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DANCING ABOUT ARCHITECTURE Some Grace in your face

by Marc 'Moose' Moder
2015-11-11

This article shared 3124 times since Wed Nov 11, 2015
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Much like grand dames Cher, Sade and Adele, Grace Jones only does things on her own terms, and when she wants to. She took almost two decades off from recording before releasing 2008's Hurricane ( since she had an artistic fall-out with Tricky ), has been late to almost every event she's ever been a part of, and, famously said in song, she'd never write her memoirs. But then she did just that ( and dished about the other two items mentioned ) with her new book, I'll Never Write My Memoirs. In the new hardcover out now, she lays bare her body, her motives, and her proper place in music history. Here are five reasons we think Grace Jones should be hailed as the queen of her musical castle.

Art. Working with luminaries like Andy Warhol, Keith Harring and her former partner Jean Paul Goude, she was one of the first musical artists to interactively work with visual artists in photography, paint and performance art. Her collaborations with Goude highly influenced what is thought to be the modern music video, via her movie, One Woman Show.

Vocals. Her voice wasn't ready for prime time in her early career, and she was then told to sing higher in her disco career. One day Grace caught a blip of a 1978 Anita Baker singing very low with her band, Chapter 8, and realized she would sing in her naturally low register. Along with Baker and Tina Turner, Grace brought some balls to female vocalism in the middle of the sexual revolution.

Sex. In her book, Grace makes no bones about working her open sexuality into her music and her life. From the start with her very first single, "I Need A Man," Jones was out of the box with what she wanted and how she wanted it. Often in her personal life, she used men like rags, and some women to get those men. She didn't care to explain her sexuality or judge yours. Unlike disco queen Donna Summer, Grace always spoke up and supported her LGBT allies before it was cool or a good marketing campaign. Yes, even before Madonna. Now straight artists often work our community into their plans, but Grace was playing shows at gay bars in the '70s ( Yes, Bette, you were, too ).

Fashion. Like her male counterpart, David Bowie, Grace wasn't shy at all about being clothed ( when she was actually clothed ) in the most cutting-edge looks, often co-designing her wardrobe with Issey Miyake. Now, no diva is complete without a fashion counterpart and many of her "children" have outright stolen her looks. Do we need to name names here?

Equality. Not just for her LGBT friends, but for women. Grace fought all her childhood to get away from her abusive step-grandfather, so when she got to America, she wasn't going to let any man tell her what to do, like most women in the industry in the mid-'70s and before. After she felt stifled from her three disco albums with the legendary Tom Moulton, Grace staged a coup from her label by posing naked and lubed for Goude, purposely horrifying a label that wanted her to be the next Vegas lounge queen. The plan worked and she easily slipped away from their grasp, creating an original and independent vision, and paving the way for every single woman and gay man in pop for the next 30 years to be themselves. Take a moment and say "Grace."

GRACE IN UR FACE with DJ Moose + The Vixen kicks off Sat., Nov. 14, 11 p.m. at Jackhammer.


This article shared 3124 times since Wed Nov 11, 2015
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