On Sunday, May 9, award-winning vocalist Shemekia Copeland received the coveted UK Blues Award for International Blues Artist Of The Year. The award was presented in a virtual ceremony hosted by BBC radio personality, actor and musician Paul Jones. The UK Blues Awards were created by the UK Blues Federation to give the blues community in the UK the opportunity to recognize and applaud those actively involved with the music.
Copeland was in the running for International Blues Artist of the Year along with Larkin Poe, Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar, Savoy Brown, and Southern Avenue.
Copeland’s latest album, the 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 groundbreaking Alligator Records debut CD Turn the Heat Up in 1998, she instantly became a blues and R&B force to be reckoned with. The Chicago Tribune says, “Shemekia Copeland is the greatest female blues singer working today.” News outlets from The New York Times to CNN have praised Copeland’s talent, larger-than-life personality, dynamic, authoritative voice and true star power. Shemekia earned three Grammy Award nominations, 12 Blues Music Awards and a host of Living Blues Awards, including being named the 2020 Female Blues Artist of the Year. NPR’s All Things Considered says, “Copeland embodies the blues with her powerful vocal chops and fearless look at social issues.” No Depression declares, “Copeland pierces your soul. This is how you do it, and nobody does it better than Shemekia Copeland.”
UK Blues Federation
*Feature image courtesy of Alligator Records