Shemekia thinking
about her next album

The year 2017 is shaping up as a very memorable year for family in Shemekia Copeland’s life and career. Next month her late father, bluesman Johnny Copeland, will be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, almost exactly 20 years since his death from heart problems.

At the same time, Shemekia, whose fine 2015 album “Outskirts of Love” earned a Grammy nomination, is still basking in her Blues Music Award as last year’s Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year, and planning her next new album for later this year.

But most important of all, this year has seen the arrival – on Christmas Eve no less – of Johnny Lee Copeland-Schultz, Shemekia’s first child, named after her dad. […]

“I started to think about my next album as soon as I had my baby,” said Copeland, 38. “But I didn’t want to rush into it. I want to take my time. I like to put a lot of thought and care into it, but the next one is definitely being talked about, and we are starting to get ready to record. We are talking about producers, but if I could I’d just work with Oliver Wood forever.”

By Jay N. Miller in a story called “Catching up with blues queen Shemekia Copeland” before Shemekia’s performance as the headliner of the second night, this Saturday, April 29, of the New England Blues Summit, at the Cape Cod Resort and Conference Center in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Read the full story in The Patriot Ledger.  


“A powerful voice comes with being a Copeland”

Shemekia Copeland is sitting in her Chicago home, conducting a phone interview while holding her 3-month-old son in her arms. Suddenly her son lets out a loud, gleeful sound.

“He’s very vocal. I don’t know where he gets that,” Copeland says.

No mystery there. A powerful voice comes with being a Copeland. It’s a gift he inherited from his mother and one she inherited, along with her talent, from her father, the late Texas bluesman Johnny Copeland.

Joe Burns interviewed Shemekia before her headlining performance at the New England Blues Summit at the Cape Cod Resort in Hyannis, Massachusetts, on Saturday, April 29.

Read the full story and all the details in The Wicked Local

Shemekia Copeland: “Hell, yeah’ God loves the blues”

To start his “Face to Faith,” a new column and podcast, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Robert Herguth invited Shemekia Copeland. Trying to answer to questions like: “What role does religion play in the lives of entertainers, politicians and others in the public eye?” “What’s shaped their faith?”

Shemekia Copeland at the Chicago Blues Fest in Grant Park June 13, 2015 – Photo Brian Jackson / Sun-Times files

Some of Shemekia’s answers:

My mom’s from North Carolina. So summers I would go visit my Grandma Jessie, and my Grandma Jessie was a saved woman. I always tease about it on stage that we went to church 28 days a week when I was down there because, you know, there was something to do with the church every day, bible study on Monday or this on Tuesday. […]

But my father, when I was at home in New York, we would just go to any church. My father was a very spiritual man . . . He just wanted to go and pray. And so I’ve always had faith, and I’ve always been spiritual. But it wasn’t until about two years ago I actually joined a church.

Listen to the interview:

Find the whole story on the Chicago Sun-Times

“A powerhouse vocalist
who can pretty much do it all”

“I’m drivin’ out of Nashville with a body in the trunk/Trying to figure out the depths that I have sunk” – it takes an immense amount of pluck to sell a line that far over the top. But leave it to Shemekia Copeland to pull it off with ease on “Drivin’ Out of Nashville,” from her very fine and most recent album “Outskirts of Love” (Alligator Records). The daughter of famed Texas bluesman Johnny Copeland, Shemekia has always come by her blues bonafides honestly as a powerhouse vocalist who can pretty much do it all. Or as she puts it elsewhere in that same song, “Country ain’t nothing but the blues with a twang.” Believe it.

By David Menconi before Shemekia’s performance at the University of North Carolina’s Chapel Hill’s Memorial Hall.

Read the full story in The News&Observer


“The power of her emotional delivery and her voice”

Shemekia Copeland performed at the Bull Durham Blues Festival in 2007 and 2015, and after each performance audience members marveled at the power of her emotional delivery and her voice. Copeland’s voice has a wide range, from rocking blues (like “Who Stole My Radio?” from her album “The Soul Truth”) or slower ballads (like “Lord Help the Poor and Needy” from her recent album “Outskirts of Love”).

