- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) - Castro Coleman is living his dream as he hits the small screen to play one of his idols.

Coleman has been cast as Riley B. King, known around the world as “B.B. King,” in the new miniseries “Sun Records,” which premieres Thursday on Country Music Television. CMT spokeswoman Brittany Molinari said the series is set in Memphis during the early days of the civil rights movement and tells the story of the birth of rock n’ roll. She said the series chronicles the rise to fame of young musicians like King, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis in the face of sweeping political change and social unrest.

Coleman told The Enterprise-Journal (https://bit.ly/2mmBhpe ) he remembers at age 6 hearing a commercial where King was playing. “I remember telling my parents that I wanted to do that, and I wanted to do it that way. Who would’ve thought 34 years later that I’d be playing B.B. King?” he said.

As a child, he said he heard a little of King, but not very much. “We were raised in a Christian home, so I didn’t pay much attention to the music, because it was secular.”

But, he said the older he got, the more he began to listen to traditional blues.

Coleman said Bruce Iglauer, owner of Alligator Records, recommended him for the role of King.

“There was no one on his roster that could play the part well,” Coleman said, “It’s abnormal that he suggested me. But, I’m grateful. It just shows the relationships you can build in this industry can take you far.”

He said representatives from CMT called him and asked him to send in a demo.

“They gave me three lines to read. So, I dressed up and I played, and within five minutes they called me and told me I got the job, and my journey began,”?Coleman said.

He said the role of B.B. King was chosen last because CMT wanted to be sure the person who was chosen to play King was the right fit.

“They wanted the person to represent who he was and still is to the music industry,” he said, “It wasn’t an easy role to fill.”

This is the second time that Coleman will be seen on the national stage. He also had a small role in the James Brown biopic “Get on Up.”

Coleman said to play the role of a young King, he had to get into character - which meant shaving his beard and growing out his hair.

“I had to put the ‘Mr. Sipp’ image to the side, and I had to live inside B.B., and that meant no beard, but it was well worth it,” he said.

He said he and his wife went over his lines but he learned when he got on set it was more ad-libbed. Coleman said the directors gave him and his fellow cast members the leeway to improvise the parts.

“They would ask me, how do I feel,” he said. “They told me that I was the most natural actor,” he said.

Coleman said originally King’s part was only a few lines in two scenes in episode one. But, directors were so impressed with him, they gave him more spots. “I’m in three of the six parts of the miniseries,” he said.

“My mom told me when I was a junior in high school that my success would come in the strangest way. My mom was a Christian woman and we were raised in the Christian way but she saw what I’m living now,” he said.

He said roles like playing the younger version of King are opening new avenues he never thought would be open to him.

Along with playing King, Coleman has a new album set to be released April 7. His next goal is a Grammy.

The Grammys just brought back the traditional blues category in which Bobby Rush, a Louisiana native who now resides in Jackson, won at the age of 80. Another Pike County native, Vasti Jackson, was also nominated for the award and played on Rush’s winning album.

“It shows how rich with talent we are,” Coleman said.

He said he’s glad the category is back but he’s had aspirations of winning a Grammy without the category. “I don’t want to be confined to a box. I’ve always thought I?could compete for a Grammy. We’re going for it in 2018,” he said.


Information from: Enterprise-Journal, https://www.enterprise-journal.com

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