I needed a couple of weeks to decompress, relax, unwind and reflect on my experience being a part of the David Gest Presents Legends of Soul Tour. My hat is off to him for being passionate about soul music and it’s veteran artists by doing a tour like this. It boggles the mind that there are not more of these types of tours with a variety of artists with their great hits.
If you followed my posts you’ll know it started off a bit rocky for me. When I look back over the time I was away, in my head I equate it to being a child having gone to a sleep away camp and surviving it. I experienced missing my loved ones, friends and daily routines. Even in the best hotels – there’s no place like home. Thanks to Paul Williams Jr. we were all turned on to the MagicJack phone app – free international calls, though the time difference was always a challenge. Being honest there was shedding some tears of loneliness of being on the road, feeling outcast initially because of my quiet demeanor which didn’t sit well with some, not having my friends, band and crew, etc. You should know I was raised in a fairly quiet household and I’ve never been accustomed to being around overly amped up people who need to be in someone’s face all the time. Chill. I’m as comfortable being real and in my own skin, as anyone else is in being who they are. We all bring our different experiences and upbringing to every situation. It’s about being flexible and respectful – as I said in a previous post, there’s a time and a place for everything. In my work environment, I have tended to hire people with a certain demeanor for my band and crew. Anyway, this caused feelings of being more vulnerable than usual and totally being out of a comfort zone. The feeling of wanting to go home was strong the first few days. Of course I found the strength I needed and tapped into ‘patience.’ It was awesome to bond with a few people after all. Bryan and Louise approached me one evening backstage and asked me what was wrong in a way that was genuine and caring and not confrontational as I mentioned in a previous post. They were like the little kids on the playground yard that come over to help when something’s gone awry. Compassion and empathy. That was a turning point for me. I’m so grateful to them for being so cool. Ultimately, despite the stress, I had a great time, triumphant in it all, definitely having grown up a bit more – even as a fully grown adult. Imagine that?! We all continue to grow with the inner child that remains alive, facing obstacles, insecurities and dealing with insecurities of others which causes them to act in certain obnoxious ways. Working to overcome obstacles in life no matter what – as much as we don’t like the challenges at times. It feels good when you do and get past something.
I teared up a lot as we drove hundred of miles to and from the venues, often gorgeous historic theaters as I looked out of the windows – forced to think about life and tune out noise at times. I often listened to everything from Stan Getz to Radiohead in my earbuds, as well as my own “Nightlife” remixes. I did a lot of reflecting on being a Mom, the homebody – raising my children my children into young adults; missing them and thinking a bit more about mortality cycles of life. I reflected on my career, what I’ve achieved, what I still want to achieve beyond making records. Generally, I never think about my age unless it’s brought up to me – but I did a lot of thinking about it on this on this trip. I feel ageless most times – well, until I have to reach for my reading glasses! 55, though totally young at heart and in my spirit – half a life lived already and looking ahead to the things I hope to achieve still with all of my past and current accomplishments which include raising to wonderful people of which I’m most proud. Perspective. Looking at the artists doing it in their 70’s..I couldn’t help but wonder if I wanted to be on the road when I hit 70 if I’m so blessed. Anyway, back to my daughter and son -they’ve traveled with me to places around the world and that fact made me smile – and cry! Maybe the tears were also my fluctuating hormones, which is said with a smile in another nudge of age. I’ve never cried so much in small spurts!! When I’d see a Mom with her son or daughter walking and holding hands, or sharing a bite to eat – tears. I thought about the blessings of my career and to be on tour with artists in their 70’s or close to it who survived touring and sharing the gift of music in a time of segregation always knowing the safe houses to rest in their travels, as hotels weren’t option and the fear of lynching always loomed. I visited the International Slavery Museum – twice.
We are blessed even when things don’t go smoothly – it’s the pushing forward. That’s living. Life.
The view from my hotel suite in Liverpool, I took in many sunrises (insomnia) and a few sunsets on off days. Thankful to be in the moment.
Til’ the Break of Dawn…just after sunrise from my suite Liverpool.
