R.I.P. Toronto Soul Singer and Trans Icon Jackie Shane
Shane was born in Nashville on May 15, 1940, but moved to Montreal in 1960. She first performed with Frank Motley and His Motely Crew, eventually becoming their lead singer and relocating to Toronto with them in 1961.
Her biggest hit was "Any Other Way," which was initially recorded in 1962, though it became an even bigger hit across Canada in 1967 after being reissued.
Shane released Jackie Shane Live in 1967, followed by her final recording of 1969 single "Cruel Cruel World" b/w "New Way of Lovin."
Shane disappeared from the public eye in 1970, losing touch with her own bandmates and turning down an offer to join George Clinton's Funkadelic. It turned out she had quietly retired and moved to Los Angeles to take care of her mother. Shane relocated to Nashville after the death of her mother in 1997.
CBC produced a documentary called I Got Mine: The Story of Jackie Shane in 2010; it wasn't confirmed until after it aired that Shane was indeed still alive.
Jackie Shane Live was reissued to much acclaim in 2015, getting shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize's 1960-1970 Heritage Award.
In 2017, Numero Group released a compilation titled Any Other Way, which marked the first time since 1969 that Shane had been directly involved with the release of her own music. It garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Historical Album.
Also in 2017, Shane publicly identified herself as a trans woman, after decades of speculation and cult adoration by the LGBTQ community. Shane told the New York Times that she identified as a woman in a man's body at age 13, but frequently defined herself as "gay" in an era where gender discourse wasn't discussed.
"I was just being me," she said. "I never tried to explain myself to anyone — they never explained themselves to me."
Numero Group's Douglas Mcgowan released the following statement:
I'm devastated to report that our friend and hero Jackie Shane passed away peacefully in her sleep earlier this week. Jackie lived in Nashville with her cat, Sweetie. She said many times that she was humbled by all the acclaim lavished on her in the year and a half since our record. To this she'd rarely fail to add that she never asked for any of this, but felt it was fate. Jackie didn't do what she did for anyone's else's approval. She was here to entertain, but also to educate and inspire. She lived entirely on her own terms. She taught me so many things about self-respect and grace under difficult circumstances. She was hilarious and she was wise. She saw dimensions to things others could not. I believe that she was a visionary who will never be forgotten, and will be recognized by more and more people as one of the greatest soul singers of all time. I'll never know anyone else like Jackie.
See some more tributes to Shane below.
Jackie Shane, May 15, 1940 - February 22, 2019.— ɴᴜᴍᴇʀᴏ ɢʀᴏᴜᴘ (@numerogroup) February 22, 2019
Memoriam to follow.
Rest In Power, Ms. Shane. pic.twitter.com/RLLZDoUQGP
Among the most exciting artists of the late 1960s, Jackie Shane was a pathbreaking & endlessly inventive performer. An inspiration! It's been wonderful to watch as a new generation discovered her genius over the past decade. Word is that she has passed away. She will be missed. pic.twitter.com/sPwt8EBTKF— Stuart Henderson (@henderstu) February 22, 2019