The Legend of Grace Jones

Headlining KITE Festival 2022. The queen of art-pop, a multi-genre artist without peer and one one of the most recognisable faces in the world; Grace Jones is one of the defining figures of western popular culture in the last forty years.

Born in Jamaica in 1948, Grace Jones moved to Syracuse, New York as a child. She went on to become synonymous with the late 70s disco scene in the city centred around the infamous Studio 54. In the late 1970s, Jones signed her first record deal resulting in a string of dance-club hits including “I Need A Man” and her acclaimed reinvention of Edith Piaf’s classic “La Vie En Rose”. The three disco albums she recorded, Portfolio (1977), Fame (1978) and Muse (1979), established her as a major recording artist.

As the decade turned, Grace Jones continued her rise to super-stardom writing songs with Iggy Pop and David Bowie. She became a muse for Andy Warhol, who created an iconic series of portraits of her in 1986. She also began a long running partnership with Jean-Paul Goude with whom she had a son. It was around this time that Jones adopted her iconoclastic, severe, androgynous look with square-cut hair and angular, padded clothes.

Since her hay-day in the 1970s and 80s, Grace Jones has become a cult figure within clubbing and queer communities. She is a symbol of both non-binary power and rebellion against traditional gender constructs. “I like dressing like a guy. I love it,” she told Interview magazine in 1984, “The future is no sex. You can be a boy, a girl, whatever you want.”

She is the definitive party person of the 20th century. She remains a cultural touchstone, from references in major blockbusters such as Black Panther, to her enduring legacy in the world of fashion.