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Jody Watley, singer/songwriter/producer/businesswoman, is one of the architects of 21st century pop. From her groundbreaking marriage of rap & R&B (1987’s “Friends,” a collaboration with hip-hop legends Eric B. & Rakim) to her vision-forward marriage of high fashion, street fashion and music in the ‘80s (long before it became the norm), to her fusion of jazz and underground club culture with keen pop instincts, and the ease with which she crossed and still crosses genre, Ms. Watley forged the template that is now everybody’s playbook. Winner of the Best New Artist Grammy in 1987, Jody Watley’s entire career has been about looking forward, drawing inspiration from personal heroes like Grace Jones, David Bowie, Diana Ross and jazz great Nancy Wilson – iconoclasts who were always ten steps ahead of the pack. The Chicago native’s eclectic repertoire – R&B, hip-hop, House, jazz, pop, drum & bass, ambient, spoken-word – is built on a positive vision and a strong taste for artistic and aesthetic risk. Her self-titled 1987 solo debut – a showcase for her vocal chops and songwriting skills – was a beats & grooves tribute to her club kid roots, from the underground spots she frequented as a teenager to her stardom (while still a teen) as one of the most popular dancers in the history of iconic TV show “Soul Train.” It yielded the chart topping hits “Looking for a New Love” (which launched the Jody-penned phrase “Hasta la vista” into popular vernacular, becoming so huge that Arnold Schwarzenegger jacked it for his signature line in the movie The Terminator), “Don’t You Want Me,” “Most of All,” “Some Kind of Lover” and “Still a Thrill,” whose video was the first (and as yet unmatched) time a pop star flexed their skills at waaking, the underground Los Angeles dance that is a sibling to both breakdancing and voguing. 1989’s Larger Than Life, her blockbuster sophomore album, yielded the hits “Real Love” (whose influential music video – nominated for seven MTV Video Music Awards – was her second collaboration with acclaimed film director David Fincher, the first being her sleek video for “Most of All”), “Friends,” and the sultry ballad “Everything.” They were all huge hits. Like many artists who top the charts, Ms. Watley soon found herself stymied by the limited vision of her label, who wanted to shoehorn her into formula. The albums Affairs of the Heart (1991) and Intimacy (1993) displayed her deepening songwriting skills and singing prowess, as well as her assured experimentation with layered musical textures, but label support was missing in action. The powerful, beat-driven spoken-word track “When a Man Loves a Woman” from Affairs sparked controversy for addressing AIDS and domestic violence long before they were topics of national conversation, and her skittish label turned its back on the track and album. Though Ms. Watley’s artistry continued to deepen and grow, she was hamstrung by her label’s lack of support and their adherence to the same narrow definitions of success that saw her leave iconic R&B group Shalamar at the height of its popularity in 1983. Her own definition of success centered then and now on artistic growth and freedom, not simply replicating whatever was or is hot at the moment. After breaking from the majors and starting her own label Avitone Recordings in 1995, Ms. Watley began collaborating with a Who’s Who of visionary producers and remixers, many of whom were longtime fans and jumped at the chance to work with her: 4 Hero, King Britt, Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez & Little Louie Vega, Mark de Clive Lowe, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Ron Trent, Moto Blanco, and Alex Di Ciò. Thanks to her non-stop touring, her global fan base remains as fervent as ever and they’ve made chart and club hits of Ms. Watley’s indie albums – Affection (1995), Flower (1998), The Saturday Night Experience (1999), Midnight Lounge (2001), and The Makeover (2006) – and her 2014 EP Paradise. For the past five years, the ever multi-tasking Ms. Watley has focused on both her thriving solo career and the group project “Jody Watley featuring SRL.” Much like Prince had The Revolution, NPG, and Third Eye Girl (among many other projects and aliases) as extensions or branches of his music and creativity, Jody Watley feat. SRL allows Ms. Watley another outlet for her artistic expression. SRL members Rosero McCoy and Nate Allen Smith – gifted singers, dancers, and choreographers in their own right – bring their own cool style and vibe to Ms. Watley’s trademark high-energy, all-love live performances, and the trio’s critically acclaimed concerts draw SRO crowds around the world. With musical influences that include Kaytranada, Anderson Paak, and Little Dragon, they’ve released several chart-topping hit singles in Europe, including the Alex Di Ciò remix of “The Mood.” Their forthcoming album will be a seamless mix of dance grooves, funky beats, deep House, R&B, trap, rock, and ambient ballads accented with guitar flourishes. Also in the works is Jody Watley: The Jazzy Sessions, a longtime dream project finally come to fruition. Fans were given a taste of what to expect from that forthcoming EP on the bossa nova tinged cover of Bob Marley’s “Waiting in Vain,” which shot to the top of the jazz charts within weeks of its release. A lilting, gorgeously melancholy take on the classic tune, the track simmers with tension between the longing of the lyrics and the lush, languid music and arrangement. Though some newer fans were pleasantly surprised that Ms. Watley pulled off a jazz tune, longtime fans saw it as simply the artistic thread being pulled forward from Ms. Watley’s show-stopping cover of Cole Porter’s classic song “After You,” from the landmark AIDS benefit recording project Red Hot & Blue, released in1990. What links “Waiting” to the rest of Ms. Watley’s far-ranging and impossible to pigeonhole catalogue (which has seen her hit the charts in every decade of her career, from 1977’s Uptown Festival album with Shalamar to 2018’s “Waiting in Vain” single) is the sincerity and honesty from which it springs. “Everything I’ve ever done has been to be distinctively Jody Watley,” says the pop icon herself, “from my first solo album through right now. Everything that I will ever do always has to be authentic to me, work that I can always be proud of first and foremost. It’s not so much about, ‘Oh, this is going to be popular,’ or ‘Oh, this is going to be a big hit.’ It’s always been so personal to me, everything that I do. And the fans can feel that. They connect with the honesty.”

