Having enjoyed a successful modelling career in Paris and New York in the early 1970s, Grace Jones released a series of singles throughout 1975-1976. None of them, however, managed to succeed in mainstream charts. Jones secured a record deal with Island Records in 1977 and found wider recognition only with her debut Island LP, Portfolio.
Portfolio reached number 52 on the Black Albums Chart in the U.S., while climbing to number 109 on Billboard's mainstream albums chart. It garnered more attention in Europe, entering top 10 in both Italy in early 1978 and the Netherlands in 1983.
"I Need a Man" was Jones' debut single, originally released in 1975 by the minor French label Orfeus. It failed to make any chart impact until two years later, when it was re-recorded and released via the Beam Junction label, becoming a number 1 dance hit in the U.S. and introducing Jones to club audiences, primarily gay.
The second single, "Sorry", was released a year prior the Portfolio album, and was a modest success on the U.S. singles chart. Its B-side track, "That's the Trouble", also received a separate A-side release. Both songs were Jones' first forays into songwriting.
"La Vie en rose" was released as a single in autumn 1977 and became the biggest hit from Portfolio, having charted in the French and Italian Top 5. When re-released in 1983, it reached the Top 5 in the Netherlands.
"What I Did for Love" became a top 10 dance hit in the USA.