Look back to remember what you’ve enjoyed and appreciate of your younger self – but also what you’ve learned. Look at how far you’ve come while continuing to move forward from where you are today. – Jody Watley
Celebrating 25 years of my second album. Most fans think of my solo debut as the breakthrough and it was – as well as being trendsetting in style and video. However my second album is the one that was really quietly the most pioneering and to me overshadowed. My infusion of high fashion, commercial ad campaigns and layouts – uncommon for any black artist at the time, and only by one other Madonna. ‘Larger Than Life’ ushered in a raised bar for other female artists that would follow. The pioneering “Friends” featuring Eric B & Rakim; the first to feature Pop/R&B/Hip-Hop 16 bar verses and crossing over R&B, Pop, Dance, Hip Hop – as well as a genre crossing video featuring transgender, drag queens, underground club culture, B-Boys and Girls, voguing and Jean Paul-Gaultier couture blended into a mix of high end and street chic as well as my highest charting ballad ‘Everything.” There was no press release to stir controversy and bring attention about the casting of the video – for me it wasn’t about that. Everyone in the video was real, friends of friends – not models or professionals. Tyrone Procter helped cast it. Eric B and Rakim called some of their friends. What I wanted to represent the types of clubs I liked dancing at full of of types of people united by the music and stepping out in style to get down on the dance floor. It was a real club scene in the west village on a hot summer afternoon in NYC. It went over the heads of a lot of people..my label didn’t know what to make of it, and weren’t happy with it – but let me do what I envisioned and I’m thankful.
I also found success overseas in the Japan, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom among others as well. It was always a challenge because I wasn’t the typical ‘urban black artist’ and was always in a struggle to shine on my own terms, remaining true to myself, wanting to have standards, authenticity to my artistry. 25 years later this is still true in everything I do whether on the commercial radar or not. It’s true no matter what your job or career is – be the best you.
“Real Love” which remains one of MTV’s Most Nominated Video’s and “Most of All” are featured on the Top 28 David Fincher video’s : HERE
Photography: Steven Meisel
Makeup: Francois NARS
Art Direction: Lynn Robb and Jody Watley
Produced by Andre Cymone
Executive Producer: Jody Watley
In an ongoing music journey, it was cool to come across this review from September 2001 DJ Magazine for the single “Saturday Night Experience.” The single was lifted from an import released I recorded for Japan “Jody Watley Presents The Saturday Night Experience Vol. 1″ – at that time I was ready to step away completely from music – instead stepping away from commercial minded music and all that goes with it. Quality has never waned, when popularity may have.
Most artists will say they don’t read reviews or are not big on reviews – but will admit that it’s a good feeling when you read a really positive one like this where the writer really gets in the music at hand. This was another music pivot for me and began my exploration and shift into underground club electronic fused with nu skool jazz, drum and bass and other ambient sounds. I listened to single to Giant Step, purveyors of quality eclectic and soulful music offerings through my Avitone imprint established in 1996 – also with a mantra of fueling quality music.
Shout out to longtime collaborator and music director/keyboardist in my band Rodney Lee (we wrote and produced the original together)..Ron Trent, and Blaze – still love these..available at iTunes and various digital outlets.
Ron Trent Vocal Mix – http://youtu.be/jAYZdAy9t-o (available on 2003’s critically acclaimed ‘Midnight Lounge’ album)
Original: https://soundcloud.com/jodywatley/saturday-night-experience-original-mix –Shelter Mix — http://youtu.be/TZsbDOmkTUk
From Ebony.com –
“From Lenny Kravitz to Rihanna, here’s 25 of the most influential style and fashion icons in Black Music” See the full list, including Jody Watley named “Trendsetter” Here
There are few artists that can say they’ve had a song “Jody” (by Jermaine Stewart), a top “The Jody” by Christos Garkinos for HSN, and now a designer shoe – that’s me Jody Watley.
I met shoe designer Jerome C. Rousseau on the dance-floor at Giorgio’s in Hollywood on the Sunset Strip. He was so shy, sweet and modest telling me how my style and integrity have inspired him since he discovered my music. As soon as discovering his talent and design, I’ve become a major fan of his. His shoes have a special quality and as I told Billboard Magazine “You feel like a Queen with an edge.” It’s fantastic that Billboard is going outside the box and recognizing at last the connection between style, fashion and music. What caught their eye is the younger artists and actresses rocking ‘Jerome C. Rousseau’ on the red carpet. Move over Louboutin!
Little did I know, he’d do a tribute shoe to me “The Watley”..in typical understated fashion I was in attendance at a trunk show at his Hollywood atelier — when he quietly said “I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve designed a shoe in your honor.” I’d already ordered the shoe on display. Turns out he was on the money! You can order your “Watley” from his Fall 2014 Collection.
“Always wear your inner crown – and don’t let anyone bring you down!” – Jody Watley
#TBT #ThrowbackThursday #JodyWatley #Classic
Had a fab time at last year’s Essence Festival 2013 at the Mercedes Benz Superdome. Here’s a clip of Gerald Brown, a fellow Shalamar original and I performing an impromptu version of “Take That To The Bank.”
#TBT #ThrowbackThursday #JodyWatley #Shalamar #EssenceFestival