Grace Jones is a singer, songwriter, lyricist, supermodel, record producer, and actress. Her parents had six children between them. Robert and Marjorie moved to the East Coast of the United States.
Grace Jones –
Pull Up To The Bumper
Grace Jones – Love Is The Drug
As a child, shy Jones had only one schoolfriend and was teased by classmates for her “skinny frame”, but she excelled at sports and found solace in nature. Her father and mother sent her and the other siblings to live with her grandparents in NY at the age of 13.
“My childhood was all about the Bible and very strict upbringing that sometimes lead to beatings. We were beaten for any little act of dissent. It formed me as a person, It was a profoundly disciplined, militant upbringing, and so in my own way, I am very militant and disciplined. Even if that sometimes means being militantly naughty, and disciplined in the arts of subversion. .”
Jones continued her schooling and after she graduated, enrolled at Onondaga Community College majoring in Spanish. Jones began to rebel against her parents and their religion; she began wearing makeup, drinking alcohol, and visiting gay clubs with her brother.
She moved back to New York at 18 and signed on as a model with Wilhelmina Modelling agency. She moved to Paris in 1970. The Parisian fashion scene was receptive to Jones’ unusual, androgynous, bold, dark-skinned appearance. Yves St. Laurent, Claude Montana, and Kenzo Takada hired her for runway modelling, and she appeared on the covers of Elle, Vogue, and Stern working with Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Hans Feurer.
In 1977 Jones secured a record deal with Island Records; she moved into Indie, dance and reggae music, often collaborating with the Compass Point All Stars. She scored Top 40 entries on the UK Singles Chart with “Pull Up to the Bumper”, “I’ve Seen That Face Before”, “Private Life”, “Slave to the Rhythm” and “I’m Not Perfect”. Her most popular albums include Warm Leatherette (1980), Nightclubbing (1981), and Slave to the Rhythm (1985).
She appeared in some films in the U.S. during the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984 she made her first mainstream appearance as Zula in the fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Douglas, and subsequently appeared in the 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill as May Day. In 1986 she played a vampire in Vamp, and acted in and contributed a song to the 1992 Eddie Murphy film Boomerang. She appeared alongside Tim Curry in the 2001 film Wolf Girl.
Grace Jones – I’ve Seen That Face Before (Libertango)
In 1983, Jones’ One Man Show was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Long-Form Music Video. For her work in Conan the Destroyer, A View to a Kill, and Vamp, she was nominated for Saturn Awards for Best Supporting Actress. In 1999, Jones ranked 82nd on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and in 2008, she was honored with a Q Idol Award.
Jones influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s and has been an inspiration for artists including Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Lorde, Róisín Murphy, Brazilian Girls, Nile Rodgers, Santigold, and Basement Jaxx.
Jones also modelled for Azzedine Alaia, and was frequently photographed promoting their line. While modelling in Paris, she shared an apartment with Jerry Hall and Jessica Lange. Hall and Jones frequented Club Sept, one of Paris’ most popular gay clubs of the 1970s and ’80s, and socialised with Giorgio Armani and Karl Lagerfeld.
Jones was signed by Island Records, who put her in the studio with disco record producer, Tom Moulton.
Moulton worked at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, and Portfolio, was released in 1977. The album featured three songs from Broadway musicals, “Send in the Clowns” by Stephen Sondheim from A Little Night Music, “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line and “Tomorrow” from Annie.
The second side of the album opens up with a seven-minute reinterpretation of Édith Piaf’s “La Vie en rose” followed by three new recordings, two of which were co-written by Jones, “Sorry”, and “That’s the Trouble”. The album finished with “I Need a Man”, Jones’ first club hit. The artwork to the album was designed by Richard Bernstein, an artist for Interview.
In 1978, Jones and Moulton made Fame, an immediate follow-up to Portfolio, also recorded at Sigma Sound Studios. The album featured another reinterpretation of a French classic, “Autumn Leaves” by Jacques Prévert. The Canadian edition of the vinyl album included another French language track, “Comme un oiseau qui s’envole”, which replaced “All on a Summers Night”; in most locations this song served as the B-side of the single “Do or Die”.
In the North American club scene, Fame was a hit album and the “Do or Die”/”Pride”/”Fame” side reached top 10 on both the US Hot Dance Club Play and Canadian Dance/Urban charts. The album was released on compact disc in the early 1990s, but soon went out of print. In 2011, it was released and remastered by Gold Legion, a record company that specialises in reissuing classic disco albums on CD.
Muse was the last of Jones’ disco albums. The album features a re-recorded version “I’ll Find My Way to You”, which Jones released three years prior to Muse. Originally appearing in the 1976 Italian film, Colt 38 Special Squad in which Jones had a role as a club singer, Jones also recorded a song called “Again and Again” that was featured in the film.
Both songs were produced by composer Stelvio Cipriani. Icelandic keyboardist Thor Baldursson who arranged most of the album and also sang duet with Jones on the track “Suffer” had previously worked in Munich, with disco stars such as Silver Convention, Boney M., Donna Summer, Amanda Lear and Giorgio Moroder. Like the last two albums, the cover art is by Richard Bernstein. Like Fame, Muse was later released by Gold Legion.
Grace Jones – La Vie En Rose