Mississippi-based blues guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Jarekus Singleton may have yet to crack the big 3-0, but he is already a trailblazer, thanks to a cutting-edge sound equally rooted blues, rock and rap traditions. His songs are streetwise stories brimming with surprising images, pop culture references, infectious rhythms and unexpected musical twists.

The Mississippi native melds hip-hop wordplay, rock energy and R&B grooves with contemporary and traditional blues. Singleton  is an electrifying bluesman who offers untamed guitar licks and strong, soulful voice, moving effortlessly from ferocious and funky to slow and steamy to smoking hot.

Born into a family of church musicians and vocalists, Singleton was immersed in gospel music as a child and began playing bass guitar at age 9 in his grandfather's church band; he later switched to lead guitar. In his late teens, Singleton pursued a career in basketball and was a top-seeded national player in college, until an injury took him back to his music full-time. For a short time, 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 to create a thoroughly modern, masterfully updated take on the blues.

Founded in 2009, the Jarekus Singleton Blues Band has been tearing up clubs and festivals across the South and performed twice at the world-renowned Chicago Blues Festival. His Alligator CD “Refuse to Lose” came out in May.

Singleton is clearly on his way and says he loves the blues tradition, having 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."