Musicheads Essential Artist: Sharon Jones

sharon jones, rock the garden 2010
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings performing at Rock the Garden 2010. (MPR photo / Eamon Coyne)
Musicheads Essential Artist: Sharon Jones
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Sharon Jones was born in Augusta, Georgia: the same hometown as James Brown. Her mom even knew the Godfather of Soul. As a youngster, Sharon and her siblings goofed around imitating Brown's singing and dancing. The family later moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Sharon sang gospel music in church. She tells her story quite effectively on the Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings track "I'm Still Here," which is featured in the wonderful documentary Miss Sharon Jones.

Sharon Jones would often enter talent contests, and she sang backing vocals for other artists. She got a big break in 1996, when she appeared on a Lee Fields session. There she met Gabriel Roth and Neal Sugarman, who later started the Dap-Tone label. They recorded several singles as the Soul Providers, which was the nucleus of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.

This band really kickstarted the retro soul movement in the early 2000s with their debut Dap Dippin' with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Though she was, as she says, "too short, too fat, black, and old," she was an unstoppable dynamo onstage and off. Sharon Jones was a force of nature. We miss her dearly.

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