Jody Watley Photographed by Albert Sanchez
In an interview with writer / author Ernest Hardy:
“The past is to be celebrated, of course, but it’s mainly there for us to build on. We’re not meant to get stuck in it,” says Jody Watley about her own rich artistic legacy. In the show & prove style that fans have admired for over three decades, the Grammy-winning hyphenate (singer / songwriter / producer / businesswoman / OG fashionista) is pulling out all the stops in support of her retro-futuristic new album PARADISE. Upcoming tour dates will not only feature inspired overhauls of classic hits and fan favorites, but will showcase the diva’s current creative streak with selections from Paradise – a state-of-now dance-floor scorcher whose lush, upbeat, soulful production and life affirming lyrics are steeped in classic disco/R&B aesthetics (think Chic, Change, Barry White, Larry Levan) while being firmly rooted in the here and now. (The fierce, beat-heavy MdCL remix of “Tonight’s the Night” is the future soundtrack of runways, drag balls and dance-floors alike.) Of the collection’s taut seven tracks she observes, “Long albums, to me, are out of step with the times. Many classic albums of the 80’s had as few as six songs. Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul had four, though they were all ten minutes or more. It was really about the quality, and as always that’s where I’m coming from.”
Quality defines Ms. Watley’s multi-media empire, which includes her record label, music publishing company, several TV production deals currently in the pipeline – and ownership of the Shalamar trademark. Being at the helm of the Shalamar brand allows her to give fans what they’ve been clamoring for since she left the iconic R&B/pop trio. Shalamar was formed in 1977 as a vocal dance trio by Don Cornelius of the Soul Train television show and shortly became a top group with soulful disco sounds. She’s rebooting some of their songs as part of her new set-list, fusing the group’s patented sound (rich harmonies, soulful melodies, funky musical beds and high style) with her penchant for current sounds and underground club movements. Longtime fans will especially appreciate that she’ll be teaming up with Gerald Brown, Shalamar’s original lead male vocalist, for the makeover. (That’s his powerhouse voice on the group’s first hit “Take that to the Bank.”) “This won’t be some oldies revue, though, where we holler out do you remember this?” she laughs. “What we’re doing is about the here and now, about fresh sounds and positive energy. The songs will be classic favorites like ‘Take That to the Bank,’ ‘The Second Time Around,’ and ‘A Night To Remember,’ recent global hit single “Nightlife’ fused with some of the Jody Watley catalogue – but the vision is definitely forward. A show to remember.
Tickets Shalamar featuring Jody Watley and Gerald Brown, November 29, 2014 Cache Creek Casino and Resort: Here
Look for dates to be announced soon for Japan’s Billboard Live to close out 2014!