Sharon Jones: Keeping Soul and Hope Alive Interview | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Sharon Jones

Keeping Soul and Hope Alive

Oct 05, 2016 Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings Photography by Ray Lego Bookmark and Share

Sharon Jones fully knows the power of soul music. She also knows the power of cancer research and treatment. That’s because it’s helped her battle and fend off her pancreatic cancer the last three years. The treatments have gotten her to the point that she’s capable of doing what she truly loves, performing with her band The Dap-Kings in venues around the world. The chemotherapy and treatments continue today but she fights with purpose each day.

“It’s a struggle. I have up days and down days. I think a lot of the pain meds have a big effect on how I’m feeling,” Jones says. “The treatments are intense, but I just take it one day at a time. I’m gonna keep going forward and battling through the pain. The battle is on. I’m gonna keep on pushing on.”

Her battle with cancer and charismatic fighting spirit are chronicled in the documentary Miss Sharon Jones!, which was directed by Oscar-winner Barbara Kopple. At one point in the film, she says that she really thought her 2014 album Give the People What They Want would be her last. But she was able to battle back to the live stage and release the 2015 Christmas album It’s a Holiday Soul Party. A new album is also in the works.

If the film can give inspiration to those fighting cancer, Jones feels she’ll have made an impact.

“I would say just to take it one day at a time,” she says. “Just don’t give up hope. Don’t give up faith. And don’t give up believing in yourself. Do as much as you can to keep yourself going.”

Her treatments have convinced her about the importance of government spending on cancer research. She hopes the level of spending increases and that treatments become more affordable to everyone.

“I think they need to think about the pharmaceuticals and stop charging people so much money who have to go through cancer,” she says. “They need to really get on the pharmaceutical companies and have them really lower the prices on medications. And insurance too-they should be covering more stuff for people instead of making people pay so much. Insurance should be free!

“They should be more like the European system so healthcare is better and cheaper. So everyone can go to a doctor when they’re sick and get medicine when they’re sick. It shouldn’t be so one person pays $5 for a pill and another person pays $100 for it. Stop getting fat off the people who need the medication. To me that’s robbery. You’re robbing people because you can.”

She also knows the importance of how a support system of people can help one battle cancer. From her nutritionist Megan Holken, who offered her home as a place to recover from treatments, and her bandmates and label Daptone Records, she saw that she had a lot of people rallying around her.

“That’s a big plus, knowing so many people are behind me and there for me gives me the energy and the strength to continue,” she says. “It makes me want to get better faster.”

Jones is excited to see the reaction at the premieres of the film. When she looks and sees people smiling and crying and getting inspired by her story, she knows what an impact she has on people. She hopes that people who come up to her and tell her how they lost a loved one or have someone going through a similar experience can “go back and tell their loved ones they’re not alone.”

“Let them know where there’s a will there’s a way,” she says. “Continue to fight. Don’t give up hope on yourself.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar’s August/September/October 2016 Issue, which is out now. This is its debut online.]


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February 5th 2017

So inspiring - Well done!