AFP | AFP Although she's probably received her share of thank you letters from…
- Posted on May 27th 2011 4:00PM by Richard Trapunski
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Take her latest song, 'Representing Memphis,' a duet with the National's Matt Berninger as part of Booker T. Jone's latest album, 'The Road From Memphis.'
"Now see, I didn't even know Matt before we did that song," Jones tells Spinner. "I mean, I know we've opened up for the National at festivals, but I wasn't up on that band. Booker T, he wrote that song, and he put the two of us together. I think it works great, but who would have thought?"
That's a common sentiment from the 55-year-old songstress. From Michael Buble to David Byrne, she's being tapped by musicians from all across the spectrum. And she rarely says no.
As if to illustrate the point, Jones brings up Phish. In 2009, the longstanding jam band called on Jones to help them recreate the Rolling Stones' 'Exile on Main Street' as part of their annual "musical Halloween costume."
"I hadn't heard of the Phish band either until they called me up," she admits. "I was like 'How do you spell that, with an F?' But they just said, 'Be you.' So I couldn't say no. That's when I was like, 'Oh yeah, Phish, sure.' And I just went off."
Jones' one piece of criteria for collaborations is that she can sing the way she wants to sing. Try to tell her what to do and the whole thing falls apart. It's her refusal to bend to another's will that, according to Jones, caused a rare failed session, this time with legendary hip-hop group the Roots.
"Believe it or not, it didn't work," she recalls. "I sang what they told me to sing, but it didn't sound the way they wanted it. They wanted a flow, sort of like a rap, but I couldn't really do it. So they were like, 'I'm sorry Sharon, you really sing too good for what I want.' So I have been turned down before."
Generally, though, she's not a discriminating collaborator: "If I got time and they want me and they let me be me, I'll do it and I'll love it," she says, emphatically.
Jones admits her duet with Michael Buble on his song 'Baby (You've Got What It Takes)' was her biggest paycheck yet, something that's left her open to the idea of more musical meetups. In fact, she reveals, she's planning future projects with Dave Matthews Band, John Legend, and, to her palpable excitement, Stevie Wonder.
You have to wonder if there's anyone left for her to sing with.
"I would love to do something with Jennifer Hudson; she's got a very strong powerful voice. Also someone like Justin Timberlake, maybe doing a duet or something like that. But they're young; I don't know what idea they'd have or what they would want to do."
So why not find them and ask them?
"I don't seek," she says. "But if one of them, or somebody like Jay Z or Beyonce came to me and said, 'I want to do something with Sharon,' I'd be ready in a heartbeat."