In good Grace

Observer senior reporter

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

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COME October 15, actress, singer and model Grace Jones will be among four individuals invested with the Order of Jamaica at the annual ceremony of investiture and presentation of National honours and awards at King's House in St Andrew.

The Jamaica-born Jones will be lauded for her exceptional contribution in the field of entertainment internationally.

Born in Spanish Town in 1948, to the daughter of a minister of religion, Jones grew up in a strict Christian household. She has often remarked that this significantly contributed to her personality.

At age 13, she moved to New York to join her parents. Jones began her modelling career there, then in Paris, working for fashion houses such as Yves St Laurent and Kenzo, and appearing on the covers of Elle and Vogue.

Then came music.

In 1977, Jones secured a deal with Island Records, initially becoming a star at New York City's trendy Studio 54. In the early 1980s, she fashioned a new sound that drew on reggae, funk and punk, frequently collaborating with graphic designer Jean-Paul Goude and rising production team of Sly and Robbie. Her most popular albums include Warm Leatherette (1980), Nightclubbing (1981), and Slave to The Rhythm (1985). She scored Top 40 entries on the UK Singles Chart with Pull Up to The Bumper, I've Seen That Face Before, Private Life, and Slave to The Rhythm.

Drummer Sly Dunbar recalled his initial recording with Jones in The Bahamas at Island Records' Compass Point studio.

“We were asked by Chris Blackwell to create some music for this Jamaican girl living in Paris. He told us she was doing disco but wanted to switch up her sound. When we got to Nassau, there was a huge poster of her in the studio. Then she walked in. She was so comfortable, amazing and cool; an easy person to get along with. It was just a great session,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

“Over the years she has really progressed. Our first recording with her was Private Life and then there was Pull Up To The Bumper, Nipple to The Bottle and My Jamaican Guy... you can see how much she's grown as an artiste and performer.”

Hollywood has called Jones. By 1984, she went mainstream in the fantasy drama Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger. The following year she was cast in the James Bond movie A View to A Kill. In 1986 she played a vampire in Vamp, and later in 1992, she acted in and contributed a song to the Eddie Murphy film, Boomerang.

In 2015, Jones added author to her résumé with the release her biography I'll Never Write My Memoirs.

Earlier this year, she earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Voice of A Woman Festival in Kingston and Ocho Rios. The event also saw the premiere of the docu-film Grace Jones.

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