musical explorations, and it’s at Kirks studio (Studio 99) in Brooklyn NY where I get to record on some classic audio gear. It’s like studio 54 without the disco music!”
RAW RAMP: You are known for crossing and merging genres, any plans to introduce rap, jazz, or country into your sounds?
“I’m never looking to move into any singular genre but I’ll take the attitude of a rap artist like Kendrick Lamar, the poetry of a Willie Nelson for country and the sophistication of Frank Sinatra’s and Sammy Davis jr’s jazz aesthetic to make a sound that me and the audience can rock to. NYC has always been a musical melting pot in that way. By the way, we used Hank Williams jr and the steel/slide player Mike Daly on the Harlem LP…”
RAW RAMP: We are looking forward to the Holland International Blues Festival. Will this be your first trip to the Netherlands?
“This is my second time playing one of the biggest festivals in the Netherlands, the Holland international blues fest!”
“The first year I had the bassist Leo Lyons (Ten Years After) join me. And I’ll never forget hearing the crowd roar after our first song.”
“I can’t wait to get out there with my D’angelico guitar and re-live the experience with the audience and the stage!! This year is a solid line up and i can’t wait to hear/see my friends Beth Hart and Walter Trout performing at the fest as well…”
RAW RAMP: Yes, we see you’re opening for Jools Holland.
“I’m very excited to experience Jools Holland and his rhythm and blues orchestra! To me, there is nothing like that big band sound complimented with some ripping piano leads! I am a fan of his playing in the band Squeeze and his UK studio work. He is the Paul Shaffer of the UK..”
RAW RAMP: We’re wishing you lots of success! Have a fun time in Europe!
KING SOLOMON HICKS was talking with @neilmach 2022 ©
Main photo: Arnie-Goodman, official video capture, Mascot Label Group