On the road with award-winning singer Shemekia Copeland

Grammy-nominated and award-winning blues, soul and Americana singer Shemekia Copeland, release a new album, gone too far (available on CD and LP) August 19e., 2022. Recorded in Nashville and produced by multi-instrumentalist songwriter Will Kimbrough (who also produced his two previous albums), the new release from Alligator Records shows Copeland’s fearlessness, honesty and hope. , and it retains nothing.

“If you think we’re stopping, you’re wrong,” she sings on the album’s first single, Too far to have gone just out. The song, which also features guest artist and slide guitar master Sonny Landreth, is already one of SiriusXM’s songs. B.B. King’s Bluesville the channel’s most listened to songs.

Copeland is the winner of the 2021 Blues Music Award for BB King Entertainer Of The Year, the same award her father, Johnny Clyde Copeland, received posthumously in 1983. The Washington Post calls Copeland “the greatest blues singer of her generation.“Living Blues Says”Shemekia Copeland controls her voice so much that she can cry out for injustice before calming down with loving hope. It sends shivers down the spine. »

gone too farsays John Hahn, of Shemekia Copeland longtime songwriter, “is the third album in a trilogy that began with Shemekia’s groundbreaking 2019 America’s Child and nominated for the 2020 Grammy Awards Uncivil war. On the album, Copeland delivers hard-hitting musical truths: as a young black American woman, mother and wife. But she also has a sense of humor that is reflected in two songs from her new album, “Fried Catfish” and “Fell in Love With a Honky.”

Copeland, who lives in Oceanside near San Diego with husband Brian Schultz and eight-year-old son Johnny (named after Copeland’s father), won’t have much luck seeing his family for many months. She’s touring with such a busy schedule that by December 31st2022, she will be performing in 30 different venues in Spain, Norway, Canada, as well as 20 states and on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues cruise in October 2022. I caught up with her on the phone during one of her few days off between gigs at her home in Oceanside, California.

You said your new album includes all sides of you: happy, sad, silly, mad. What about politics?

I am not political. I’m just talking about what’s going on in this country.

Do you think that music can change mentalities and prejudices?

Yeah, I’d like to think music is powerful enough to do that. If we get to know ourselves, it is easier for us to better understand ourselves and how we feel. We spend so much time letting others tell us how people should be or are. I won’t allow someone on TV to tell me who a person is. I want to find out for myself.

So, are you hopeful for the future?

if you don’t have hope, you’re going to be a pretty miserable person. You need to have a positive attitude and hope that things can only get better, that changes can be made. Sometimes I get discouraged and angry. My child has his whole life ahead of him, and I want to make sure he has hope so he can live a good life.

You had kidney cancer last June and they removed 20% of your kidney. Were you on the road at that time?

We were still in the middle of COVID, but I was about to start doing a few gigs. Then I discovered that I had a tumor and I had to prolong all that for six weeks.

How do you feel now?

I feel good. So far it’s not recurring, so I’m just going to hope and pray that’s the case with me.

You’ve certainly had your share of health problems lately. Last year, you were about to board the ship in Fort Lauderdale for your performance on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues cruise, but tested positive for COVID. What did you do?

I stayed at a hotel in Florida.

Have you ever been able to board the ship and play?

No, I was gone. Being quarantined in Florida was definitely my first little extended trip.

Speaking of travel, you have a crazy touring schedule coming up until the end of the year. Do you songs from the new album or expect it to be released on August 19e?

I’m doing a mix of things and I’m starting to do some of the new songs now.

What’s your favorite song on the album?

I love them all.

On this album, you confront racism, hatred of xenophobia and abuse. And yet, your message in all three albums is that it’s better to love each other than to hate each other. With everything going on in our world, has anything changed in this message?

Absolutely not. Love is what will move us forward. There is so much division and hatred in the background, ruining our lives. make people hate each other. But one day, when everyone comes together and says that as Americans, we’re sick of these politicians ruining our lives, we’re all going to pull together and make the changes we want to make in our country.

Do you believe with all the divisions in our country that we can actually heal?

I really do not know. I certainly don’t have a crystal ball, but I can certainly hope things can get better.

You said that once your son was born, you became even more committed to making the world a better place. Do you still have hope on this?

If you don’t have hope, you’re going to be a pretty miserable person. I think you have to have a positive attitude and hope that things will only get better. Changes can be made. I guess I’m hopeful, but sometimes I get discouraged, upset and angry. Of course, I’m only human, aren’t I? Right. But I’m really hopeful because I can’t have that attitude, especially when my child has his whole life ahead of him. And I want to make sure he stays and has hope too, so he can live a good life.

You recently performed in Amsterdam and Poland. When you’re on tour, have you ever had a chance to see anything from the country or is it just to check into the hotel, do a sound check, play and go?

We had a few days off in between which was good, but they lost my luggage. I was 10 days in Europe with nothing, so I had to go get the things I needed. They never found my luggage again.

Do you find that different cultures react differently to your songs?

No, I think music is the one universal thing that everyone can agree on. According to the song, I think people react pretty much the same all over the world. They have the feeling.

Do you get homesick when you’re on the road?

I miss sleeping in my own bed and I miss my child so much.

When you’re too much at home, like during COVID, do you want to be on the road?

Oh, no, no, it’s not necessarily on the road what I miss. I miss singing. I miss being on stage.

Is the tour exhausting?

Absolutely. First of all, the trips were very difficult. They cancel flights and do whatever they want. It was chaos. When I was in Europe, the security lines lasted two hours. And it takes two hours to check in for your flight, so you need to be at the airport four hours before your flight.

Has visiting other cultures changed your life in any way?

Absolutely. The first time I went to Spain, I was nine years old and I went there with my father. And in that moment, I knew that whatever I did in my life, I would travel. I already knew the importance of going out and culturally interacting with all kinds of people.

What is your favorite country?

I love so many of them. I like Switzerland and Norway, Turkey, Spain. Italy. The list goes on and on for me.

Have you had any particular experiences of interacting with people while on the road?

Still. When people talk to me about how my songs affect their lives, that means everything to me. I like this.

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