I'll Never Write My Memoirs
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Legendary influential performer Grace Jones offers a revealing account of her spectacular career and turbulent life, charting the development of a persona that has made her one of the world’s most recognizable artists.
As a singer, model, and actress—a deluxe triple threat—Grace has consistently been an extreme, challenging presence in the entertainment world since her emergence as an international model in the 1970s. Celebrated for her audacious talent and trailblazing style, Grace became one of the most unforgettable, free-spirited characters to emerge from the historic Studio 54, recording glittering disco classics such as “I Need a Man” and “La Vie en Rose.” Her provocative shows in underground New York nightclubs saw her hailed as a disco queen, gay icon, and gender defying iconoclast.
In 1980, the always ambitious Grace escaped a crowded disco scene to pursue more experimental interests. Her music also broke free, blending house, reggae, and electronica into a timeless hybrid that led to classic hits such as “Pull Up to the Bumper” and “Slave to the Rhythm.” In the memoir she once promised never to write, Grace offers an intimate insight into her evolving style, personal philosophies, and varied career—including her roles in the 1984 fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and the James Bond movie A View to a Kill.
Featuring sixteen pages of stunning full-color photographs, many from her own personal archive, I’ll Never Write My Memoirs follows this ageless creative nomad as she rejects her strict religious upbringing in Jamaica; conquers New York, Paris, and the 1980s; answers to no-one; and lives to fight again and again.
want no press anywhere near me.” I didn’t want it to look like a stunt. I made my plans to fly back to New York. Everyone at the label was calling Chris Blackwell, the Island boss, to complain about my behavior. They were moaning about what I had done on the show and how awful and unforgivable it was. Then, after all the attention and front pages, they were moaning that I didn’t want to do any interviews and exploit the situation. First, I’d messed up by acting so bratty, and then I acted up by
great, but he was working very hard at that point. He was burning out, working on a lot of records. That year alone he produced records by Laurie Anderson, Duran Duran, Bryan Ferry, Al Jarreau. The year before he had worked with Mick Jagger, the Thompson Twins, Jeff Beck, and Sheena Easton. It was as if I was next on the conveyor belt. He did the album so fast, inside a month—Trevor had taken twelve times that amount to produce Slave to the Rhythm—and a lot of the material never felt finished.
have stuck in your head. You’re fighting the Bible you hate to read; you’re battling with a God you don’t believe in. It never leaves you, once it has been planted inside you with such force. Once we started to go to the public school, about three miles away, we used to walk between our house and the school, out into Spanish Town, with its dreamlike Emancipation Square still pretending the town was important, the lanes and alleys planned centuries ago busily crisscrossing each other even as they
groomed Afro and lover-man mustache on a huge billboard advertising the station—“If you want the best in New York, listen to Frankie.” It wasn’t just jive, though. He had a real belief in the power of music to change things. He would play the disco just breaking out of the local clubs interspersed with classic R & B: Stevie Wonder, Aretha, Wilson Pickett, Marvin Gaye, and Isaac Hayes. He understood that a black audience wasn’t all the same, one single mass, but was a malleable collection of
goings and staying put. It feels like it could be the center of the universe, but it doesn’t make much of it. It’s all coast, tightly holding in mountains, flavors, plants, music, dancing, growth, enterprise, spice, movement, creatures, violence, bitter history, the Caribbean lilt and cockiness, and a way of stretching and displaying the body that started here and traveled the world. It’s a constantly creative place. Its genius is in its music. There are more producers of music than consumers,