Shemekia Copeland: Uncorked and Uncovered

 

Artist: Shemekia Copeland

Played at City Winery: September 27, 2012

 

Q&A With City Winery

You have been newly crowned the “Queen of Blues.” Congratulations! How does it feel?

It was a total surprise and an incredible honor, something I try to live up to every time I perform.

You aren’t afraid to perform songs about serious issues and obstacles in life like domestic violence. Are these coming from first hand experience or knowing someone in these situations? Did growing up in NYC, seeing the constant class struggle and disparity have anything to do with your awareness?

I try to perform blues songs, but in a contemporary way. To make blues relevant for young people, especially women. So it makes sense to address issues like domestic violence and financial disparity. I don’t think these issues came out of growing up in NYC. They’re issues we all have in common everywhere, but you’d certainly run into them in NY.

Blues is one of those genres that kind of spreads out into a lot of other genres or at least influences and informs other genres/styles. Given that, is there anything you feel you’d like to do musically that you haven’t done yet?

I want to help this music evolve and grow, to reach young people and get them as excited about the music as I am. I’d like to expand the boundaries of traditional blues. Do a blues samba. A blues in French. New, different, and unexpected explorations.