guitar bar
b l u e s I n t e r v i e w
with Shemekia Copeland
by Don Brown Sr.

Author's Note:    This telephone interview was conducted the morning of October 2, 2002 from San Francisco, CA. Ms. Copeland would be playing The Fillmore that night. For Las Vegans she, along with Buddy Guy, will be at the House Of Blues on October 9th. All at Las Vegas Blues and Caught Live Too! thank Shemekia for being so gracious as to take time from her busy schedule. We also wish to thank Alligator Records for setting up the interview.

Shemekia Copeland: Talking To Strangers DB:    How's the tour going?

SC:    It's going great, I'm having fun.

DB:    How did you get Dr. John to produce your new cd, TALKING TO STRANGERS?

SC:    He was a friend of my dad's, and they had a long relationship. It's a funny story, when my dad was sick and alot of doctors were calling the house, Dr. John called and asked if he could speak to Johnny Copeland please. And I said "What hospital are you from?" Then I realized I had just made a jerk of myself, and said "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" and apologized. After my dad died, I did some gigs with Dr. John in Spain and in Philadelphia. He has been watching my career, so when we asked Dr. John to do this, he was eager to do it.

DB:    Are you happy with the new cd?

SC:    I love this album, this is definitely my best work yet.

DB:    The only problem I have it that it's too short for me.

SC:    That's my problem too, I always want it to go on. This is the first album that I ever thought that there should be more. This is more songs than I've ever done on a cd.

DB:    I read somewhere that you're a big Rolling Stones fan.

SC:    I just got the opportunity of a lifetime opening for them. It was so cool, I'm such a fan, I was so happy to be there and watch the show.

DB:    So did you stay for the whole show, or were you too tired?

SC:    No one could be too tired to watch the Stones.

DB:    Who are your biggest musical influences?

SC:    It's hard for me to say, because I always talk about male singers, most of my influences are men. O.V. Wright, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Joe Tex. However, I also love Koko Taylor and Ruth Brown, who are very classy ladies.

Shemekia Copeland: Wicked

DB:    What was the first concert you attended?

SC:    I saw Albert Collins, Robert Cray, and my father play Carnegie Hall during the time that they did SHOWDOWN. I was young, but I still remember that.

DB:    I read that you didn't always want to be a singer, and that one day something clicked. What clicked?

SC:    It really happened overnight. I just woke up one morning, and that's what I wanted to be.

DB:    Have you had any formal vocal training?

SC:    Never, not to say that I don't want to. I would love to have vocal training. Everything happened so fast I didn't have time. I'm just getting to the point now that I can't believe what I'm doing actually moves people.

DB:    Really?

SC:    I swear to God, people say to me "why do you feel this way"? I just feel really blessed, and I love to sing. The fact that I can move people, I never thought of it that way.

DB:    What cd or cd's are you listening to now?

SC:    I'm listening to so much, but I really love Howard Tate.

DB:    On your cd's, you've played with Joe Louis Walker, Michael Hill, Ruth Brown, and now Dr. John. Who else would you like to work with?

SC:    I haven't thought about that yet, I really want to do a jazz album, but all original songs. Stuff that I wrote and my dad wrote just for me, and they've never been recorded. I can't wait to record them.

DB:    Tonight you play the Fillmore in San Francisco. Any thoughts about this?

SC:    I can't believe I'm playing the Fillmore, I'm so excited, its going to be a blast.

Shemekia Copeland: Turn The Heat Up

DB:    What are you doing to relax on tour?

SC:    Well today, I'm so excited, I'm going to ride the cable cars. As you see, I'm very easily amused.

DB:    Has it been harder for you, coming from a famous father?

SC:    It wasn't hard, it's a beautiful thing to come from roots. The thing is, people say that she's living on her father's name, but you can only do that for about a minute, then you have to make a name for yourself and become your own person.

DB:    I thought on the new cd, Dr. John would have you do some New Orleans style tunes.

SC:    No, he let me do exactly what I wanted to do, and he just made it better.

DB:    Do you wish that you could be doing a headlining tour?

SC:    I appreciate my 45 minutes, and what we do in 45 munites is amazing. Las Vegas is going to be a fun night too because it's our last night before we head to Paris for a couple of weeks.

DB:    Thanks for everything, I'll see you next week in Vegas.

SC:    I'll see you there.

Check out all da blues in Las Vegas

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