I’m behind on posting clips from my recent sold out shows in Japan at Billboard Live – so here goes. This year’s shows include a sizzling and funky Shalamar medley (of which I was an an original member – still unknown and a surprise to fans who only know my solo work). The reason I’ve worked to include a touch of Shalamar in my shows this time around beyond the theme is more classic hits and beyond – is they fit perfectly with the dance funk hints of disco soul found on a few songs on my forthcoming new album tentatively titled “CHAMELEON” (originally conceived because I’ve always changed and adapted but never tried to blend in) though lately leaning heavily on “My Corner of The Universe”; which is what I continue to carve out through my music and what I hope everyone is able to do joyfully as I do with your own lives.
Despite going on at a way past my bedtime 2:00 a.m. – I had an absolutely fun time onstage with French Horn Rebellion at Brooklyn Bowl. My son, who was with me (we bowled while I waited to go on) knew their songs. It turns out their music is in rotation at his part-time job at Club Monaco all the time. Fun, danceable hyper-electronic funk – not unlike Daft Punk to a degree with less marketing, promotion and history is what the band sounds like somewhat – though I don’t like to compare. The reference is only to give an idea of the sound, which is also totally distinctly their own. The crowd was young, not hipster but totally into the music which doesn’t have to be Top 40 to be good or likable. Sprinkled in the crowd were a few Jody Watley die-hards who came out to check things out and support. It’s such a joy to be a veteran artist – and be involved with a young band of artists like this.
I came out mid set and did a brief remix they’d put together of one of my classic hits “Don’t You Want Me.” “Dancing Out” which will be their next single was up next. French Horn Rebellion were quirky and delightful with glowing accents to their denim jackets and glow in the dark custom T-shirts. Their band and onstage crew including a vibrantly hot pink coiffed backing vocalist named Bebe Panthere dancing in floral shorts was just the right touch to add to the vibe. Look for “Dancing Out” and make sure to pick up their EP “Love Is Dangerous (FHRekles Remix).” I came out to sing that one for their last song of the night – such a good vibe.
Brooklyn Bowl is a must experience, if you’ve never been. I’d add they also have great food amidst the entertainment (live music, or DJ’s) and of course – bowling and loved the staff. That sounded like a Yelp review, but it’s true.
Party people in the house!
With Christos Garkinos of Decades Inc, Dukes of Melrose in Dita Von Teese Collection to commemorate my appearance in tonight’s episode of The Dukes.. on Bravo TV along with Dita Von Teese and focus on Jean Paul Gaultier and trendsetters!
Read my Gaultier Blog: Here
The state of music can always be debated depending on a person’s personal tastes. That said, there’s no doubt the bar has been lowered if not obliterated completely in some genres. Today’s rap / hip-hop music is deep in misogyny, promotes violence, drug use, getting drunk, glamourizing death, overtly sexual themed lyrics, how big a woman’s ass is, pumping date rape – as if it’s cool. I’m appalled – where did it all go wrong? Some are heralded for going to prison. Really? It’s one thing to live your dream but it’s another to sell your soul so low without regard for the message or influence just to be ‘popular’ or to make millions of dollars. It’s an outrage that corporations i.e major labels put a lot of money behind these artists and their “messages”, while those with quality and a true love for music and the message languish without support. The fact that these songs are pumped up and out a full blast in shopping malls and boutiques is beyond comprehension as little ones in tow with their parents are subjected to the profanity laced obscenities. It’s a shame really and I’d go as far as to say plain evil. I’ve been an artist for 3 decades and I ask myself what’s really going on in the music business? I believe parents have the primary responsibility for the influence over their children and this goes for extended family and friends, however one can’t turn a blind eye to not just a lack of balance but to the messages being highly promoted and sponsored. An agenda? I say yes.
My song with “Friends” was the first collaboration between a Pop/R&B artist and hardcore hip-hop/rap to feature the custom 16 verse ( I called it a duet when I pitched it at the time) to crossover and become Top Ten Hot 100, R&B Soul and Dance..and all with a timeless message and zero obscenities. I just wanted to make a great song about betrayal. In my head I could only hear the tones of Rakim – it took some convincing to make my label get it. They always wanted me to be “more urban, more ghetto, more street..” – all of which I found marginalizing and insulting but couldn’t see how I related to Eric B and Rakim, I just said ‘trust me – it will work because it’s real.” Luckily, Rakim loved it and was onboard along with Eric B. That’s why I know how artists get sucked into the ‘corporate’ mindset of the imagery they’d like black artists to project. I was never having that and fought to maintain my authenticity.
The video notably blends b-boys, drag queens, and a variety of party people in unity for a good time capturing a slice of New York nightlife at the time. I’m in Jean Paul-Gaultier couture fresh off he Parisian runway that year. A great time was had by all on that sweltering summer day in the village in 1989. Fabulous and street in it’s realness without pandering, being contrived or sending a negative message, certain stereotypes or coonery. Proud.
