|One critic has said that Shemekia Copeland has "raw vocal power and real
emotion…boisterous soul and swaggering blues. This woman knows how to SING."
Yet another has declared, "She bangs out songs with an intensely
full-throated vocal style…and she has a lifetime of growth possibilities
still to bloom." The 21-year-old blues diva heats up the Birchmere on April
13. at 8:30 p.m.|
Daughter of the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland,
Shemekia has turned the blues world upside-down since joining her father on
stage five years ago. Her command of subtlety and full-throttle power has
grabbed the attention of mainstream media and blues aficionados alike. She's
been compared to a young Koko Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Ruth
Brown - now that's serious company to keep.
Copeland didn't begin blooming as a blues vocalist until she was a teenager,
although her father knew she was going to be a singer since she was a baby.
When she was eight years old, Copeland's father brought her to perform with
him at Harlem's famed Cotton Club, but her embarrassment outweighed her
desire to sing. At 15, the elder Copeland's health began to deteriorate, and
only then did Shemekia become interested in making blues music her own. "It
was like a switch went off in my head and I wanted to sing," she recalls.
Excited about his daughter's newfound interest in performance, Johnny
Copeland brought her out on the road with him after he was diagnosed with a
heart condition. This gave Shemekia the exposure that launched her solo
career, as well as the opportunity to perform with blues greats Gatemouth
Brown, James Cotton and Bobby Rush.
In 1998, Shemekia released her debut album "Turn the Heat Up" on Alligator
Records. She immediately received massive popular and critical acclaim, and
appeared on CNN's "Showbiz Today," "Entertainment Weekly," NPR's "Morning
Edition," and "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." This exposure led to
performances at the nation's hottest venues and festivals, where she shared
the stage with Buddy Guy, B.B. King and Taj Mahal.
Copeland's latest CD, "Wicked," combines foot-stomping urgency and
slow-burning love to create a powerful sophomore release. The combination of
blues, soul and rock 'n roll has received rave reviews and garnered fans far
beyond the traditional blues world. Copeland's string of evocative,
radio-friendly songs, along with her non-stop touring schedule, leaves
critics and fans wondering what world she will conquer next.
Admission to her April 13 performance is $15. Call 703-573-7328 for more