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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  November 28, 2013 12:00am-12:31am PST

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tavis: good evening. from los angeles, i am tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with shemekia copeland. she describes herself as an old soul in a young body. her album remains a chart topper for 10 months. we are glad you joined us.
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♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. ♪ tavis: shemekia copeland comes by her blues credentials honestly. recordinge honor of back in 2000. her latest cd is called "33 1/ "
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." before we close this program, she will be performing a song. good to have you on this program. >> thank you for having me. tavis: it's good to see you. i love the lyrics on this track. you think of certain blues singers. you think of women blues singers, and you think, that no good man did me wrong. he is living -- leaving me. i love that. there is a story. >> i am tired of songs about love. love for me. i want to talk about politics and religion and domestic violence. makes me sick contemporary because it is relevant to the times now.
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that's what i want to talk about. tavis: how do you do that without being preachy? how do you make it sound good? very goodwith songwriters who get the point across, bending without breaking i don't want to be preachy. go back to some of my father's music, which is amazing. it is still relevant. it's amazing. he left me with a lot of music i can rest her back to. >> it impacted your life and your song stylings. why is it important to take that
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? you could be singing lyrics that are totally different. why is it important to do it that way? universei put into the is so important to me. to say,eople to be able she really talked about what was happening, what was going on, and it was a history lesson. it has always been important to me. i love blues music so much. it. ithe potential of want it for the rest of the
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world. in order to do that, i have to evolve and grow so the music can evolve and grow. i had been singing for 15 years. to getsaid, i am going voice lessons so i can learn to sing. evolve andonstantly grow so the music can. that's what i am trying to do. much pushback do you get for being straight forward in your lyrical content, or is it welcomed? >> i think it is welcomed by most. the other ones we ain't going to worry about. tavis: how much of your success?
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your dad knew you were gifted. you were on the stage when you were 11. >> it was the cotton club. venue, wrong city. how much of your success did your dad get to see before he passed? >> not that much of it. he got to hear the first four of my album. he got to see me perform because i did some gigs with him in the last couple years, but he didn't well ihance to see how did afterwards. he got to see it. he knew from a baby what i was going to be doing. don't think you had much choice. >> i didn't have a choice. for a brief moment i thought, maybe i will go into psychology.
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then i thought, that isn't going to work. this is tavis: what i was born to do. tavis:tavis: when you think about it you are a psychologist. >> i get so many people who say, you helped me with my divorce, or you helped me with that. this is helping people. know the title. this is how old you were when you did the record. >> i was 33 and heard. now i am 34 and a little bit more. it was a little bit my age. also the resolution. it was the idea that john had. this theen i first saw first track i was aware of, i saw the number 33. they crucified jesus at 33.
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third hadnow what the to do with it. i am glad to know it is your age and the lp. >> then we put it out on vinyl. i used to buy vinyl as a kid. they did it on recycled vinyl, which is very cool. you really are an old soul in a young body. there is some debt to that. >> this is not my first rodeo.
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i like to think i do it pretty well. i feel good about my purpose and why i am here and what i am supposed to be doing. >> how have you found the journey at your age and as a woman? >> i tried desperately not to complain because there are so many women before me who went through a lot of crap so i could go through less crap. obviously, it's the same in any business. in anyare a woman business, you are a woman in a business. i have been really blessed i have a great foundation of people that helped me get through it without a bunch of drama and issues. you are married to a guy
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who is an artist as well who i have seen play a few times. >> i was there. you don't want to sit behind mr. smiley at a concert. you were enjoying yourself so much. you stood up about six times in the show. you were watching buddy guy. tavis: what do you expect me to do? and iwas behind you, said, they god i have seen buddy a few times. i couldn't take my eyes off you watching him. tavis: how many years have you been playing with him? >> eckstein years. >> the entire band is tight. down when youit see buddy guy. beethoven or brahms, i
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will stay in my seat. i am such a music lover. . when the music gets into me, i do apologize. now, but it made me so happy you were there watching blues and enjoying it so much. you, and iys loved have always watched your show to see you there in that club, i was happy. l.a. buddy was here in i was traveling. he is an iconic blues artist. he does 16 nights.
