Prior to her death from pancreatic cancer in 2016, Sharon Jones was nominated for her first Grammy award for the 2014 release, Give The People What They Want, toured and performed tirelessly, and was the subject of Miss Sharon Jones!, an acclaimed documentary by Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple. Yet somehow, the beloved and heroic soul singer found time to complete a studio album. Soul of a Woman features eleven songs recorded with her long-time co-conspirators, the Dap-Kings, which reveal that the emotion, dynamics, and drama of Jones’ voice remained at full power until her final days.
Though mostly raised in Brooklyn, Jones spent her childhood summers in Augusta, Georgia, where she was born. She sang gospel in churches her whole life and spent many years leading her choir at the Universal Church of God in Brooklyn. In the 1970's, she joined a handful of local funk bands, but was unable to crack into the recording industry. Later, she began singing in wedding bands, and worked such jobs as armored car guard for Wells Fargo and corrections officer at Rikers Island prison. In 1996, she sang back-up on a Lee Fields session that Mann was producing, after which he put her front and center, at age 40, for her first-ever recording as a front woman, "Damn It's Hot."
Jones and the Dap-Kings recorded their 2001 debut album, Dap Dippin' With Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, in the Brooklyn basement, followed by a series of increasingly popular albums and 45's, and constant, ecstatically received touring. Their sixth record, Give the People What They Want, was nominated for Best R&B Album at the 2015 Grammys, and the group's last album, It’s a Holiday Soul Party, was released in November 2015, almost a year to the day before Jones would pass away at age 60.