NPR 4 THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When U Can’t

Miss Sharon Jones Movie Poster


FRESH AIR: Growing up in South Carolina, soul singer Sharon Jones knew from the first time she sang in her church’s Christmas play that she would be a musician. “I was, like, maybe 8, 9 years old … and I got to sing ‘Silent Night,'” she tells Fresh Air host Terry Gross. Jones remembers audience members taking note of her performance. “Right then and there,” she says, “I knew that I was going to be a singer. God had blessed me with a gift.” Now the lead singer for the soul group, The Dap-Kings, Jones is inspired by the classic soul and R&B she grew up with. The band, which recorded its first album in 2001, is known for its energetic showmanship and ’60s-style soul revue shows. In 2013, Jones was forced to take a hiatus from performing after she was diagnosed with stage 2 pancreatic cancer. A new documentary, Miss Sharon Jones!, by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, follows Jones in the first seven months following her diagnosis. Jones says that while extensive surgery and chemotherapy took a lot out of her, her desire to make music never faltered. After finishing chemo, recovering from the surgery and getting clean scans, she returned to the stage with The Dap-Kings in 2014.The cancer has since returned, but Jones wants to continue making music. “This cancer is here, and I have to take the chemo,” she says, “but I want to perform. I just want to be able to get onstage and move.” MORE

PREVIOUSLY: Phawker’s 2011 Q&A With Miss Sharon Jones