With legendary Candi Staton – I loved watching her perform, she shared great stories one night listening to her and Little Anthony on a long drive back from one of the shows was priceless. Candi at the end of the tour said folks were saying I was ‘the elusive one’ – lol.
Later down the line..
A gorgeous meal at San Carlos with my new friends Bryan, Louise and Alle
San Carlos Interior – GREAT restaurant! Lovely ambience and 5 star food.
Vocalist and best dressed of the tour – Bryan Chambers and keyboardist Alle Pearse.
Our VIP post show hang and “Fabulous Buffet” at the hotel -Legends of Soul Tour.
We were the stragglers, it was really late. Someone said something inappropriate but awkwardly funny..at ‘the fabulous buffet’ Alle was standing on the bar to capture..this was one of the last nights in Liverpool after 3 weeks.
Alle taking the pic..photo courtesy of Louise Marshall.
Paul Williams Jr. of The Temptations Revue and backing vocalist on the tour Louise Marshall as we arrive in Hull at the venue – after a long drive in from Liverpool. Louise also did a great job with her duet with Dennis on “Don’t Look Any Further.”
Arriving to Hull – UK – dressing room dilemmas imminent – lol . A gorgeous theater. Grand staircases always remind me of my ‘Still A Thrill’ video in Paris, France.
I forgot where this was or what theatre – but it was very regal. #selfie (c) 2014 Jody Watley
From earlier in the trip:
Day 2 or 3 in Butlins Bognor Regnoir- the first resort city we played as we worked out the kinks of the show….where my ‘elusive’ reputation was born on the tour.
I’m a big sports fan – so I was happy we got to watch the big game – Butlins Skegness.
I lost the Superbowl bet to Paul Willams Jr. We bet one dollar for fun.
Family time. Louise Marshall with a visit from her beautiful daughter backstage in her hometown of York. Meeting Alicia of course made me weepy for my kids when they were little and would often accompany me for shows. Working Moms – balancing family and career.
More fab light fixtures in York at the theatre…obsessed!
Bryan Chambers was so fashionable. He did so much shopping at one point his new additions required their own seat on the van!
Sometimes the situation called for improvisation due to the lack of dressing rooms to accommodate us all! In life sometimes you have to just roll with it and make things work!
The sign kept calling my name..”International Slavery Museum” – I wasn’t going to go at first because I didn’t want to be depressed – so glad I went as did Bryan who came with me the first time. It was empowering in a surprising and odd way. Made me think of my own resilience in life.
Bryan and I were trying to find the slavery museum amongst many..good thing I had on comfy boots!
African Origins. International Slavery Museum Liverpool.
I also learned that the famous street Penny Lane made famous by The Beatles is named after an influential local person in the slave trade..as are many notable streets in Liverpool.
Made me reflect on stereotypes – and certain elements of marginalization of black women that still exist among other things that crossed my mind..and thinking about the media and society..
Snapped at The International Slavery Musuem in Liverpool, UK. They should have museums like this all over the U.S.
Never lose your identity-there was a time African slaves didn’t have a choice.
A slave torture mask for women slaves who got out of line..it was daunting to think about all of this that went on..and that human beings can be so cruel and think up such horrific things to do and make..
International Slavery Museum Liverpool –Muzzles, whips, punishment collars, torture masks, branding irons – no words. Blessings and prayers of strength to those who remain enslaved physically and mentally.
I was captivated by this painting of a little boy who had stowed away on a Palm Oil slave ship, and taken in by a painter in Liverpool
Phyllis Wheatley, a slave, first published African American woman author
On a lighter note..
Vintage organ pipes – Hull.
I saw many beautiful buildings and lighting fixtures.
I met wonderful fans like Justin and Nilesh.
The divine David Arthur – upcoming artist musician. One of our drivers for the tour.
Dennis Edwards and The Tempations Revue Donny Finley and David Arthur chill at our customary “Fabulous Buffet” in Liverpool.
Matt Kern, Donny Finley, Anders Knudsen and David Arthur
Lots of fabulous architecture and grand interiors in the theaters we played.
