Thursday, March 21st: SHARON JONES
Sharon Jones was an American soul and funk singer. She was the lead singer of Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, a soul and funk band based in Brooklyn, New York. Jones experienced breakthrough success relatively late in life, releasing her first record when she was 40 years old.
Jones was born in Georgia; there she sang in her church choir, and from fellow parishioners picked up the kind of back-patting she needed to convince her to go mainstream. As a teenager, she moved with her family to Brooklyn, where she immersed herself in 1970s disco and funk with an eye toward cutting a record of her own. Instead, studios came calling and with them steady work -- by her twenties, Jones was turning in backup vocals for gospel, soul, disco, and blues artists, most of it uncredited. In the '80s, however, Jones' sound was deemed unfashionable, and instead of pushing ahead with her soul diva's dream she went back to church singing.
It wouldn't be until 1996 that Jones' sweat-basted, lived-in talent would be rediscovered. With the backing band, the Soul Providers, Jones released several singles in the late '90s; their warmth and genuineness propelled the act across the Atlantic, and Jones picked up a moniker -- the queen of funk -- that stuck. Jones released her first full-length with the Dap-Kings, “Dap Dippin' with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings,” in 2002.
Jones and her band are often credited as the spearhead of soul and funk revival. She citied influence from many artists from James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding, to Prince, Erykah Badu and Beyoncé. In 2014, Jones was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album.
In 2013, Jones revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer but she continued to perform as often as her therapy schedule would permit, sometimes appearing on-stage with a bald head after chemotherapy caused her hair to fall out. Sadly, however, she would lose her valiant battle with cancer, which took her life, at age 60. Shortly before her death, Jones completed vocals for a final album with the Dap-Kings. Their seventh album, “Soul of a Woman,” was released in November 2017, a year after her death.