It's an extra special new year for Sharon Jones, frontwoman of neo-soul combo Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. On New Year's Eve, she posted on the band's Facebook page, "Today was my last chemo treatment...thank you all for your love and support. God bless and Happy New Year!"
That good news was greeted by more than 8,000 "likes" by her fans and supporters.
In June of last year, Jones announced in a statement on the band's website that she had bile duct cancer and would undergo surgery, forcing the delay of the band's new album and tour. That album, Give The People What They Want, is now set for a Jan. 14 release and a tour to support it. The band's first full U.S. trek in more than two years kicks off on Feb. 6 with a hometown gig at the Beacon Theatre in New York.
When we caught up with Jones by phone in late November, she was admittedly ravaged by chemotherapy treatments, but still optimistic about her full recovery and getting back to performing, although her cancer was worse than the initial diagnosis. "Eight days after my surgery the doctor came in and told me that the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes and it wasn't bile duct cancer, it was pancreatic cancer stage 2," she said.
Still, a week after our interview, she appeared with the Dap-Kings on a float at the Macy's Thanksgiving performing their holiday song "Ain't No Chimneys in the Projects."
"This is the last phase," Jones said of her treatment in November. "Once the chemo leaves, once they stop putting that poison in my system, I'll be OK. My energy and my strength will come back. That's why I'm looking forward to February. My friends are like, 'Are you sure you're going to be ready?' And I'm like, 'Today, no, but by February, yes.' You gotta have faith. You got to set goals. You got to get back out there. It's like you're on a bike. I was on a bike, I fell off. I gotta get back on it."
Despite the fact that Jones has been undergoing treatment and recovering, she and the Dap-Kings have managed to keep a relatively high profile. Aside from appearing on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, the band is seen performing a cover of the James Bond theme "Goldfinger," originally performed by Shirley Bassey, in the current box-office blockbuster The Wolf of Wall Street. They also released new videos for "Ain't No Chimneys in the Projects" and "Retreat!," a track from Give the People What They Want. In both of those clips, Jones appears in animated form, due to the fact she was still undergoing chemo when the clips were made.
However, Jones has already taped another clip for another track from the new album, "Stranger to My Happiness," and she appears in this video.
"I don't want come back out in another year and have everybody see me like I was never sick," she says. "I'm doing what I'm doing because I want my fans to know what I'm doing and go through it with me. At first, I didn't want to do the video...But I'm glad I went and did it and I look really good. This way my fans are seeing me and when I look back at that video, it's the next chapter in my life. My fans can see what I'm going through and how well I'm doing."