Grace Jones is a Jamaican-American supermodel, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. Born in Jamaica, she moved when she was 13, along with her siblings, to live with her parents in Syracuse, New York. Jones began her modelling career in New York state, then in Paris, working for fashion houses such as Yves St. Laurent and Kenzo, and appearing on the covers of Elle and Vogue. She worked with photographers such as Jean-Paul Goude, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, and Hans Feurer, and became known for her distinctive androgynous appearance and bold features.
Beginning in 1977, Jones embarked on a music career, securing a record deal with Island Records and initially becoming a star of New York City's Studio 54-centered disco scene. In the early 1980s, she moved toward a new wave style that drew on reggae, funk, post-punk and pop music, frequently collaborating with both the graphic designer Jean-Paul Goude and the musical duo Sly & Robbie. Her most popular albums include Warm Leatherette (1980), Nightclubbing (1981), and Slave to the Rhythm (1985).
Jones appeared in some low-budget films in the US during the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984, she made her first mainstream appearance as Zula in the fantasy-action film Conan the Destroyer alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Douglas, and subsequently appeared in the 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill as May Day. In 1986, she played a vampire in Vamp, and acted in and contributed a song to the 1992 Eddie Murphy film Boomerang. She appeared alongside Tim Curry in the 2001 film Wolf Girl.
Muse was the last album of Jones's disco trilogy recorded with producer Tom Moulton, which began in 1977 with debut Portfolio. As in the case of two previous records, the first side of the album is a continuous medley of four songs, joined by a narrative about someone who has sinned. The second side, however, consists of disco songs with no lyrical relation to one another. All album art, including the cover image, is by Richard Bernstein.
The album features a re-recorded version "I'll Find My Way to You", which Jones released three years prior to Muse. Icelandic keyboardist Thor Baldursson who arranged most of the album and also sang duet with Grace on the track "Suffer" had previously worked in Munich, Germany with disco stars such as Silver Convention, Boney M., Donna Summer, Amanda Lear, and Giorgio Moroder.
Although having established herself as a performer with a string of club hits in the US and a large gay following, Jones had only achieved very modest commercial success with her first three disco albums. For Warm Leatherette, Jones went through a musical and visual reinvention. The singer teamed up with producers Chris Blackwell and Alex Sadkin, and Sly and Robbie, Wally Badarou, Barry Reynolds, Mikey Chung and Uziah "Sticky" Thompson, aka the Compass Point Allstars, for a record that would be a total departure from disco and an exploration of new wave music, blending reggae and rock.
Warm Leatherette was the first of three albums recorded at the Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas. According to John Doran of BBC Music, Warm Leatherette is a "post-punk pop" album that, "delved into the worlds of disco, reggae and funk much more successfully than most of her 'alternative' contemporaries, while still retaining a blank-eyed alienation that was more reminiscent of David Bowie or Ian Curtis than most of her peers.”
The album included covers of songs by The Normal, The Pretenders, Roxy Music, Smokey Robinson, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Jacques Higelin. Blackwell intended to make a record with "a harsh sound that was heavy with Jamaican rhythm". Sly Dunbar revealed that "Warm Leatherette", the first song on the album, was also the first to be recorded with Jones. For Jones' version of "Breakdown", Tom Petty specially wrote a third verse for the song. The album included also one song co-written by Jones, "A Rolling Stone", and one French track, "Pars" (French for "Leave"), a reggae re-imagining of Jacques Higelin's song. "Pull Up to the Bumper" was also recorded during the sessions for Warm Leatherette, but its R&B sound was found not fitting in the rest of the material and so it appeared on Jones' next album, Nightclubbing in 1981.
In 1974 Grace Jones was in a French TV commercial for a car called Citroën CX. Unless you lived in Europe, you may have never heard of the car. Though it was a popular foreign model in the U.S. during the 1960’s, the car hasn’t been sold in the U.S. for over 40 years. This is because, back in 1974, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officially prohibited passenger vehicles with height-adjustable suspension in this country. If you’ve seen a Citroën on the street, most of the time it looks like it’s barely a few inches from the ground.
In Europe, the CX, which was first introduced in 1974, was a huge success for a while. However by the mid-80’s, sales were slipping, so the company employed Grace Jones and her then lover, Jean-Paul Goude, to create a new TV campaign for their then new CX GTI Turbo model.
For a 45 second spot, its bold and striking, and, at the time, there hadn’t been another car commercial like it, nor has there been anything like it since then. In fact, the commercial was actually banned in several countries because of what they deemed “excessive speeding”.