Sharon Jones Can’t Resist The Urge To Sing “Respect,” Even While In The Hospital Undergoing Chemotherapy

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings just released their sixth studio album, Give The People What They Want, this week. The recording process for this particular album from the You Oughta Know alums was significantly different than in any of their others, though, as lead singer Sharon Jones was diagnosed with stage II pancreatic cancer near the end of the studio sessions. This diagnosis threatened not only the release date of the album but, far more importantly, Jones’ life.

Jones began chemotherapy treatments last summer and, when we saw her here at VH1 headquarters just last week, she looked quite well. Well enough, in fact, for the band to put the finishing touches on Give The People What They Want and release it out into the world just this week. The album is getting strong reviews—it earned a B+ from the AV Club, an impressive 7.7 from Pitchfork, and Time called it “triumphant”—but as we were talking to Jones, the conversation naturally drifted towards her treatment.

Jones received her last chemotherapy treatment just a few weeks ago on New Year’s Eve. “At the hospital, they had a New Year Gala,” she told us with a smile on her face. “So I went that morning took the treatment and went to the New Year’s party. I got the dancing and, let me tell you, I thought I was going to die but I kept going. I danced and then the DJ put on ’Respect,’ and I was like Wham! Give me that mic! (chuckles). I was singing and dancing—they got me on camera—but I felt it the next three days but it was worth it.”

Give The People What They Want, the latest record from Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, is in stores now.