” I don’t need the Approval from those that don’t approve of me” –
George Michael – Jody Watley. 1987.
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.
George Michael Greatest Collaborations: