She’s a model and she’s looking good. She’s also a pioneering artist, actress and musician. Here are the secrets of Grace Jones…
1. During her acting career, Jones hasn’t always got on with her lead-man – Arnold Schwarzenegger supposedly complained Grace was ‘too tough’ during filming of Conan The Destroyer, and Roger Moore commented he had a genuine dislike of Jones during filming of the Bond film A View To A Kill.
2.When Grace’s brother Christian fell out with their parents because of social differences (they were very religious and disagreed with him ‘walking swishy’, as well as him wanting a career in music as a DJ), she took her brother’s side and she claims this helped establish her rebelliousness.
3.This rebelliousness included her constant love of nightclubbing in New York, as well as going out road-tripping and taking acid with Hell’s Angels. She wore afros before they came into fashion and she was exposing herself in clubs way before nude establishments were officially commissioned.
4.She has admitted her song ‘My Jamaican Guy’ was actually about Tyrone Downie, a member of The Wailers she fancied at the time. Her response when asked about the song: “[Tyrone] was with somebody else. He was a beautiful guy – he doesn’t even know I wrote it about him.”
5.Her vocal range spans two-and-a-half octaves, meaning she has no problem switching from contralto to soprano and back. In simple terms – she can sing relatively high notes, as well as being able to sing in a deep, almost masculine, low singing voice.
6.She is a character well-known for her controversial moments – as well as her television appearance on the Russell Harty show she is renowned for, she has a lifetime ban from Walt Disney World in Florida due to indecently exposing her breasts on a live set whilst she was performing.
7.Her love of New York nightclubs could partly be explained by the people she meets in them. She was spotted wildly dancing by fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez, which in turn led to her modeling career. She also met future boyfriend Jean-Paul Goude in one, who collaborated with her on creating the scary, angular and androgynous early Eighties image she had.
8.A time she recalls (unfazed) was living in Paris with fellow models Jerry Hall and Jessica Lange in the late-’70s. They once attended a party full of French politicians, Jones turned up with just a string of bones around her neck and nothing else. Another typical Grace Jones stunt that’s sure to go down in French history.
9.Current popular artists Rihanna and Lady Gaga have both confirmed they are inspired by Jones. Rihanna recently donned a mask and cloak ensemble very similar to Jones’ style at her gig in the Netherlands earlier this year, whilst Lady Gaga requested to work with Jones only to be swiftly turned down.
10.Grace’s son, Paulo Goude, is currently one-third of the three-piece band Trybez. They were the support act on her recent ‘Hurricane’ tour. Jones also has a grand-daughter through Paulo and his fellow band-member/ girlfriend, Azella. He reluctantly admits, “I am my mum’s number one fan and she will always be my first fan.”
Clash Magazine Issue 51