Jody Watley Finds Her Sanctuary in the Kitchen Amidst the Pandemic – Cuisine Noir Magazine

Jody Watley.

Read the full article on Cuisine Noir

Watch Jody Watley Bring The Healing and More To KTLA Morning News

After a 40-Year Career, Artist Jody Watley Still Shines as an Icon, Influencer, and Entrepreneur

Jody Watley by Tyler Miles.

Nationwide — Today, Jody Watley (respectively Ms. Watley) forever remains relevant as one of the architects of 21st-century pop. She is a well-respected businesswoman, an innovative music maker, and style-forging pioneer who has led the way as an entrepreneur working in the independent music world as one of the few already-established female best-selling artists to produce, create and own her recordings.

Read the full article: BlackNews

District Advocacy Day For Music Artists.

I’m proud to be a GRAMMYAdvocacy #DistrictAdvocate!

Today I join the other Recording Academy members and advocates to urge Members of Congress to take action on key #COVID19 priorities for our music community––access to small biz loans and unemployment benefits for the music community and underserved communities.

Nearly 2,000 members of the Recording Academy are meeting with members of Congress for District Advocate day, the largest grassroots advocacy movement for music.

You can also join the movement and help make a difference.

Legislators are still negotiating the next COVID-19 relief package, and we have to ensure they include critical relief for the music community. We are trying to help make a difference for all music creators and those who work in the industry and are self employed.

Wattage Thoughts. Never Sleep On Yourself.

Always believe in you – keep fighting.

Wattage!

Get Ready For A Jody Watley Takeover On SiriusXM.

Jody Watley SiriusXM The Groove TakeoverIf you’re a SIRIUS XM subscriber – tune in to The Groove August 16, 2020 at 9 am PST / 12 PM PST  – it’s a Jody Watley takeover check out some of my favorite classics including my own!! A special thank you to BK Kirkland.

 

Wattage!

Monday Wattage. Let Your Light Shine

Like I wrote for “The Healing” never let anyone dim your light – and I’d add don’t dim your light to make others feel more comfortable. I’ve been guilty of that a time or two along the way – lessons learned.

Wattage!

Discover Why Music Icon Jody Watley Feels Reading Becoming Michelle Obama Can Help Us Heal During Stressful COVID-19 and BLM Times

Jody Watley Book Pick Becoming Michelle Obama 2020

This is my book pick of the month “Becoming : Michelle Obama.” It’s very relatable to though never being a First Lady. The journey of life from childhood and family, overcoming obstacles, doubts, changing course and our continued evolution along the way resonates very much.

I’m nearly done and will be giving other picks on the heels of July’s pick “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz which I’ve read previously and always a good one to revisit.

 

 

Read the full feature on Black News Scoop: Here

Save The Date. Jody Watley Returns to KTLA 5 Entertainment August 13.

Jody Watley KTLA 5 2020

 

For your calendar:

Tune in August 13, 2020 at 9: 30 AM PST! Stream it live Jody Watley on KTLA 5

 

Wattage!

Jody Watley Classic Rewind. Everything Acoustic Performance on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee 1995

 

Probably my first acoustic performance on television. This TV appearance and performance occurred while  on Broadway doing the hit musical Grease! and to coincide with my Greatest Hits album. Wonderful interview. Rest In Peace Regis Philbin.