Things are always changing and evolving – while certain elements remain. Interesting to watch this interview filmed but never saw the light of day until now..nearly 7 years later.
Despite the lapse in time, there are some great pearls here and really firmly representative of who I am at the core as a person, artist and entrepreneur – still. This consistency goes back to the beginning of my career doing interviews, there is always substance – generally not expected from others. I’ve never wanted to be just some eye candy, put on a dress and do what you’re told.
As a woman in music on this path less traveled and as a human being most of all, it’s cool this interview was finally uploaded. Hopefully, it will inspire others no matter what career path..but especially for young girls wanting to get into the music industry. You have to know yourself, learn who you want to be and never let that be taken from you.
I reference ‘Chameleon’ – which I ended up changing the concept which became ‘Paradise’ – but it’s made me want to upload the title song I wrote for it..
I’ve been fortunate to have solo success in America of course but also other countries in the world including Great Britain / United Kingdom. This is one of at least 3 cover features from Blues and Soul circa 1991.
” I don’t need the Approval from those that don’t approve of me” –
George Michael – Jody Watley. 1987. Image is Subject to Copyright. (c) 1987 Jody Watley
Rolling Stone Magazine, 1991 George Michael, Jody Watley (by this time we shared the same manager at the behest of George) and legendary songwriter Bernie Taupin.
When trying to get a solo deal in the U.S. after leaving the group Shalamar in 1983 each meeting I went in with a plan, who I wanted to collaborate with, demo’s, what my vision was .. no ones ingenue.
I told them George Michael was on board to do a duet with me..certain execs scoffed – didn’t believe it, pop superstar of Wham already agrees to do a song with you and you’re unsigned – ok yeah right was the tone. I’d asked George at Band Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas” if I ever got a solo deal would he do a duet with me because that day he told me how much he loved my voice – I gushed how big of a fan I was of Wham – and loved his voice too- we kept in touch speaking on the phone often – George said yes and kept his word when it happened which said a lot about him,he’d become an even bigger superstar but was still down with what he’d agreed to several years before.
Centerfold Band Aid Special Edition Magazine. The historic single “Do They Know It’s Christmas” Band Aid.
The song “Learn To Say No” was produced by Bernard Edwards (Chic, Power Station) – this photo is from that session considered one of his great collaborations, it was fun, I’m honored to be amongst his work. It was a single because his lable said no.. industry politics — spent most of Christmas day offline present w family enjoying the day…deeply sad and shocked to see news about George Michael – another great one gone too soon- couldn’t /can’t believe it – reading it is surreal. I’m deeply saddened and really just like -wow 2016 not another one — nice man, gifted singer, songwriter, producer – as well he stepped out against the changing climate in major label culture when CBS became Sony and he felt under supported by the new regime. As an artist also seeing the changing infrastructure of labels (my label MCA became Universal Music Group) – George was on the front lines. Losing the case – he had to pay a whopping 40 million dollars to get his release. That’s a lot to recover from while wanting to push an artistic vision while fighting for respect, and trying to overcome the ‘ole boys network’ that runs this industry. For more on that read: here
..glad to have known and worked with him. I too remained a massive fan and was looking forward to whatever he created next and his triumph of personal and health woes. Prayers to his family, friends and fans who all loved him so much. His stellar music will live on. The media as it does, often exploited his tribulations in recent years with less attention on the great artist, songwriter, producer he was. I believe he wrote the classic ‘Careless Whisper’ at 17..17. When Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 was released – one of my favorites..no sexy photo, wanting to remove himself from videos and the expectations of the past..it resonated with me then and now. His boldness is undervalued. Artistry.
Life is precious – cherish each day and those you love. Don’t waste it on how others think you should live it, each of us has our own journey, fulfill your dreams, make new memories, laugh, love, spread kindness and joy – it’s not the years of life but life in the years. Love to all.
It was an honor to be included in the historic “The Black Issue” of my favorite fashion magazine VOGUE Italia in 2008.
Rest in peace Franca Sozzani, Editor in Chief Vogue Italia a true visionary. The layouts were always second to none and forward thinking. The Black Issue was her way of trying to address the lack of diversity in fashion.
I’m eternally grateful that Ms. Sozzani chose for me to be a part of this bit of fashion history. My condolences to her family, her son and friends who knew her best.
I just wanted to thank those of you who follow my posts. Wishing everyone a blessed holiday season.. it’s a very sad time of year for so many.
The victims of the Oakland fire – young people just going out for a good time, artists just trying to make a living and live their dream. You never know in life. Those families are still on my mind and in my prayers – not to mention so many losses due to tragedy, from Aleppo to Chicago to Oakland and beyond. This year should remind us all how unpredictable life can be. As an artist and someone who has sought out less commercial clubs to dance – just as my daughter does and many of you may very well relate. She knew 3 of those of lost their lives and nearly went to that club that night..and so it especially hit close to home.
My message is always to cherish each day – no matter how stressful, imperfect or trying to the nerves things can be..keep moving forward and let those you love know it – show it. Give to someone in need..by kindness as a starting point.
Let the holidays and the forthcoming new year simply serve as not so gentle reminders of what means the most in life – the ultimate gift. Moments – not things (unless it’s the little ones..and I do miss the whimsy of those times through a child’s eyes)..though even then..it’s the moments that will live on long after the gifts have been received and wrapping paper tossed away. Keep people in your life that bring joy.
With the Queen of Soul #ArethaFranklin at her annual Christmas Party in Detroit -it was an elegant and loving event-a night to remember for real! . In our journey and history (most don’t know about) she reminded me I gave her my high school graduation photo and signed it to her and that she still has it…I gushed about what an honor it was to sing for her and thanked her for believing in me before I was a professional artist myself and that I loved her – she saw something in me early on and I’ll never forget that or the meaning of that -Then- When she looked Nate and Rosero of #SRLShalamar Reloadedafter I introduced them to her she smiled and said “Alright Ms.Jody!” 😊❤️️ We both laughed. She looks beautiful too by the way!
SRL (Shalamar Reloaded) and I with the Queen of Soul before our performance.
Jody Watley with civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. and Shalamar Reloaded (SRL).
In full effect. Jody Watley and SRL (Shalamar Reloaded).