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When 18-year-old singing sensation Shemekia Copeland first appeared on the scene in 1998 with her groundbreaking debut CD Turn The Heat Up
, she instantly became a blues superstar. Critics from around the country celebrated Shemekia's music as fans of all ages agreed that an unstoppable new talent had arrived. Billboard
declared, "Extraordinary talent...Copeland is a vocalist who knows few limitations. She's a true blues diva."
Shemekia followed up with 2000's Grammy-nominated Wicked
, 2002's Talking To Strangers
(produced by Dr. John) and 2005's The Soul Truth
(produced by Steve Cropper). In that short period of time, Copeland earned eight Blues Music Awards, a host of Living Blues
Awards (including the prestigious 2010 Blues Artist Of The Year) and more accolades from all over the world. Rock legend Robert Plant called her "the next Tina Turner."
brings together the most exciting and soulful moments from Shemekia's Alligator albums—16 pulse-pounding tracks of the very best modern blues and R&B. From the swaggering "Turn The Heat Up" to the soul-baring "Ghetto Child" to the rocking "Livin' On Love" and "It's 2 A.M." to the sly and sultry "Stay A Little Longer, Santa," Copeland's immense vocal talents and captivating personality never cease to delight and amaze.
Born in Harlem, New York in 1979, Shemekia came to her singing career slowly. "My dad knew ever since I was a baby. He just knew I was gonna be a singer," says Copeland. Her father, the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland
, recognized his daughter's talent early on. He always encouraged her to sing at home and even brought her on stage to sing at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club when she was just eight. At that time Shemekia's embarrassment outweighed her desire to sing. But when she was 16 and her father's health began to slow him down, she received the calling. "It was like a switch went off in my head," recalls Shemekia, "and I wanted to sing. It became a want and a need. I had
to do it."
Shemekia's passion for singing, matched with her huge, blast-furnace voice, gives her music the timeless power and untamed urgency of the greats who have come before her. The media has compared her to a young Etta James, Koko Taylor, Aretha Franklin and Ruth Brown, but Shemekia—who was raised in the tough, urban streets of Harlem—has her own story to tell. Although schooled in Texas blues by her father, Shemekia's music comes from deep within her soul and from the neighborhood she grew up in, where a daily dose of city sounds—from street performers to gospel singers to blasting radios to bands in local parks—surrounded her.
Ready to make her mark, 16-year-old Shemekia joined her father on tour after he was diagnosed with a heart condition. Soon Shemekia was opening, and sometimes even stealing, her father’s shows. "She grabbed the crowd with her powerful voice, poised and intense," raved Blues Revue
at the time. Eventually, though, it became clear to Shemekia who was helping whom. "Dad wanted me to think I was helping him out by opening his shows when he was sick, but really, he was doing it all for me. He would go out and do gigs so I would get known. He went out of his way to get me that exposure," recalls Shemekia.
Shemekia stepped out of her father's shadow in 1998 when Alligator released Turn The Heat Up
to massive popular and critical acclaim. "Copeland belts out songs with a passion rarely heard. She roars with sizzling hot intensity," raved The Boston Globe
. She quit her job at the dry cleaners and hit the road, playing to sell-out crowds night after night. Her star quickly rising, she appeared in the motion picture Three To Tango
, and her song "I Always Get My Man" was featured in the film Broken Hearts Club
Shemekia's following Alligator releases grew her fan base exponentially. She appeared twice on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, The Late Show With David Letterman
, and also on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition
and the CBS Saturday Early Show
. She performed on Austin City Limits
to an enthusiastic live audience and was featured in the Martin Scorsese-produced concert film Lightning In A Bottle
, as well as on the PBS television series The Blues
. She was even chosen to open for The Rolling Stones
Shemekia continues to tour the world and to win fans at every stop. She's played with Buddy Guy and B.B. King and has shared the stage with Taj Mahal, Dr. John and Koko Taylor, among many others. She captivated huge audiences at the 1998 and 2002 Chicago Blues Festivals, The North Atlantic Blues Festival, Milwaukee's Summerfest, The Monterey Jazz Festival, The San Francisco Blues Festival, The New York State Blues Festival, The North Sea Festival in Holland, The Montreux Jazz Festival, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, The Lowell Folk Festival and many others. She even played for U.S. troops in Kuwait and Iraq as part of the first-ever blues package tour for American servicemen and women.
With Deluxe Edition
and a slew of new tour dates, Shemekia will continue to reach fans across all musical genres. "Shemekia Copeland is a major talent," raves The Chicago Tribune
. "Wonderfully expressive singing...breathtaking performances that touch the heart," adds DownBeat
. Throughout Deluxe Edition
, one thing is clear: Shemekia Copeland is a charismatic artist possessing one of the great blues voices of this or any other era