If I told you that a 72 year old woman was in charging of selecting acts for this year’s Meltdown Festival, you might well assume that the event had undergone a seismic change to its music policy.
If I told you that the 72 year old in question was Grace Jones, however, then you’d be quite right to bin those preconceptions.
In her 40 year plus career in the music industry, Jones has carved out quite a reputation for herself, not only for the quality of her music, but also, just as importantly, for her iconic style and innovative videos. And now, with the promise of new music in the pipeline, not to mention her role at Meltdown – and you can probably guess that the singer is in no mood to slow down.
Jones was born in Jamaica in 1948. At 13, she moved to New York to live with her parents. A career in modelling followed with the young Jamaican going on to work with such iconic names as Kenzo and Yves St. Laurent.
Known for her androgynous looks and style, the star eventually gravitated towards music, with Island Records quickly snapping her up. Once she had found her feet in the industry, a series of smash hits followed. Songs like Slave to the Rhythm and Pull Up to the Bumper would catapult Jones to the top of the charts, cementing her place as a household name.
At the height of her fame, the singer bagged a starring role in the 14th James Bond movie, A View to A Kill. Snagging the plum role of May Day (the villain’s girlfriend) Jones gave a typically menacing performance that perfectly complemented Christopher Walken’s portrayal her psychopathic boyfriend.
The singer has won a plethora of awards. In 1999, for example, Jones was voted 82nd on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll. Later, in 2008, the artist was given the prestigious Q Idol Award.
With her iconic style and bold musical style, Jones has been cited as an influence by a whole generation of stars, including Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Solange.
Which all bodes well for the singer’s stint at Meltdown Festival this year. The event is now in its 28th year, and, like its director, the festival has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down. Indeed, Meltdown’s trade mark mix of music, art, performance and film has become an annual highlight of the summer festival calendar.
Jones’s role as Musical Director of Meltdown follows similar stints by a host of famous artists in the past. Since 2000, the event has welcomed David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker, Nick Cave, Patti Smith and Elvis Costello as Festival Director. In 2019, legendary frontman and producer Nile Rodgers (of Chic) took the role as the festival presented one of its funkiest programmes in the history of the event.
Meltdown will take place at the Southbank Centre from the 11th-20th of June 2021. More information on the event can be found here.
For information on other music festivals in London, please click here.