Last week blues singer Shemekia Copeland netted her fourth Grammy nomination, earning a nod in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category, for her latest, “Uncivil War.” It was a happy note to what has been a difficult pandemic period for the 42-year-old Copeland.

“Well, 2020 was terrible, and 2021 has not been much better. For me it’s been a particularly crazy year,” says Copeland, who was planning to return to the stage this past summer, when she was diagnosed with chromophobe renal cell carcinoma, a rare type of kidney cancer.

“Just when they were starting to open up gigs in the summer, I found out I had kidney cancer. They had to remove a tumor from my kidney. So that wasn’t pleasant,” she says.

“But I eventually went to work, I did some gigs over the summer, some festivals. Then after that I was on a pretty good roll. I was about to go on a blues cruise (last month), but then I found out I had COVID — and I was triple vaccinated. I lost my taste and smell for a couple weeks but after that I was fine. Honestly, It’s been a very strange couple years. I’m ready to kick 2021 to the curb, just like I was ready to kick 2020 to the curb.”

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