“Why it’s strong, I have no idea,” Copeland said in a phone interview from her home in Chicago. “My father had a great voice, and my mom too. I take care of myself, at least I try to,” she said.

By Cliff Bellamy before Shemekia’s performance on Friday, April 21, at Memorial Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Read the full story in The Herald Sun


Shemekia to co-host Chicago Blues Fest kickoff party

Shemekia Copeland along with 93XRT’s Tom Marker Blues From Chicago will co-host the WXRT Blues Breakers Blues Fest Broadcast from Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago, on Thursday, June 8th from 6:30 to 8 PM. This kickoff party will feature performances by labelmate Toronzo Cannon as well as by Ronnie Baker Brooks.

The Chicago Blues Festival takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in nearby Millennium Park, June 9-11.

Read the full story on 93XRT

“Acclaimed blues vocalist”

Copeland said that while the album examines the experience of the outsider, of the person living on the other side of a traumatic or powerful experience, she herself has just begun a new chapter of her own life, having given birth to her son, Johnny Lee Copeland-Schutlz, on Christmas Eve of last year.

“When I do a record, everything is picked for a reason. On my latest record, it was all about people on the outskirts – whether that’s on the outskirts of love or social injustice,” said Copeland. “I picked the covers on the albums that I did because they reflect the experience of someone once the battle is over.”

Emily Votaw presents “acclaimed blues vocalist Shemekia Copeland” before her appearance “on the first ever live recording of Mountain Stage with Larry Groce at the relatively recently renovated Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta, Ohio,” along with Bridget Kearney, the T Sisters, John Németh, and Edward David Anderson.

Read the full story about the live event with Larry Groce on Woub Digital.

“She had more than
romance in mind”

Copeland frequently puts her music in support of the less fortunate. In May, she will perform at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville to raise funds for Thistle Farms, a group that aids women with a history of addiction and prostitution.

“I can’t think of a worthier, more important event, I could be part of,” Copeland said of the concert.

Such expressions of concern show empathy on Copeland’s part. At least when it comes to music, she is anything but an outsider.

Bill Nutt talks about Shemekia Copeland and her most recent album “Outskirts of Love,” for which “she had more than romance in mind,” before Shemekia’s performance at the Newton Theatre in Newton, New Jersey, on April 7.

“This album was about people on the outside,” said Copeland. “People on the outskirts of love, on the outskirts of politics.”

Read the full story on the Daily Record


“An old soul marching
to the beat of my own drum”

He’s with me every time I step on the stage… I’m a lifer, singing about things that bother me, using my music to help people. My dad always said ‘we’re all connected.’ I’m an old soul marching to the beat of my own drum.

Len Lear interviewed Shemekia Copeland for the Chestnut Hill Local before her performance at the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy on Thursday, April 6.

“The concert is underwritten by the Jamie Bell ’78 Music Fund, an endowed fund at SCH Academy. The fund was started and supported by the family and friends of Jamie Bell, an alumnus of CHA, who died in 2014. He was a beloved, well-known Philadelphia blues guitarist and vocalist,” explains Len Lear.

The journalist asked questions about Shemekia’s late father, Johnny Copeland, who is going to be inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis in May this year, about her influences (Koko Taylor and Ruth Brown), her ultimate goal in her career (“Keeping the blues alive and relevant for future generations”), and covered many more fields.

Read the full interview in the Chestnut Hill Local

Get tickets for the show at the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.

Check the tour page for more upcoming shows.

“Blues music runs through
Shemekia Copeland’s veins”

“There was no time that my father was sitting without a guitar in his hand, playing music,” she says. “And if he wasn’t playing, we were listening to records. I fell in love with music because that was my childhood – from blues to soul to gospel to country,” says Shemekia Copeland to Tara Hopfenspirger in a detailed story about Shemekia’s career published by about “Queen of the Blues: Teaneck native Shemekia Copeland”.

“To say blues music runs through Shemekia Copeland’s veins is an understatement,” reminds the writer before Shemekia’s performance at the Newton Theatre in Newton, New Jersey, on April 7.

Photo: Philippe Noisette/Special to

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