Soul Singer Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings come home to Augusta

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News 12 at 11 o'clock -- Saturday, March 12, 2011

AUGUSTA, GA. -- In 1956, the soul city gave birth to soul singer Sharon Jones and Saturday, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings came home to perform at the Imperial Theatre.

The feisty funk Jones had a tough road to make it, but now she's made it and is moving right down the street from where she made her third grade singing debut, North Augusta Baptist Church.

"I'm moving back the place where it all started," Jones said.

For the first time in 5 years, she brought her soul back to Augusta. It's the city in which she was born and spent many summers when she wasn't living in New York with her mother.

She graced the Imperial Theatre stage in front of a packed house, but before the show, Jones and the Dap Kings relaxed at her new home in North Augusta.

"I bought this home really for my mother," she said. "I lived in the ghetto (in New York). I'm getting my mother out of the projects now."

Jones' mother is battling cancer and she says this is a better living situation for her and gives a home feel to the family.

But getting to this stage in her life, where she can help people like her mother wasn't easy.

"They literally told me I was too black, too fat and once I passed 25, they told me I was too old," she said.

But her old-school funk hits have landed the 54-year-old on Saturday Night Live with Michael Buble, Madison Square Garden with Prince and even in the movie The Great Debaters, starring Denzel Washington.

"I could never give up my singing," she said. "You know God gave me this voice and one day people will accept me for it not the way I look."

Her life soundtrack is one she wants youngsters to listen to and learn from.

"You have to keep going," she urged. "Once you believe in your heart and you know something and you have a talent, you have to keep going, don't give up."

And that strong soul, made her the queen of her Dap Kings.

"I'm just glad to be back here," she said about being in her new home. "I can't wait to really get settled down and to be coming off the road and coming to stick my key in this door to come home."

A company has been following her for the past 10 years doing a documentary.

Sharon says she'll still be on the road a little, but she will come home to North Augusta. She just wants her mom out of the projects and somewhere that family can take care of her.