Are the winter blues getting you down? No fear, BUST favorites Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have a new album to keep you warm through the worst of the Polar Vortex. "Give the People What They Want," released yesterday, is full of the soul-funk music and high energy singing with which audiences and critics alike have fallen in love.  

Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have been giving the people what they want since the mid-90s with their electric live shows that put many of Jones's younger contemporaries to shame. Though they have been recording with Brooklyn's Daptone Records since 2002, it wasn't until a little album called "Back to Black" by newcomer singer Amy Winehouse in 2006 that propelled the band to new levels of stardom.

After a scary diagnosis of bile duct cancer this past summer, Jones is now cancer-free and prepping to tour the new album. We were lucky enough to interview Sharon Jones in  our Dec/Jan 2014 issue, wherein the 57 year old singer discussed cancer, old jobs, and what she likes to do on her downtime.

How are you feeling? 

Since the surgery, I’ve been doing OK, but right now I just feel overtired. My arms feel like lead, like they’re weighted down. Part of my show is my energy, so I have to come back. I’ll probably dance a little less at the beginning [of the tour], but once I get my energy back, I’ll be OK.


How did it feel to push the album and tour back after you were all ready to go?

That was one of the hardest things—to get sick and not be able to get out on the road. I miss being able to move, to feel that stage. My favorite part is when I walk out and get that high from the audience, their screams, and the looks on their faces. That’s my joy. 

 

You sang for many years before joining the Dap-Kings, and even then you waited quite a while for recognition. Why do you think it took so long for you to break out?

Probably the kind of music I sing, and the fact that [record executives] are looking for a certain look, and they told me I didn’t have the look. Me being short, dark-skinned, and a certain age—they weren’t feeling it. In the ’80s and ’90s, people had other things going on. I was different. But I never stopped singing. I just did wedding bands and stuff like that. 

 

What were the most popular wedding songs back then?  

Oh my God, I used to do like [starts singing “Always” by Atlantic Starr], “And weee boooth knooow that our looove will grooow.” I also did some Whitney Houston, but I always wondered why people wanted you to sing “I Will Always Love You” at a wedding.

 

You were also a corrections officer and an armored car guard. Do you have any good stories from those jobs? 

Working at corrections was a trip; I didn’t know I would be that close to the inmates. I don’t know what I was thinking! They had me with the men. One thing I learned is that you could not show fear. Once you showed the fear, that was it. You were done. Inmates were always asking for my number, and I said no. I also had inmates tell me I wouldn’t make it in there because I was too nice. 

 

How did you get hooked up with the Dap-Kings?

I met up with Gabriel [Roth, Dap-Kings bandleader and cofounder of Daptone Records] through an ex. They wanted someone who sounded like James Brown, and they wanted three girls to come in and back him up. I was like, “Why use three girls? Just use me!”

 

What do you like to do when you’re not on the road?

 

Fishing. I would fish every day if I could. You’ll find me at a lake or a pond somewhere. I love being out in nature, in the woods or out hiking, or on a boat. Just chillin’. I’m a simple person. I don’t need the glamour, the lights, or cameras up in my face. I’m too old for that.

 

Interview by Eliza C. Thompson

Image Via Billboard

Fishing. I would fish every day if I could. You’ll find me at a lake or a pond somewhere. I love being out in nature, in the woods or out hiking, or on a boat. Just chillin’. I’m a simple person. I don’t need the glamour, the lights, or cameras up in my face. I’m too old for that.

 

Interview by Eliza C. Thompson

Image Via Billboard

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Tagged in: sharon jones, polar vortex, Music, give the people what they want, daptone records, dap-kings, Amy Winehouse   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.




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