10 Essential New York Artists: #9 Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

The News: It’s not official yet but be optimistic that Sharon recorded enough tracks for a posthumous album that may be released before the end of the year.

“Her spirit is driven by music, and this was always her source of inspiration to continue onwards, despite the odds. Sharon makes you believe in anything.”      – Barbara Kopple; director of Miss Sharon Jones

We lost Sharon Jones in November of 2016 at age 60.   As a lover of her music as well as her life story, it was a thrill to meet Sharon Jones in February of 2014.  The occasion was her return to the stage after being forced by cancer to take a break from performing.  We spoke a few hours prior to the curtain going up at the Beacon Theater.  While shooting a little video of the concert, I noticed some other cameras.  What I know now is that Barbara Kopple was in the final stages of filming her documentary that was released in the fall of ’15: Miss Sharon Jones.

I sat down again with the indomitable vocalist in the summer of ’16 as well as the acclaimed filmmaker at the NY1 studios in Chelsea Market.  Sadly the circumstances were not as favorable as our prior meeting.  The first time, Jones was celebrating being cancer-free.   This time Jones was enduring more treatments but powering through to do press for the new movie.  She’s as tough as they come as the flick makes plain.  It’s got to be an inspiration to families dealing with cancer not to mention aspiring musicians, New Yorkers, and well anybody with a heart and ears.  It also gives fans a chance to be a fly on the wall at Daptone Studios in Brooklyn and get to know better amazing figures like Gabriel Roth, Binky Griptite, and Dapettes Saun and Starr.

NEW YORK, NY - February 6th, 2014 -Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings kick off their delayed 2014 tour at the Beacon Theater in New York

NEW YORK, NY – February 6th, 2014 -Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings kick off their delayed 2014 tour at the Beacon Theater in New York

The soundtrack to Miss Sharon Jones includes a rousing autobiographical ditty she wrote called I’m Still Here.   It traces from her birth in North Augusta, South Carolina to the Civil Rights Era and through her unforgettable gig on Rikers Island as a prison guard and her final fight against cancer.

The above video was originally published on 8-1-16.  Below is a flashback to the conversation from 2014…

Go to #10 Lou Reed

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