Jody Watley – Talks Songwriting In New Interview

The Jody Watley interview with Carl Wiser Songfacts only scratches the surface of Watley’s extensive history and diverse catalog but definitely a worthy read with some origins of what inspired that aspect of her life and career. We wish he’d asked about writing the poignant “16” covered by Destiny’s Child on their multi platinum “Writing’s On The Wall!” album.

by Carl Wiser – Songfacts

“2022 marks the 35th anniversary of Jody Watley’s groundbreaking debut album, which earned her the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Watley wrote lyrics and melodies on songs like “Looking For A New Love,” “Don’t You Want Me,” “Still A Thrill,” and “Some Kind Of Lover.” They had power and attitude, and some very memorable lines, including one Arnold Schwarzenegger stole: “Hasta la vista, baby.” Watley’s songs were all over the radio, and her high-concept videos garnered lots of airplay on MTV and BET, where she set trends in fashion and dance.

She’s been making music ever since, writing, producing and recording in a variety of genres from R&B pop, dance/club, house, jazz, to ambient electronica, releasing it since 1995 on her own independent imprint, Avitone Recordings. The discography is extensive, with a long list of entries on at least 20 different Billboard charts and many more globally. Among her honors and achievements: six Top 10 Hot 100 singles, 15 Top 40 singles, 13 #1 hits on the Billboard Dance chart, and the Black Music Honors Crossover Music Icon Award. An example of her visionary thinking is her 1989 track “Friends,” a collaboration with Eric B. & Rakim. It was the first Top 10 hit to pair a singer with a guest rapper, and it remains the gold standard. As Watley explains, Rakim was the only rapper she envisioned for the song, and it worked because she gave him the space to do his thing.

Watley is often asked about her videos, her performances, and her style, but rarely about her songwriting, which is at the core of her creativity. We set out to rectify that here. Just days before we spoke, Watley was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from the T.I.U.A School of Business in recognition of her accomplishments in business and entrepreneurship. She also received the Women of Distinction Award from the United Nations Global Women Foundation during the ceremony.” ….