“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 NorthJersey.com 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 NorthJersey.com

Read the full story on NorthJersey.com

Shemekia singing for Thistle Farms’ 20th anniversary

Shemekia Copeland will be performing for Thistle Farms‘ 20th anniversary fundraiser at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, on May 3rd, along with Reba McEntire, ​Amanda​ Shires​, ​and ​John Prine. A fantastic evening in perspective!

All tickets (floor and balcony) are $40 and went on sale this April 4th.

Thistle Farms: “Our mission is to heal, empower and employ women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. We believe that in the end, love is the most powerful force for change in the world.”

Shemekia: “I am beyond thrilled to be taking part in the Thistle Farms’ fundraiser. In fact, I can’t think of a worthier more important event I could be involved in. The fact that I’ll be joining artists l love and admire like John Prine and Reba McEntire is the icing on the cake. And…it’s at the Ryman!!”

“Happy birthday Daddy”

© Family archives.

Today my dad would have been 80 years old. I’m so happy he’s being inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame this year. We love you and miss you every day. Happy birthday daddy 💜💜💜

– Shemekia

Chicago Voices with Shemekia to air on PBS on March 30

On February 4, 2017, soprano, Renée Fleming, Chicago Voices Creative Director, along with Broadway star Jessie Mueller, jazz vocalist Kurt Elling, pop and gospel singer Michelle Williams, world-renowned tenor Matthew Polenzani, blues Queen Shemekia Copeland, indie-rock duo The Handsome Family, folk legend John Prine, rap artist Lupe Fiasco and the Voices of Trinity Mass Choir, backed by a band and led by Music Director Doug Peck performed together for an unforgettable tribute to and celebration of legendary Chicago vocalists.

Presenters included the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., TV’s Empire stars, Terrence Howard and Jussie Smollett, and Kate Flannery, of TV’s The Office. The Chicago Voices Concert offered a taste of the vast cultural riches of this great city and paid homage to the powerful Chicago voices of the past, present and future – all while shaking the walls of Lyric’s Civic Opera House. This amazing concert will receive an encore TV broadcast on March 30th at 9PM (CST) via WTTW – Chicago PBS.