Sharon Jones is without a doubt the most famous resident of the Augusta area, and yet many Augustans have no idea how famous she really is.
Just the past few months alone have found her and The Dap Kings band performing in Europe, South America, New Zealand and Australia.
Somehow during that time, she managed to buy a house in the Augusta area and move her mother and sister from New York City to live with her.
Last year, she was on Saturday Night Live dueting with Michael Bublé on Baby, You’ve Got What It Takes.
In January, she was on stage with Prince at his sold-out Madison Square Garden concert in New York City. She not only opened the show for Prince,
but he also called her back on stage to perform A Love Bizarre with him.
In July, the Augusta native and returned Augusta-area resident was on stage with Stevie Wonder and musical director Rickey Minor (American Idol, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) at the Hollywood Bowl in California.
Her concerts often draw tens of thousands of fans and her music video of 100 Days, 100 Nights has had nearly 2 million views on youtube.com.
She has recorded and performed with British soul sensation Amy Winehouse; acted, sang and recorded the majority of the soundtrack for Denzel Washington’s film The Great Debaters and has been interviewed by Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon and writers from almost every major music magazine you can name.
She electrified an audience at Imperial Theatre in March with her ultra high-energy show during which she said how happy she was to be moving back to the area.
Augustans will get another chance to see and hear this soul music star and The Dap Kings band when they perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, at the Parade Grounds of the old Richmond Academy building in the 500 block of Telfair Street.
Tickets are $15 in advance at www.westoboufestival.com or $20 the day of the show.
Jones, whose performing style often has been compared to her musical idol James Brown, was born in the segregated section of the Old University Hospital on May 4, 1956, the day after Brown’s 23rd birthday.
After her parents separated when she was 3 years old, her mother moved Jones and her siblings to New York City. She returned to the South often to spend summers with her father until he died when she was 12.
She spent her third-grade year in North Augusta and that year made her singing debut at the North Augusta Baptist Church on Jackson Avenue portraying an angel in a Christmas program and singing Silent Night.
As an adult, she worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island prison, an armored car guard for Wells Fargo and as a wedding singer before finally hooking up in 1996 with a band called The Soul Providers.
The band split in 2000, but many of its members became the Dap-Kings with Sharon Jones and with Daptone Records releasing Jones and the Dap-Kings’ 2002 debut CD Dap Dippin’.
That, as they say, was the start of something really big.