On this first day of spring, I’ve already been dealing with major allergies. I’m hoping my puffy eyes won’t be as pronounced by this Saturday night’s shows at Yoshi’s Oakland. If not, I have some fabulous shades to wear in true rock star fashion.
The set list is hit packed, including some Shalamar gems I’ve rarely performed mixed in with my own classic hits, sprinkled with some underground, iced with some house, and a new music preview from my 10th album scheduled for release this summer. It promises to be an eclectic night to remember of soul, funk and glam just like a chameleon should do.
Photo: (c): Jody Watley 2013
Current new music includes my recent collaboration with French Horn Rebellion titled ‘Cold Enough.’ I’ll be making a special guest appearance with the electro pop party duo on April 19, 2013 as they begin their residency at the ultra buzzed about Brooklyn Bowl. This is really exciting for me because this is a new audience, young party people. One of the unique things about my musical journey is that it continues to reach a variety of audiences – and I’m comfortable in all the genres and scenario’s. We’ll also preview another collaboration titled ‘Dancing Out’ – another fun song, and I must tell you they’ve done an awesome mash-up on one of my classics ‘Don’t You Want Me’ – it’s going to be a great time. For info and tickets: Brooklyn Bowl – also on the collaboration front I contributed vocals to the forthcoming new album by Dam-Funk coming on Stones Throw (pronounced Dame-Funk aka name is Damon — and he is world renowned in by young music heads as the artist of modern-funk). This is long awaited follow-up to his critically heralded and all around banger Dam-Funk’s classic “Toeachizown” – a must have for the collection. Don’t sleep because there are artists in today’s music scene thriving without an ounce of Top 40 airplay.
Don’t miss ”A Real Fool” from the international musical event I starred in this past fall “Loving The Silent Tears: A New Musical” now available at iTunes. The African inspired groove and song of gratitude is composed by Emmy nominee and Oscar winner Nan Schwartz and Al Kasha with arrangement by Emmy winner Doug Katsaros. The entire soundtrack is gorgeous and spans the globe reflective of the stellar cast of artists including Kay Tse, (China), Heather Park and Brian Joo (Korea), Persian born Siavash Shams, Liel Kolet (Israel), Camellia Abou-Odah (Lebanon), Mark Janicello (Italy), Black Uhuru (Jamaica), Hồ Quỳnh Hương (Vietnam), Fabiana Passoni (Brazil) and more.
On the Jody Watley 10th album front – it’s coming this year for certain. I posted before that I’m not sure if it will still be called ‘Chameleon’ – as the project has evolved along with me..I have other ideas floating in my head with regard to the title and vibe. The state of the music industry and spending time assessing and re-evaluating why I continue to do what I do as an artist are factors. It really is for the love and joy through music — and that’s the feeling I want people to have when listening to it around the world; even if folks are no longer really buying albums – or supporting the veteran acts who continue to progress artistically and beyond the corporate controlled mainstream bubble. That fact has certainly made it less a priority to finish and release however, the music on it so far is too good to not see it all through. It’s feel good music with soul and there’s something still to be said for that. The song I did with Morel was finished last week ‘I Love, Music’ (not the O’Jay’s song, but certainly inspired by that message and era of music. I’ve been dancing around to it since the final mix. ‘Nightlife’ is still sounding as fresh as ever produced by Count De Money out of the UK. The new extended mix will have you pushing rewind. ‘Sanctuary’ is a healing loving song that I’m looking forward to having everyone hear – it’s all about creating an environment of love, I produced that one with my longtime collaborator Rodney Lee. There’s so much more.. forthcoming late spring, summer and fall.
Creativity is a process - not a destination and when allowed runs in and on it’s own time and space. What I do has never been for everyone – it’s just me always carving out my own corner of the universe in my own distinct way. I’m not 70′s Jody, 80′s Jody, 90′s Jody and so on –just and always Jody Watley in the moment.
Yoshi’s Jazz: March 23, 2013
Billboard Live Tokyo Japan, April 10-11, 2013
Billboard Live Osaka, Japan; April 13, 2013
Brooklyn Bowl : Special Guest Appearance with French Horn Rebellion, April 19, 2013
Essence Festival, New Orleans Mercedes Benz Superdome / Superlounge: July 6, 2013
More ‘select’ dates to be announced.
Jody Watley Photo: (c) 2013 Jody Watley
For this edition of Black History Fashion Icons I will be focusing on one of my fashion icons, Jody Watley!
Jody Watley started off her career at just 14 being a dancer on the hit tv show, Soul Train, as a dancer. Jody fast became popular on the show for her killer moves and her trendsetting style…
Read the full post, click the link below
Photo: Steven Meisel