One legend who's not consuming a steady diet of today's mainstream pop artists: Grace Jones. The 67-year-old singer and model recently re-blew everyone's mind at Brooklyn's Afropunk Festival, and now she has an autobiography cheekily titled I'll Never Write My Memoirs on the way. Time Out London's early excerpt (the book publishes September 29 in America; pre-order!) is pretty explosive. Here's the opener:
I come from the underground. I am never comfortable in the middle of the stream, flowing in the same direction as everyone else. I think people assume that’s where I want to be, famous for being famous, because as part of what I do there is a high level of showing off. But my instinct is always to resist the pull of the obvious. It’s not easy.
Trends come along and people say, ‘Follow that trend’. There’s a lot of that around at the moment: ‘Be like Sasha Fierce. Be like Miley Cyrus. Be like Rihanna. Be like Lady Gaga. Be like Rita Ora and Sia. Be like Madonna.’ I cannot be like them—except to the extent that they are already being like me.
I have been so copied by those people who have made fortunes that people assume I am that rich. But I did things for the excitement, the dare, the fact that it was new, not for the money, and too many times I was the first, not the beneficiary.
In one of the most intriguing bits, Jones comments on an unnamed pop star given the pseudonym of Doris. Jones was asked—not sure how long ago—to work with Doris, being promised a lucrative, exposure-tastic payoff. Here's why she opted out:
The problem with the Dorises and the Nicki Minajes and Mileys is that they reach their goal very quickly. There is no long-term vision, and they forget that once you get into that whirlpool then you have to fight the system that solidifies around you in order to keep being the outsider you claim you represent. There will always be a replacement coming along very soon—a newer version, a crazier version, a louder version. So if you haven’t got a long-term plan, then you are merely a passing phase, the latest trend, yesterday’s event.
They dress up as though they are challenging the status quo, but by now, wearing those clothes, pulling those faces, revealing those tattoos and breasts, singing to those fractured, spastic, melting beats—that is the status quo. You are not off the beaten track, pushing through the thorny undergrowth, finding treasure no one has come across before. You are in the middle of the road. You are really in Vegas wearing the sparkly full-length gown singing to people who are paying to see you but are not really paying attention. If that is what you want, fine, but it’s a road to nowhere.
Jones goes on to say Doris—who is Doris?!—"looks lost, like she is desperately trying to find the person she was when she started." More clues: Another mention of being relegated to Las Vegas, although it's still a metaphor, and the fact that Doris channeled Madonna dance moves "almost immediately" after her career kicked off.
Jones goes on to say Doris—who is Doris?!—"looks lost, like she is desperately trying to find the person she was when she started." More clues: Another mention of being relegated to Las Vegas, although it's still a metaphor, and the fact that Doris channeled Madonna dance moves "almost immediately" after her career kicked off. So...