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he does residency, so the entire month of january if you want to see him you can be him and his own element. i go and hang out for the weekend and catch for five shows. he is kind enough every january o make me homemade gumbo. >> every time we get together -- i was doing an interview, and the interviewer saw me and asked what we were talking about. i said, we were talking about grains. -- about greens. tavis: buddy is on one of these tractks. fabulous.ds
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we never see each other. we don't do a lot of talking. enough said. that sounds like a blues song. you make it work? do when ioing what i met him. it's natural. we just do it. we are used to it. it has been 11 years that we have been doing this. tavis: you talked about the
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social commentaries. there are a lot of artists who own is that something we might see more of? or is that something that is not comfortable for you? >> the older i get the more comfortable i am about talking about how i feel. there are certain things you don't want to see coming from a child. i know that now. >> michael jackson pulled that off. olds,w i think, 17-year- they don't know nothing. that is how i feel. , and imore comfortable
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feel people will take it seriously coming from me at this age versus when you are younger. how do you process looking out in the audience most anhts and seeing ,verwhelmingly white audience which suggests a number of things to me. i think about the young rodda g. -- the young prodigy. he is going to be a great layer. he is a good layer now. should -- wonderful player now. you should google this guy. a young man named quinn sullivan.
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kid buddy thisg covered. buddy take this kid around, and he's a white kid. i have had so many conversations. i said, where are all the black boys? >> they are out there. there are tones of younger black kids. >> your audience isn't made overwhelmingly of us. >> that's true. it depends where you go. if you go to dca there is going to be more black people. see anybodyl to come out for this music. that's what i am doing with my music. trying to have commentary
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that makes people of all kinds want to come out. we will see what happens. come out, they are coming because they have knowledge of the music and the artists. we don't have a lot of outlets. if you are not buddy guy you are being outa lot of there in the presence of people. everybody knows young people, that's what they do. we just have got to get out there more. when we do festivals, i say, bring your children. bring your grandchildren. ring everybody out to the show.
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i love when everybody comes because that is how you introduce the younger generation to the music. i'm starting to have younger people come to the shows. just a bystander and appreciator of music, but it seems to me the blues circuit is ortty energized these days, am i misreading that? there is some excitement. somebody comes out, and everybody is super excited. that has happened over the years. i am always excited about this. there are people who give it a boost. gary clark junior gave it a real boost. like trombonets shorty. out, itse guys come
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makes people more excited about the music. expect the do you impact will be on your generation? what do you hope the in print will be on the music we call the blues? stay focusede to and always remember the people who came before us. trying to bestill original and do our own thing , we want to music still remember the people who came before us and the reason why we do what we do. i think 30 years from now we will still be doing it.
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i think it has staying power because we are doing it. tavis: when you say 30 years from now you will still be doing this -- >> 50. number two, with a voice like yours i wonder whether or not it is possible they are going to pull you into another genre. blues, r&b, anything you want to sing because you are gifted that way. are they going to pull you into another genre? >> i am a blues singer. i am so proud to call myself a blues singer. i don't take it limits me in any way. i don't feel limited.
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r&b wants me to do something or gospel or country, call me on the phone. let's get this party started. i could see myself doing all kinds of things. i could see that, too. the new project is called "33 1/3." she is the queen of the blues. i said it. eb is the king. she is the queen. i don't need to convince you. you will see what i mean. listen to the lyrics. on the program. congratulations. enjoy. for watching. as always, keep the faith.
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♪ ♪ you say the lord called you telling you to preach ♪ ♪ so you opened up a big old church in miami beach ♪ ♪ you have a line to heaven, and it puts you in control ♪ the only thing missing now is forgiveness in your soul ♪ somebody else's jesus, sounds
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like somebody else's jesus. mine ♪doesn't sound like you say money won't make a man happy ♪ wallet ♪hat is raining so hard for you, -- praying so hard for you but miracles take time ♪ thank you for the patients and all those nickels and dimes ♪ ♪ felt like somebody else's jesus ♪ mine -- don'tand sound like mine.
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♪ ♪ won't touch me if i , and go to church one time if i don't put money in the plate he's going to love me just fine ♪ your voices sound so righteous quivering and praying ♪ ♪ and you wave around that big ♪d bible like a shotgun of god's children he loves us as his own ♪ so point that finger back at yourself before you throw that
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stone ♪ ♪ it sounds like somebody else's jesus ♪ jesus ♪dy else's ♪ sounds like somebody else's jesus ♪ sounds like somebody else's jesus ♪ ♪ but it sure don't sound might mine ♪ >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at tavis: hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time for a conversation with singer jonathan butler, who will
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treat us to holiday music. that's next time. we will see you then. ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. inc. you. daniel mansergh:
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(♪) (♪) daniel mansergh: imagemakers is made possible by a grant from: celebrating the vitality and power of the moving image. and by the: (♪ upbeat music )


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