Soul singer Jackie Shane has died at 78. The R&B and soul pioneer passed away in her sleep at her Nashville home on February 21.
The news came via Numero Group, the Chicago record label that two years ago put out Any Other Way, a career-spanning box set of her music that was nominated for a Best Historical Album Grammy this year.
Shane was born in Nashville, but her music career bloomed in Toronto, where she became an R&B and soul icon in the ’60s. A transgender woman, Shane was open about her gender identity and presentation both on and off stage. “I was just being me,” she told the New York Times in a 2017 interview. “I never tried to explain myself to anyone—they never explained themselves to me.”
She left the music business in 1971 without explanation, and spent decades out of the public eye, until the Numero Group release in late 2017.
RIP, Jackie Shane. Watch her perform her song “Walking the Dog” in 1965 below: