“On that day,
everything changed”

Photo by Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune

“My dad sees me sitting in the audience, and he starts to play that song,” remembers Shemekia. “And I was just scared to death, because I said ‘Oh, my God, he’s going to call me up onstage.’ That’s exactly what he did.”

On that day, everything changed, starting with her name.

“I was born Charon,” she says. “Shemekia is my middle name. So my parents always fought over which one should be the first or the second. In school, I was Charon; at home I was Shemekia. But that day, he said, ‘I’m going to bring up my daughter, Miss Shemekia Copeland.’”

Her career was on.

The Los Angeles Times published Howard Reich’s feature “The making of powerhouse blues prodigy Shemekia Copeland, grown up and with a voice all her own.”

Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times


“Always been a Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival favorite”

This will be Shemekia’s 10th appearance at Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival.  She has always been a CBBF favorite. […]

“I believe that we have assembled some of the finest blues musicians touring today to celebrate our 20th year!” states Don Hooker, festival promoter. […] Chesapeake Bay Events has announced  a partial lineup for the 2018 CBBF, being held at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Maryland.

Eye on Annapolis announced Shemekia as part of the 2018 lineup of the Chesapeake Blues Festival. Read the full story. 

“She can belt out
a raucous blues number”

Shemekia Copeland returns to Bridge Street Live on Friday. On her last visit, she let the audience know that she was headed home to await the birth of her first child. Now that Johnny Lee is here, she is back on the road.

Copeland captures the crowd in a variety of ways. She can belt out a raucous blues number, fire up a blistering soul-shouter, bringing the out the gospel spirit or dig deep down into a soul stirring ballad. She sounds like no one else. […]

By Domenic Forcella in The Register Citizen, before Shemekia’s performance at Bridge Street Live in Collinsville, Connecticut, this Friday, September 22.

Read the full story in The Register Citizen

“A dynamic, seasoned, veteran
performer by this point”

Teaneck-raised blues belter Shemekia Copeland, daughter of the late great Texas bluesman Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, comes to Stanhope House Wednesday night, Sept. 20, for a rare New Jersey performance.

One of Copeland’s earliest performances was at the Old Bay Restaurant in New Brunswick in the early 1990s with her father.  She was just 15 or 16 at the time and accompanied her late father on regular visits to the club (and the radio show I host). […]

She’s a dynamic, seasoned, veteran performer by this point.

By Richard Skelly, on Read the full story. 

“Her voice is her instrument”

Bluesmaster Johnny Clyde Copeland’s little girl is all grown up and her own woman now. As a shy young girl, Shemekia Copeland first sang at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club, thanks to dad’s pull. Through hard work and careful management, she since has developed her own public persona that’s taken her on tours to Europe, Canada and throughout the United States. […]

Her voice is her instrument, backed by a strong four-piece band with each member bringing decades of experience to the stage. At times she will sound like a fiery blues rocker. She does gospel as well as anyone on the circuit today. She can deliver a blistering soul shout, be sultry and even pull off a country-inspired ballad. […]

John Hahn, her longtime manager who has known the singer’s family for 30 years, said, “Shemekia, over time, has found a voice as an artist that other women can relate to. … She has really come to be her own person, singing about issues that women and mothers deal with all the time in their lives.”

By Dan Burnett in Weekender, before Shemekia’s performance at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania this Friday, August 4.

Read the full story in Weekender


Living Blues Award
for Shemekia

Living Blues Magazine has announced the winners for the 2017 Living Blues Awards. Shemekia Copeland was named Blues Artist Of The Year (Female) in the Reader’s Pole, almost two years after the release of Outskirts of Love. This is Shemekia’s 12th Living Blues Award.

“An inspiring send-off”
at North Atlantic Blues Fest

Local — and international — favorite Shemekia Copeland, winner of numerous BMAs and officially crowned the New Queen of the Blues in Chicago, will make her first appearance at the blues fest as a mom. Her first child, a son named for her father, the late, great Johnny Copeland, arrived in December. […]

Shemekia Copeland has played just about everywhere, including for the troops in Iraq and Kuwait; and with everybody — she’s opened for The Rolling Stones — but local blues fans remember her first performances here, when she was still a teen. She’ll give the first-day crowd an inspiring send-off.

By Dagney C. Ernest in The Republican Journal, before Shemekia’s performance at the 24th North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland, Maine, on Saturday, July 15.

Read the full story in The Republican Journal. 

“The reigning
queen of the blues”

“Shemekia is really the reigning queen of the blues after Koko Taylor passed away,” Benjamin says. “She keeps her dad’s legacy going by doing one of his songs at every show and dedicating it to him.”

By Paul Benjamin, “the man behind the North Atlantic Blues Festival,” quoted in The Main Edge, before Shemekia’s performance at the North Atlantic Blues Festival, this Saturday, July 15, in Rockland, Maine.

Read the full story in The Main Edge

Chicago Tribune:
“A baby and the blues”

Captured from the Chicago Tribune video

Captured from the Chicago Tribune video

Shemekia Copeland steps to the lip of the stage and lets forth a cry that could carry for miles.

As she snarls and hisses the lyrics to “Ghetto Child,” the audience — numbering in the thousands at the Blues on the Fox festival in Aurora — roars its approval. […]

Copeland has been igniting this anthem by her father, blues great Johnny “Clyde” Copeland, since she was a teenager, and on this June night, as always, it proves the high point of her show and her art.

But nearly two decades after her stunning recording debut, “Turn the Heat Up” (1998) which featured “Ghetto Child” as its centerpiece, Copeland stands not as an 18-year-old prodigy startling listeners with the sheer power of her instrument, but as a 38-year-old new mom out to change the world. Or at least try to repair it as much as she can.

In a detailed feature, Chicago Tribune’s music specialist Howard Reich writes about Shemekia’s show at the Blues on the Fox festival in Aurora, her motherhood in this world she tries to change with her music, her little boy Johnny Lee Copeland-Schultz who at six months old has already been to 22 states, her own birth 38 years ago, her father Johnny Copeland and her mother Sandra Lynn Copeland, the first time she met Alligator Records’ Bruce Iglauer, her lyrics.

Read the full story, with photos and video, on Chicago Tribune.

Live for Tom Marker’s Blues Breakers Blues Fest Broadcast

We had so much fun yesterday at the WXRT Blues Breakers Blues Fest Broadcast at Buddy Guy’s Legends! Thank you to all who showed up and to all who tuned in. We couldn’t have done it without help from our sponsor, Blues On The Fox. We’re already looking very much forward to their festival next weekend in Aurora with Mavis Staples, Shemekia Copeland, Jonny Lang, Elvin Bishop, Guy King and Nicholas David. Blues Breakers friend Marci Gross snapped some photos of yesterday’s show that give an idea of how much fun we all had. It’s Chicago Blues Fest Weekend! See you out there!

By Tom Marker, who hosted the Blues Breakers Blues Fest, broadcasted live from Buddy Guy’s Legends on WXRT. The story is called: “Thank You Shemekia, Toronzo, Ronnie, Buddy Guy’s Legends, & Blues On The Fox.”

Read the full story on WXRT.

The broadcast can be watched on Facebook: