Jody Watley Interview V Magazine Summer Issue 2014

© 2014 Jody Watley - #selfie

© 2014 Jody Watley –  V Magazine #selfie

 

 

jodywatley_V_magazine_Summer_2014_fullimage

Article:

THE IRREPRESSIBLE JODY WATLEY RETURNS WITH A BRAND NEW ALBUM THAT HARKS BACK TO HER FUNK SOUL ROOTS. HERE, THE SINGER REFLECTS ON HER RISE TO THE TOP, WORKING WITH THE WORLD’S GREATEST FASHION PHOTOGRAPHERS AND STAYING TRUE.

Jody Watley at Giorgio’s the exclusive, the exclusive Saturday party at The Standard in Hollywood, where Mick Jagger and Andre Harrell mix and David LaChapelle might be spotted with Daphne Guiness on his lap. Watley is the queen of the venue-she holds court almost every week just past DJ Adam XII’s booth with her friend and Decades cofounder Christos Garkinos. Tonight, the mother of two a self described basketball mom, carpool mom, fabulous mom..” wears all black save for a pair of crystal Jimmy Choo pumps. When she’s in the mood, she’ll fan herself on the dance floor-something she has done since beginning her career as a dancer on Soul Train as a teenager. “I always have my little fan action.” the icon says with a smile. “It’s so glamourous. Eat your heart out Karl Lagerfeld.” Watley shot the video for “Nightlife”, the clubby lead single off her new album “Paradise”, at Giorgio’s.  “I want to inspire people, because people get stuck in a rut.” she says of the music. “Oh, I’m not going out, Oh, the good ole’ days..” And it’s so frustrating. It’s like make new memories! Even if you had a great time ten, twenty, thirty years ago, be fabulous now! You’re alive, Hello!”

The daughter of a Chicago minister, Watley first performed onstage as a child with her godfather, the incredible crooner Jackie Wilson. After relocating to Los Angeles she succeeded in her mission to become a Soul Train regular. In 1977, Don Cornelius the show’s creator and host, selected her to become an original member of the disco super trio-Shalamar, which would record world-class dance-floor anthems like “The Second Time Around” and “A Night To Remember.” Watley left the group after six years, loved to London, and recorded “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” with Band Aid.

After returning to Los Angeles three years later, she signed with MCA Records and released her 1987 solo album “Jody Watley”, co-writing a handful of tracks. It contains some of her most enduring dance music, including the lead single “Looking For A New Love” (which features the popular pre Terminator 2 kiss-off “Hasta la vista baby!”). “Don’t You Want Me.” and “Some Kind of Lover.” She accepted her 1988 “Best New Artist” Grammy-winning over Breakfast Club, Cutting Crew, Swing Out Sister and Terence Trent D’Arby – in a vintage dress and biker jacket painted with her likeness.

‘When I signed to MCA, I didn’t see anybody like who I wanted to be.” she says. “I wanted to do that badass fashion chick that’s just different. And not everybody likes her. And not everybody liked me. “You don’t smile, you’re a black girl, you’re glamorous and you’ve got this cold as ice stare.” While in London she sought out designers like Azzedine Alaia, Claude Montana, Vivienne Westwood, and Jean Paul-Gaultier. “I bought one of the first cone bra’s, pre-Madonna. It’s on the single sleeve of “Don’t You Want Me”. I also bought the huge one that she ended up wearing, but the understated one was more me”, she says.

With her gorgeous mane, lean frame, stunning brows illegal cheekbones and ballsy attitude Watley was the perfect subject for fashion’s top photographers.”[When I first started] the label didn’t want to fly me to New York for my first layout for Harper’s Bazaar” she laughs. “So I flew myself out to shoot with Scavullo!” Steven Meisel photographed the cover of her 1989 follow-up album Larger Than Life. The video for ‘Real Love’ was directed by David Fincher and featured her ruling the runway in menswear paving the way for future acts like Aaliyah and TLC.

“I never wanted to be like anybody else” says Watley who, in the decades that followed never stopped recording, performing and changing up her style and sound. Now she’s writing a memoir, which she plans to finish this year.  “I can only be who I am. Because to me that’s what street is. Street is real.” – Mark Jacobs

 

My blog about the photo used in the piece: Here

 

Jody Watley. Classic Harper’s Bazaar Fashion Feature.

“eye on…rebels”

I believe I’m still a rebel in many ways — always on my own path no matter what. You can’t break new ground if you stay in the box. It’s common for artists to do fashion layouts now — in the early days of my solo career, it was not. I pushed to be in these magazine because my Mom always had fashion magazines in the house. I remember seeing Beverly Johnson, Iman and later Naomi Campbell. I wanted to do that – there was no black artist at the time who was being featured like this. I’m proud to have quietly made it acceptable and coveted. This was my second feature of 3.

Jody Watley. Harper's Bazaar November 1991. Photographed by Andrea Blanch

Jody Watley. Harper’s Bazaar November 1991. Photographed by Andrea Blanch

JODYWATLEY_HarpersBazaar_3_SMALL

JodyWatley_Harpers_91_page3

JodyWatley_Harpers_91_page4

Harper’s Bazaar, November 1991. Interview:

Love Interest ” A lot of people think love songs don’t count,” says Jody Watley. “There’s a feeling that of you’re not singing about the homeless or the environment, you’re not singing about anything that matters.: But, the stunning dance diva explains, “The environment at home is what we bring into the world and we need to look at that before we can solve our other problems.” On her new album “Affairs of the Heart”, Watley is trying to weave her social concerns into the kind of infectious love songs that have filled two platinum albums and won her a 1987 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

Watley wrote or co-wrote most of the songs on ‘Heart’ and also tried her hand at executive producing for the first time. “Win or lose, this one is my baby. Since her early days in the 80’s trio Shalamar, Watley’s reputation has rested on a rebellious fashion sense and a taste for up-tempo,, sexy grooves, but this album marks a shift in emphasis to more sophisticated ballads. She claims the change was inspired by the charming ultranontraditional version of Cole Porter’s “After You, Who?” she contributed to last years Red, Hot and Blue AIDS charity project. “I think I hadn’t challenged myself enough before that”, she says. “Now I’m trying to grow up as an artist.”

This more refined sound is also reflected in a more glamorous look. Just as she sees her love songs as an opportunity to for social commentary, Watley considers style a reflection of something more lasting that the latest fashion. “I passed a high school the other day,” she recalls, “and the kids outside looked terrible, like they had no pride in themselves. I think it would be great if they had someone they looked up to who had a classic quality, because they’re the next generation, and if their minds are anything like the way they’re dressed, we’re in trouble.” With “Affairs of the Heart”. Jody Watley may become our first role model. – Alan Light

 

 

Partying With The Dukes Of Melrose

jodywatley_dukesofmelrosepartyI attended a smashing party this week presented by Harper’s Bazaar and MCM for Bravo Television’s upcoming new series “The Dukes Of Melrose”, starring Christos Garkinos and Cameron Silver of Decades Inc.  A wonderful time was enjoyed by all! Festive music playlist, full bar and delicious hors d’oeuvres

I came out of my basic black and rocked a vibrant green tunic by Stella McCartney – going for an effortless chic vibe. I kept the make-up minimal with a slight smoky eye, lashes, bronzer on my cheeks and a hint of a NARS pale peach color (can’t read the name on the bottom..need a magnifying glass, lol). The studded black MCM clutch gave it the look a hint of edge, as well as a spiked bracelet – fashion forward. My pumps had a hint of orange for an additional burst of color. I almost chose to wear fuchsia pink pumps but really happy I went with the nude, orange and black combo.

JodyWatley_kiss_on_cheek_ChristosGarkinos_BravoTV_DukesofMelroseParty_2013I was so in love with my friend Christos Garkinos of Decades and his red Paul Smith suit. He’s so excited about the show as are all of his friends, clients and family many of whom were in attendance at the Sunset Tower in West Hollywood, California for the soiree and preview clips.

Photo’s: Christos Garkinos via Getty Images

 

Jody Watley. Christos Garkinos. Harper’s Bazaar. Fendi Resort 2013 Reception.

Attended a casually chic cocktail reception at Fendi, The Beverly Center in Los Angeles. Christos Garkinos of Co-Owner of Decades, Avril Graham Executive Fashion and Beauty Editor of Harper’s Bazaar, and Carlota Espinosa CEO and Co- Founder of Styloot.com were co-hosts presenting Fendi Resort 2013.

Jody Watley and Christos Garkinos, Co-Owner of Decades.

Upper left, bottom left and bottom right photo’s: LookbookLA.com

Upper right photo: Jody Watley and Christos Garkinos.

Jody Watley Photographed by Francesco Scavullo. Classic Style.

“..making a substantial dent in the annuals of pop history..” – Harper’s Bazaar, Jody Watley 1988 photographed by legendary Francesco Scavullo.

“The label at the time didn’t want to pay the fare for the trip to New York, not understanding how appearing in a fashion magazine would help sell records or raise the artists profile..but I knew, so I paid for the trip myself. It wouldn’t be long before labels would soon get it. I was familiar with the work of Scavullo because he’d photographed one of my inspirations growing up Diana Ross and I was an avid reader of VOGUE from childhood because my Mom always bought it. ” – Jody Watley

Stylefile. Naomi Campbell.

Naomi Campbell with Jody Watley, 2007.

Growing up VOGUE and Harper’s Bazaar were always in our home thanks to my Mom. I’d cut out and  tape photo’s to my wall of my favorite clothes and models I looked up to, right along with the music artists I loved in various collages. All of them provided inspiration for me; fueling my own dreams to reach for and achieve.

As I got older my love for style, fashion and great models didn’t wane. I appreciate what they do and learned to work my angles through the lens of models like Naomi Campbell captured by renowned photographers..not to mention appreciating the poetry of ‘the walk’ on the runway. Like dancing,  an individual touch is required to be memorable and Naomi took it to another level from other runway icons.

I’ve been fortunate to meet several of my favorite legendary icons and inspirations including Pat Cleveland, Beverly Johnson and Naomi Campbell – all were incredibly nice and gracious I’m happy to say. This photo of Naomi Campbell and I was taken at a charity event in New York in 2007; I was one of the performers and she was one of the hosts. We were equally enthusiastic to see each other after so many years.

She and I had met over a decade before at a party for Herb Ritts I was attending with my former make-up artist Paul Starr. Naomi was one of Paul’s many famous clients. He’d often tell me anecdotes when he used a new lip color or product on me saying “Ms. Naomi loves this..” – that meant he knew I would too. The night of the Herb Ritts party she took my hand with Paul and introduced me to her friends and other models in attendance proclaiming “This is Jody Watley, my big sister and she makes the best music!” That she was a huge fan of my style and music was of course appreciated and yes – I thought it to be very cool. Even when you’re a famous person – you can still be a fan and have mutual respect..and gush a little.

Naomi recently celebrated her 42 birthday – and of course is still every bit of fierce. Happy Birthday Ms. Naomi!

Check out the photo gallery via British VOGUE: http://www.vogue.co.uk/spy/celebrity-photos/2009/08/26/style-file—naomi-campbell/gallery#