Soul singer Sharon Jones has died at the age of 60.
Born in South Carolina, she settled in New York as a child and came of age in a city alive with music – from jazz to R&B to soul to gospel and latin, she seemed to have every conceivable sound at her fingertips.
Becoming a session musician in the 70s, sadly her big break didn’t quite arrive – leading to a spell working as a prison guard on Rikers Island.
Continuing to sing, an appearance with deep funk legend Lee Fields helped turn her life around. Drawn in the orbit of the emerging Dap Tone imprint, Sharon Jones would find herself leading The Dap Kings – a crack team of musicians dedicated to extending the sound and legacy of R&B, soul, and funk.
Six fantastic albums followed, with the sheer love and dedication of those musicians being set against some wonderful songwriting. Sharon Jones sat at the dead centre of it all, those years working as a prison guard no doubt helping to keep the band in line.
Diagnosed with bile duct cancer in 2013, Sharon Jones underwent treatment while still continuing to write, record, and perform as a musician, even earning her first Grammy nomination in 2014. 2015’s feature length documentary Miss Sharon Jones! supplied a unique viewpoint on her life and work, placing her indefatigable personality to the core.
Sadly her cancer returned shortly after the release of the documentary, with Sharon Jones once again undergoing treatment. A few hours ago the singer’s official website confirmed news of her death with the following statement:
We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings.
Thank you for your prayers and thoughts during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the following organizations:
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