“Blues singer preserves musical legacy”

In 2011, blues singer and songwriter Shemekia Copeland was crowned “Queen of the Blues” by legendary singer KoKo Taylor’s daughter, Cookie, at the Chicago Blues Festival. That special moment was a career highlight for the down home, Harlem-born entertainer with the gut-wrenching vocal chops. Yet, she was perplexed as to why she was being passed such an influential torch.

“I couldn’t believe it,” says Copeland during her master class at Rialto Center for the Arts in Atlanta. “I didn’t think it was going to happen in that way. It’s an honor and blessing for them to think that I can carry this music on for my generation.”

Copeland doesn’t speak in front of an audience very often, but she isn’t fazed by interacting with people at all. The singer is extremely gracious anytime fans or other musicians give her high praises for her talent or come to hear her sing. She drops a few historical references about iconic female blues singers she looks up to, shares several stories about herself and lists some of the global artists and musicians she streams on her playlists. But nothing gets Copeland’s adrenaline going like performing for a crowd.

Singing makes Copeland light up. “The art of entertaining is still my favorite part,” she says. “When somebody gets up there and jumps inside of a song and sells you that song, you need to be able to believe them.” What makes Copeland special in this era of music is she records and performs blues with contemporary themes and subject matter. She addresses topics like domestic violence (“I Ain’t Gonna Be Your Tattoo”), date rape and religious hypocrisy.

By Christopher A. Daniel, in a lenghty feature titled “Shemekia Copeland: Blues singer preserves musical legacy,” also talking about the lyrics of her songs, her first appearance at The Cotton Club in New York at age 9, her sicography, her influences . Read the full story on The Burton WireLOGO the burton wire