Pioneering Transgender Soul Singer Jackie Shane dies aged 78

Jackie Shane, soul singer and transgender pioneer, has died aged 78, her label has confirmed.

The singer was nominated for best historical album at the 2019 Grammys earlier this month for her box set ‘Any Other Way’.

Her label have confirmed she passed away in her sleep earlier this week.

Numero Group A&R scout Douglas Mcgowan spoke about Shane’s reaction to her Grammy nomination and expressed that she was humbled by the news.

He added: “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.

“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.”

Shane was born in 1940 in Nashville, Tennessee, and said that she knew she was a woman by the age of 13. Earlier this year she told the Associated Press that people had always “accepted” her. She added, “Even in school, I never had any problems.”

The singer moved to Toronto in the sixties, where she became a big name on the R&B scene before turning down record deals from Motown and Atlantic. Instead, she left the music business in 1971 and is reported to have lived a fairly secluded life – later explaining she left her career behind to take care of her mother in Los Angeles before returning to Nashville.

In 2010, the Canadian Broadcasting Company revived interest in the singer after they released an audio documentary about her work. In 2017, her label, Numero Group, released a box set titled ‘Any Other Way’ that drew together her work. It was nominated for a Grammy earlier this month.

Her face is included in a huge 20-story mural in Toronto featuring influential musicians.

In a recent interview, Shane told The Associated Press: “I had been discovered. It wasn’t what I wanted, but I felt good about it. After such a long time, people still cared. And now those people who are just discovering me, it’s just overwhelming.”

Celebrities including RuPaul and Janelle Monáe have paid tribute to the star.