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Women We Love Wednesdays: Sharon Jones

by Nicole Oran   Jan 15, 2014 16:12 PM EST

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Sharon Jones, Dap-Kings singer and soul revival icon, dies aged 60

It's no secret that women can rock just as hard, if not harder, than men. But there seems to be a disparity when it comes to their representation in the music industry. They are topping the charts but barely getting any slots at big name festivals (this years Coachella lineup is 90 percent male). To do what we can to celebrate these women and give them the positive recognition they deserve, each week Music Times will introduce you to a female in the music industry whom we love.

Singer-songwriters, rappers, DJs, producers, filmmakers, and any woman who is part of the music industry is fair game for this segment. So read on, and get to know the women who continue to wow us. This week we'd like to show off...

Name: Sharon Jones
Age: 57
Profession: Singer
From: Augusta, Georgia

Why We Love Her: With her band Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Jones has revitalized soul and funk music, a sound more easily found from artists in the '60s and '70s. Though her success didn't come until a later time in her life, she has highlighted an iconic genre of music, even while confronting personal challenges. In 2013 Jones found out she had pancreatic cancer, just as she was beginning to promote her new album Give The People What They Want. She has battled the ailment and is set to get back out on tour after finishing her final round of chemo treatment. She's a testament to fighting it out, whether it is with cancer or doing soul and funk music justice in the industry today.

Background: Jones moved to New York at a young age and was either singing in talent shows or in church to hone her skills. Without a record deal, she had to work normal jobs, despite her dreams to be a soulful vocalist. But when she sang backup in the studio with Lee Fields in 1996, owners of what used to be the French record label Pure Records, Gabriel Roth and Philip Lehman, saw something in her. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings were later formed and have since put out six records, including Give The People What They Want, which came out Jan. 14.

Fun Fact: Before she has her break in the music industry, Jones worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island and as an armored car guard for Wells Fargo Bank. Tough cookie.

What Now: Give The People What They Want has received rave reviews, and the band will hit the road on Feb. 6 at The Beacon Theatre in New York for a tour that will last until May.

Watch: Before the album was released, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings played a special Christmas song at the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade last year. Watch the animated video for the song "Ain't No Chimneys in the Projects" below.


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