Why I Sing the Songs of Grace Jones -- Literally and Figuratively

February 3, 2015 7:49 PM

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From the age of three or four I knew I was different from the other little girls. I had a very low, husky voice; even lower than all the boys in my pre-school class. I used this to my dramatic and comedic advantage, with constant encouragement from my theatrical parents. At the dinner table I would morph into this sophisticated, older British woman, or a weathered, Southwestern cowboy. I had this Joan Crawford-esque alcoholic character I would step into (before I knew what an alcoholic was). An old home-video shows a group of about 15 five year olds sitting around a birthday party table. As soon as I felt the camera on me, I exclaimed, with a dramatic gesture, "Please give me a drink. I would love one!" (Someone, pass the apple juice!).

I also knew, from an even younger age, that I was born to sing. But growing up in my tall, thin body, with my low voice, proved to be a real struggle at times. I was told my voice didn't "match" my look. I was rejected from the children's choir at the local music school because my voice was too "dif...

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