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Schooled in Hard Tries

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So much so that she admits she’d never heard of the pop figures she’s worked with. Lou Reed? Her manager had to hum a few bars of “Walk on the Wild Side” first. Bublé? “I said, ‘Who the hell is Michael Boo-blay?’ I looked him up, and he’s like Sinatra or somethin’. ” And she still has no interest in modern R&B, though she can easily nail the staccato stylings of current divas Beyoncé or Rihanna. “I’m not sayin’ what they do is bad. But that’s not what I wanna do. I don’t know where you’re goin’ with that voice.”

In photos, Jones is regal, imposing. In person, she’s tiny but no less of a force. Heading to Daptone one afternoon, she harangues her manager over her hectic schedule. Last year, she asked for a share of the publishing royalties on her albums despite not writing the songs. (Roth, who still writes most of them, consented.) But that doesn’t make her any less appreciative of where she is. At the office, Jones scrawls on a copy of her new CD. “I’m signing this for my Taiwan fan,” she says. “I got a fan in Tai-wan.”

I Learned the Hard Way
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Daptone.
$14.98.


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