** an interesting write-up** the only feature I had in Vibe Magazine..I remain true to what I say here – decades later. I’m not sure why they used a photo from 1989 for this piece in 2003, but it’s a classic Steven Mesiel shot!
Some Kind of Love. Domepiece, Written by Nicola Vassell
Talk about multi-faceted, Jody Watley has found success as a dancer, singer, songwriter, model, Broadway actors fitness video instructor, and labor founder. At only 17, the Los Angeles High School grad turned a dancing stint into a singing career with Shalamar which debuted on the charts in 1977 with Uptown Festival (Part 1) and followed up with hits like “The Second Time Around” and “This Is For The Lover In You.” After a less than amicable parting of the ways in 1983, Watley went solo. Fueled by her avant grade appeal and songs like “Looking For A New Love” her self titled debut won a Grammy for Best New Artist. Her subsequent six U.S. albums included such hits as “Real Love”. Watley who lives on Los Angeles wit her daughter Lauren 20, and son Arie 10, recently released a dance album, “Midnight Lounge” through her own label Avitone and Shinbone Alley / Shanachie Entertainment.
In school, I never had a feeling of belonging, I was quiet, well dressed and smart. Unfortunately, those traits don’t win you a lot of friends, so performing became my outlet. I was always determined to not just make it, but to stand out. After being in a group where I wasn’t always a part of the decision making, I wanted my solo efforts to come from a position of strength. Back then, there were no Black females making the type of artistic statements I wanted to make. I made a conscious decision to make my first two soli albums uptempo. I didn’t want anything to be reminiscent of Shalamar.
At a certain point, there was pressure from my record company to work with specific producers, but I was stubborn. Even my collaboration with the god of hip-hop Rakim, on “Friends” made the label very nervous. But I did it because I was a true fan of his. No other rapper has a voice like his – and I knew that long before Truth Hurts.
I just held true to what I believed, and that’s hard to do. Art and commerce don’t always mix. If you’re an artist, inevitably you’ll want to change to set a path for others to follow. To be a celebrity is one scenario, but to be an artist, there has to be a defined vision. You have to believe when no one else believes, and be fearless in your efforts. I feel good knowing I was one of the first girls to work it with my attitude, flavor style and most importantly my individuality.