The UK still shows music video’s on their music channel which was cool to see. I always had flowers in my room – gifts! Thank you to my fans for the love and taking the time to be so thoughtful. I appreciate it all the time.
A universal message – while I was having coffee in Liverpool and feeling blue – it seemed like a sign for me to snap out of it! I did.
On the road again!
Jody Watley with Nilesh.
He made us all sound great each night – shout out to sound and lights!
Some of the gear..#itsinthemusic
We live for it!
Sheila Ferguson original lead of Three Degrees (When Will I See You Again) having a moment before going onstage.
Donald Byrd – “Places and Spaces I’ve Seen” *most played / “Love Has Come Around” / Best of Donald Byrd
DJ Adam XII Giorgio’s Mix 8/10/13 (for putting on my make-up and vocal warm ups)
Phyllis Hyman – You Know How To Love Me Extended Mix
CHIC – Sister Sledge, various songs
Radiohead – Kid A
Radiohead – In Rainbows
Radiohead – Knives Out, House of Cards
Jan Jelinek avec The Exposures
Stan Getz / Charlie Byrd – Jazz Samba
Getz / Gilberto
Frank Sinatra . Antonio Carlos Jobim – album
Jody Watley Nightlife Remixed
Jody Watley Paradise rough mixes
Jody Watley Global Sessions mixed by Ray Easmon
Andreya Triana – Lost Where I Belong album
Robert Glasper – Black Radio Recovered The Remixes
Foreign Exchange – Call it Home
King Britt Presents Sister Gertrude Morgan – Take The Lord Along With You
Milton Brunson – If I Be Lifted
Michael Jackson – tons of songs on this playlist including Jackson 5
Dance Classics – too many songs to list
Temptations -Song For You album ( Had the vinyl, bought the album on iTunes while on tour as well as Temptation’s #1’s – elementary, junior high and high school flashbacks spurred on by hearing Dennis Edwards sing … I wanted him to sing “Memories” from the ‘Song For You’ album )
Eddie Kendricks – purchased while on the tour – 20th Century Masters Millennium Collection (Tell Her Love Has Felt The Need -yeessss! I was a teen dancing on Soul Train and danced to ‘He’s A Friend of Mine’ – can you spot me?! http://youtu.be/k7HMMjya88I
Anders Knudsen – Perils (purchased a few days before trip ended – love it).
Louise Clare Marshall – Wait For You (gorgeous and soulful)
I’m sure there’s more..but these stand out the most.
I don’t have to travel to far from home!
Yoshi’s Oakland, May 29, 2014. Get your tickets NOW! Experience the ‘Nightlife’. One show. One night, plus VIP Meet and Greet. Paradise Pre-Release Celebration -Hits and More!!
For this week’s #TBT #ThrowbackThursday in social media, I chose this photo from a pageant I’d entered myself into when I was 14. I believe there was scholarship money to be won. It was a fun experience and I remember most of the girls were really nice. Our family was going through financial difficulty and so I made my outfit using the home economics room at school. The fact that a person doesn’t have money and resources should never be a deterrent to doing something in your life and working toward your goals and trying to turn dreams into reality. We didn’t have money to buy all of the professional photo’s therefore I don’t have the other groups of girls nor all of the competition. I also remember that there’s was no money for the commemorative program to take out one of those fancy full pages ads where your family wishes you well. No one in the family took pictures and I suppose back then it wasn’t so unusual. One of the great things about today’s digital technology no one or their children should ever want for photo’s and captured special moments.
Former recording artist, renowned songwriter writer, producer, author (Everything You Better Know About The Record Industry) and filmmaker Kashif is working on a 10 part documentary titled “The History of R&B”, it was a pleasure to sit down an chat about a variety of topics with regard to my career as a solo artist, Shalamar member, being a woman and trailblazer in the industry. It’s always fascinating to me the questions women artists are asked as compared to male artists.
As they were running behind, I crossed paths with Reggi Calloway from Midnight Starr who I hadn’t seen since I left Solar Records and Shalamar in 1983.