I haven’t been in the studio in months, realizing a much needed a break was n order. Since the age of 5 it seems I’ve been working to toward something. Though always being careful to build a life and not just a career – it occurred to me that my enthusiasm had waned. Not about the music, because I love the music and creative process; it’s the business of making music, the dark and sinister side, the politics. Additionally, the desires of some fans for artists to remain in the box they have constructed in their minds. Those desires are based upon their personal likes and preferences of you in the past. It’s even harder the older an artist gets, and I’m realistic about it. I’ve long gotten past the unwillingness to grow and listen to me with an open mind; to meet me where I am and not where I was every step of the way. Evolution is a part of artistry and the only game I play is my own. Peaks and valleys come with the territory especially if you’re trying anything new. All I can ever want to be is myself – distinctly Jody Watley each step of my journey, that includes what’s coming next with ‘Chameleon‘ which really brings everything full circle in many ways. I’d like to do something special, as I did with ‘The Makeover’ in terms of release, and so careful consideration is given to that aspect as well.
It’s bizarre to see and hear of so many of music’s great young talents and executives leaving the earth so prematurely, most recently young mega executive Chris Lighty. It’s a bit disturbing to be honest, and very sad. We all have bad days, it’s a part of life but depression is real, and should be discussed more. Beyond the facade of expectation from others help should be sought and it’s not – some can’t pull themselves out of the deep hole of despair. If not careful, the lifestyle of the music business can rob and destroy souls and spirits — regardless of if you have millions in the bank or just starting out. It’s dog eat dog – people will chew you up and spit you out in the business. This is why I do things as I do them..at my own pace not caught up in the highs or lows; never worried about being seen all the time or judged. Being a Mom has kept me grounded, as well as my own history growing up. As I wrote recently – having balance in my life hasn’t been easy but I made it a priority and have sacrificed a lot…but I am happy about my choices given what I know about this business and how it really is.
Being in the studio it felt great to finish a song like ‘Nightlife’. I danced up a sweat in the vocal booth. People have loved the song when testing it live or from the music snippets on Youtube. ‘Nightlife’ is inspired by classic disco funk. When songs were songs – and also made people dance. I also nearly completed another inspired by The O’Jays “I Love Music” and a commercial I remember as a little girl for Coca-Cola I believe “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” – now in need of an African or multi-cultural children’s chorus of singers to enhance the international vibe of the song. I’m so excited about this, having never done anything like it. This is still music you can dance to – rooted in the classics 70’s and 80’s where songs still mattered and not just the groove.
I must say it’s been nice to test some of the new songs from the work in progress “Chameleon” in a live setting here and there over the past year; which led to additional inspiration in my creative process. Though music isn’t selling much anymore and commercial radio hasn’t been the same since deregulation in the 90;s (which is a bit of a drag). The fact that I don’t have a scandal or controversy to generate headlines (a near requirement it seems) is also something I’m aware of – and those things drive consumer awareness. However, my love and passion for music hasn’t waned regardless of the decline of the music business and marketing challenges. In fact, I respect the value of wanting to write and release quality music for the people who still care and appreciate it; not to mention doing work I can be proud of. This music is for an audience who appreciates what I still have to offer as an artist, writer and performer – and those who may discover me for the first time. To create what is authentic to me is always at my core. My intentions as a solo artist and my initial desires remain the same as far as creating music goes – sales and popularity or not.