Soul singer Sharon Jones, the 'female James Brown,' dead at 60

Long heralded as a female James Brown, Sharon Jones, soul singer and bandleader of the Dap-Kings, has died at 60.

"We are deeply saddened to announce that Sharon Jones has passed away after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer," Judy Miller Silverman, the singer's representative, told USA TODAY in a statement. "She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap-Kings."

The big-voiced performer worked as a backup singer and session musician before forming the Dap-Kings in the early 2000s. Following debut album Dap Dippin' With Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings in 2002, the band received acclaim for its '60s-style soul and Jones' electrifying live performances.

In 2014, she received her first Grammy Award nomination for her album Give the People What They Want.

The singer attracted a broad demographic audience at festivals and rock shows.

"We played at the Apollo in Harlem, and people were asking me why most of the audience was young white college students," Jones told USA TODAY in 2008. "I said, 'All I see are fans screaming 'Sharon, we love you and the Dap-Kings!' "

Yet even she was surprised by the wide range of acceptance. "I was totally shocked when they had us at (Telluride) Bluegrass Festival. These people were a bunch of hippies into blues and rock. But once people hear us, they are into it."

Jones was diagnosed with Stage 2 pancreatic cancer in 2013, forcing her to take a temporary hiatus from recording and touring. Even after undergoing extensive surgeries and chemotherapy, she was back on the road with the Dap-Kings in 2014, soon after completing her first treatment.

"This cancer is here, and I have to take the chemo," she told NPR earlier this year, after her cancer returned. "But I want to perform. I just want to be able to get onstage and move."

Miss Sharon Jones!, a documentary that followed Jones' first seven months post-diagnosis, was released in July.

"My deepest condolences," Chaka Khan tweeted upon hearing the news. "She was the real deal in this industry."

 

USA Today


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