Sharon Jones: "I Really Didn't Think I Was Going to Be Here to Perform This Album"

Categories: Q&A

Mike Brooks
The golden-voiced Sharon Jones sings with all the power she can muster.
Sharon Jones is one tough woman. A former corrections officer and Wells Fargo security guard who was once told she was "too black, too fat, too short" to make it as the classic soul singer she's become, Jones recently overcame the toughest battle of her life: beating back pancreatic cancer. The cancer threatened not only a music career on the rise, but also her life.

The cancer scare took Jones off the road and temporarily shelved her most recent album, Give the People What They Want. Yet, after successful surgery and treatment Jones is gradually regaining her strength and is back on the road giving the people what they want: a dose of classic soul straight from the genres defining era of the late-1960s and early-1970s.

Up on the Sun caught up with Jones as she was resting between gigs in a Dallas hotel room. She discussed her cancer battle, disappointment in the album's delay, how some songs take on a new post-cancer meaning, and the fact she doesn't need to be half-naked with "lights and lasers and explosions" to make her musical point.

Hi, Sharon. How are you feeling? Is the tour going well?

I'm feeling good, feeling good. I had a hard time getting the sound right a couple shows ago, which, after being away for awhile made me a little sad and disappointed. But, we got it together. We just stopped everything and figured it out. Once we got going again, the feeling was great.

Right now I'm resting, just resting my voice for tonight. Every night is a big challenge. I'm feeling stronger; doing better. Every night I'm getting better. But I'm still taking my time and gaining the energy to do what I do.

Is it hard to put it all out, give your all, or does the music grab a hold and you just can't help yourself?

The music grabs a hold and I see the fans -- their faces -- and the music's going and the band's going and I just forget (my illness). I just go and go and knock that next note out.

Location Info


Historic Heritage Square

115 N. Sixth St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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