Astounding and acclaimed country music vocalist Dawn Sears, known for being one of the members of the Western Swing outfit The Time Jumpers, a frequent collaborator and backup singer for fellow Time Jumper Vince Gill, and a noted solo artist releasing multiple albums on her own, died of lung Cancer on Thursday, December 11th. She was 53-years-old.
Sears was originally diagnosed with the disease in February of 2012, and in March of 2013, it was announced the lung Cancer had reached the 3B stage. Dawn fought the disease valiantly, while also participating in fundraising events to help find a cure for the disease. Just two weeks ago, Dawn Sears participated in a fundraiser held in her name in Gallatin, TN that raised over $100,000 for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. The event was headlined by Reba McEntire.
Dawn Sears, originally from East Grand Forks, Minnesota, became as a major label artist for Warner Bros. in 1990 after spending her early years touring the West and Midwest as a young adult. Her debut album, 1991’s What A Woman Wants to Hear had some minor success, but Sears decided to leave the country scene afterwards. This was when Vince Gill called up the accomplished vocalist and asked her to become a backup singer for him. Sears collaborated with Gill on his 1993 album I Still Believe In You and other Vince Gill projects, and signed with Decca Records and released Nothin’ But Good in 1994. Sears remained a fixture in Vince Gill’s touring band over the years, and also worked with Tracy Byrd, Patty Loveless, and many others.
Sears was experiencing a resurgence in her career lately, playing shows with The Time Jumpers reunited with Vince Gill, and she received an Ameripolitan Award for Western Swing Female in February of 2014. Sears performed at Dale Watson’s event with her head free of hair from the chemotherapy. “This is my very first award. Thank you,” Sears said while becoming very emotional. Dawn had also recently released a Christmas album.
Dawn Sears is survived by her husband and fellow Time Jumper Kenny Sears and their daughter Tess. “It wasn’t music that brought me to Nashville [in 1987],” Dawn said, “It was Kenny Sears.”
Funeral arrangements for Dawn Sears are pending.