SHEMEKIA COPELAND NAMED BLUES ARTIST OF THE YEAR, UNCIVIL WAR NAMED BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR BY DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE
“Shemekia Copeland is the greatest blues singer of her generation.”
—The Washington Post
“Copeland provides a soundtrack for contemporary America...powerful, ferocious, clear-eyed and hopeful...She’s in such control of her voice that she can scream at injustices before she soothes with loving hope. It sends shivers up your spine.”
“Uncivil War is one of the boldest and most persuasive recordings of Copeland’s already distinguished career. Copeland’s incendiary and positively buoyant vocals [are] one of the great instruments in contemporary blues. A triumph.”
—The Chicago Tribune
DownBeat magazine has named celebrated singer Shemekia Copeland as its Blues Artist Of The Year, and her groundbreaking 2020 release Uncivil War as the Blues Album Of The Year in the magazine's just-released 69th Annual Critics' Poll. According to Copeland, "I can’t begin to say how honored I am to be singled out by the critics at DownBeat. When it comes to covering the music I love, DownBeat’s always been the granddaddy. A granddaddy who’s hip, wise and never grows old."
The DownBeat honors add to the list of awards Copeland has recently won. She received three 2020 Blues Music Awards, including Entertainer Of The Year and Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year for Uncivil War. Additionally, she won both the recent Living Blues magazine's Critics' and Readers' Awards for Album Of The Year and Blues Artist Of The Year (Female). It's not just in the United States where she wins awards. Copeland received the UK Blues Award for International Blues Artist Of The Year. Prior to that, UK tastemaker music magazine MOJO named Uncivil War the #1 Blues Album of 2020.
Since the release of Uncivil War, Copeland's profile has continued to grow. She was the subject of a Washington Post Sunday magazine story and appeared on NPR's Weekend Edition. She most recently was a guest on NPR's Here And Now discussing her life and career. And NPR's Jazz Night In America has produced an hour-long program featuring interviews with Copeland and others, along with music recorded at Dizzy's Club in New York City and at the 2021 Exit Zero Jazz Festival.
Copeland began her recording career with Alligator Records in 1998 at the age of 18. Since then, the three-time Grammy nominee has grown to become one of the most passionate and candid artists on today’s roots music scene.
Listen to Here And Now
Listen to Jazz Night In America
Copeland’s soulful and uncompromising Uncivil War tackles the problems of contemporary American life head on, with nuance, understanding, and a demand for change. It also brings Copeland’s fiercely independent, sultry R&B fire to songs more personal than political. NPR Music calls Shemekia “authoritative” and “confrontational” with “punchy defiance and potent conviction. It’s hard to imagine anyone staking a more convincing claim to the territory she’s staked out—a true hybrid of simmering, real-talking spirit and emphatic, folkie- and soul-style statement-making.”
When Shemekia first broke on the scene with her jaw-dropping Alligator Records debut CD Turn The Heat Up, she instantly became a blues and R&B force to be reckoned with. With each subsequent release -- Uncivil War is her ninth album -- Copeland’s music has evolved. She continues to broaden her musical vision, melding blues with more rootsy, Americana sounds, and singing about the world around her, shining light in dark places with confidence and well-timed humor. Her recordings have won her worldwide acclaim and dozens of awards. Her previous album, America’s Child, was named by MOJO magazine as the #1 blues release of 2018.
Shemekia Copeland has performed thousands of gigs at clubs, festivals and concert halls all over the world, and has appeared in films, on local and national television and radio, and in magazine and newspapers both domestically and internationally. She has performed on PBS’s Austin City Limits and was the subject of a six-minute feature on the PBS News Hour. Currently, Copeland can be heard hosting her own popular daily blues radio show on SiriusXM’s Bluesville.
The Chicago Tribune’s famed jazz critic Howard Reich says, “Shemekia Copeland is the greatest female blues vocalist working today. She pushes the genre forward, confronting racism, hate, xenophobia and other perils of our time. Regardless of subject matter, though, there’s no mistaking the majesty of Copeland’s instrument, nor the ferocity of her delivery. In effect, Copeland reaffirms the relevance of the blues.” The Philadelphia Inquirer succinctly states, “Shemekia Copeland is an antidote to artifice. She is a commanding presence, a powerhouse vocalist delivering the truth.”