B.B. King’s granddaughter is a Cleveland banker - and blues singer

September 27, 2018

B.B. King’s granddaughter is a Cleveland banker - and blues singer

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Val B. King’s job has got her singing the blues.

That’s a good thing.

King will be singing the blues this weekend because her employer, PNC, has asked her to: the local banker will perform at Saturday’s PNC Fairfax Connection Sixth Anniversary Celebration.

King, you see, is more than a banker. She’s a blues singer, too. It’s in her blood.

The Cleveland resident and Mansfield native is the granddaughter of blues legend B.B. King, one of the first performers inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, called the “King of the Blues” for a very good reason.

“Singing was always in my blood, I sang my first solo at 11 in school in Mansfield, and after that I always sang in church and in school. My father was a minister and a singer, too,” says King.

“I first sang for my grandfather at a family reunion when I was 12. I sang ‘One Moment in Time’ from Whitney Houston. As I was getting to the end of it, I was getting kind of happy, I guess and my father tried to get me to stop. My grandfather said ‘no, let her finish.’ From that moment on he referred to me as his star.”

King says her father Robert Edwards Sr. is the oldest of King’s reported 15 children, none born to his two wives. She says they saw her grandfather 3 to 4 times a year, including when he used to do his Easter Sunday shows at the Palace Theatre.

Though King sang throughout her youth, it wasn’t until she had graduated from Bowling Green State University, gotten married, had two daughters and a full-time banking job that she decided she might want to pursue music professionally.

“My grandfather laughed, he said ‘you’re doing this in the wrong order.’ But I think you’re never too old to try something.”

King recently completed her debut CD, “Life Love Music” (available at valbking.com and her live shows). It’s a mix of R&B/blues originals and a cover of BB King’s ’The Thrill is Gone.”

“I was a little intimidated to do it, but as I get older I’m learning and I’m not trying to BE my grandfather. I appreciate his presence, his soulfulness, everything he had. But I’m not trying to be him and I don’t think he would want me to. My version is my own, much more jazzy.

“My producer said keep it simple – and that IS what my grandfather did, simple and soulful.”

King says she’s honored to have been asked to headline the PNC Fairfax concert, which will also include several other local singers

The celebration is free and open to all.

Brian Williams, executive director of PNC Fairfax Connection, says the series has been a great success in connecting with the community. 

“With the trust and involvement of the community, PNC Fairfax Connection continues to expand its programming and partnerships to offer a truly unique experience for our members. On Saturday, we’ll celebrate that collaboration and thank our community by providing family fun, food and entertainment.”

PNC Fairfax Connection Sixth Anniversary Celebration

When: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29

Where: 8220 Carnegie Ave., Cleveland

Includes: Kids programs, refreshments, tours, games, music and more.

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