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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. New Video Upload. Friends Live In Concert 2019

Thanks to everyone who came out to support us live in concert this year. We hope to see more of you in 2020!

 

Tickets on sale now for the first concert of 2020 – The Howard Theatre Washington, D.C.

Jody Watley. Classic Image of The Day. Harper’s Bazaar 1988 Photography by Legendary Francesco Scavullo

Jody Watley Harper's Bazaar 1988 by Francesco Scavullo

Jody Watley 1988 in May’s issue of Harper’s Bazaar photographed by Francesco Scavullo wearing Angel Estrada, hair by Jeff Woodley, make up by John Evans.

I’ve told the story before, but here it is again in a quick snapshot. When my publicist notified that Harper’s Bazaar wanted to feature me in the magazine with photo session in New York by the legendary fashion photographer Francesco Scavullo who has lensed some iconic images over the decades. They had no idea who he was or the additional significance.

this wasn’t a common occurrence in the music business at that time. My label did not agree to fly me to New York for this major opportunity asking me what did being in a fashion magazine have to do with selling records – forget the major exposure, the broadening of the audience, establishing me beyond music as a budding fashion icon and brand or however one wishes to look at things. I didn’t want to miss out and so I paid for my own flights and hotel to do this. Always invest in yourself if you have the means to do so.

Eventually of course major labels embraced the concept and additional prestigious PR and it became commonplace -and of course went even further with black superstar women in music like Rihanna, Beyonce, and more (Ciara, Alicia Keys) gracing the cover of high fashion magazines.

My solo debut was so monumental in a variety of ways beyond the Grammy nominations, winning Best New Artist, the hit singles and more. Always believe in yourself.

 

Wattage!

On This Day. Jody Watley. Happy 26 ‘Your Love Keeps Working On Me.’

Via Steven Houseman Music Chart Facts: November 13, 1993 – 26 Years Ago Today: Jody Watley debuted at No. 100 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart with her single, “Your Love Keeps Working On Me.” This was the R&B singer’s 12th consecutive solo chart entry and despite not budging from the No. 100 spot for 2 weeks on the chart, it did climb all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart becoming her 10th solo Top 20 and 9th Top Ten Dance hit as well as her 6th Top 3. The song was written by John Barnes, Joey Diggs and Robert White.

This single from “Intimacy” continued to add more soulful rhythms and a touch of jazz into the mix. Decidedly less pop on purpose – still top notch, though my label was disappointed at the lack of crossover despite it not being that vein. To their credit, they always for the most part let me be know..with a compromise on my part here and there.

Showing a bit more skin was the label’s idea..that’s a wider ranging topic for my book covering being a woman in music and those unique dynamics.

 

 

One of my favorite television performances was “Your Love Keeps Working On Me” on The Arsenio Hall Show. Slayed it, pixie cut, bohemian, unexpected…folks weren’t ready as usual.

One of my favorite lyrics in the song is “Through you I have learned how to fly..” performing it in concert to this day my spirit gets real connected to the audience because that’s the feeling I get from the support of those supporting what I do.

Gratitude.

 

Wattage!

Experience The Colors Of Christmas With Jody Watley, Peabo Bryson, Oleta Adams and Ben Vereen

Tickets on sale now for the holiday show of the season- The Colors Of Christmas. This is a classy evening of Christmas music with a few hits sprinkled in and the only time you get to see these types of onstage duets and choral performances.

The Colors of Christmas Tix and Info

Happy 26. Jody Watley Intimacy.

One of the positive things that occurs on social media is when someone points to a release that isn’t the obvious. Such was the case today with a reminder and celebration from someone on Instagram that today my soulful and introspective “Intimacy” was released.

Very slept on – but a quality project I remain proud of. When you are an artist and songwriter not wanting to be trapped in the “Pop-star” box and machine – you have to be unafraid to grow and take what others will see as creative risks as personal and artistic growth. Very organic, bohemian .. I was even burning incense onstage, really setting the mood beyond the record. Both “Affairs of The Heart” and “Intimacy” were and are decidedly more R&B though I have never been completely embraced by that audience or part of the industry ..

Each endeavor from my solo debut through recent works always comes with a strong vision and passion of what I want to do and how I feel at the time. Goals change as I change – that’s an artist.

It’s a choice- be authentic, be bold and be happy with your choices or stay stuck in what others want you to do and be. I’ll always be about that authentic true to myself life.

If you missed it – it’s available to open your ears as it’s another that has gotten better with time.

“Working On A Groove” starts it off a very summer feel good song before the some of the stories unfold through the songs. Two R&B hits “Your Love Keeps Working On Me” the spoken word “When A Man Loves A Woman” the psychedelic funk rock “Are You The One” my makeover of “Too Shy To Say” and the house vibes of “Ecstasy” – and several ballads.. I wrote and recorded this as my marriage was unraveling, my heart was broken, it wasn’t what my record label or pop fans wanted — while asking myself so many questions-my art reflected my life at that time.

More mature, less sass and party but all heart and soul.

Available on all digital outlets.

Happy 26 “Intimacy” !

Wattage Thoughts. Practicing Wellness.

Pause.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Stretch.

Release and Unwind.

Repeat when necessary.

You’ll be surprised how rejuvenating stretching can be..at home, working out, sitting at a desk, behind a counter..whatever your job may be you can do it anywhere..good for you and a good way to begin or end a day .. or as a break midway through. Practice wellness each day.

Wattage!

Jody Watley Classic Image of The Day. Trendsetting Style.

Jody Watley 80s Style Magazine feature

I’ve had many styles and looks over the years..no doubt my solo debut looks from the late 80’s are what many emulated back then and continue to with variations of it present day. My thing was black girls, Latin girls and other ethnicities could be edgy, funky and different too. Before it was a thing, vintage or thrift store pieces have always played a role in my personal style and pairing high end pieces with those others may consider as bargain bin. Sunglasses have also always been a staple in my wardrobe, not to mention the signature jumbo hoop earrings. In my in progress memoirs, I cover the politics of being a black girl who didn’t fit the box for the many in R&B, radio (why is she dressed like that?) and media and with some fans. It’s an interesting subject to reflect upon and to have pushed past and in my own way, broken through some of those obstacles.

Fast forward to 2019 and moving into the new decade it’s a good idea to continue to repurpose clothes, mend, buy second hand – it’s good for the environment and your wallet. Always donate, consign, mix it up and be you.

 

Wattage!

Jody Watley. Weekly Digital Music Update. October 25-31.

Jody Watley Spotify November 2019

Weekly Analytics. Contemporary Releases Jody Watley.  Thank you for continuing to listen and discover new songs from my ongoing repertoire – tell and share with a friend!

  1. Borderline (Original Mix from The Makeover)
  2. Nightlife (Classic Soul Soulpersona Mix)
  3. The Mood ft. SRL (Alex Di Cio Mix)
  4. Nightlife
  5. Slowdance
  6. A Beautiful Life
  7. I Want Your Love (DJ Spinna Mix)
  8. Midnight Lounge
  9. Sanctuary (Soulpersona)
  10. Saturday Night Experience (Ron Trent Mix)
  11. Dancer
  12. The Passion ft SRL (Brian Power Mix)
  13. Waiting In Vain
  14. Whenever
  15. Skin Deep

 

 

 

Top Releases

  1. The Makeover
  2. Midnight Lounge
  3. Nightlife Remixes
  4. The Mood ft SRL
  5. Nightlife (Classic Soul Mix – Soulpersona)
  6. Paradise EP
  7. Slowdance Single
  8. The Passion ft SRL (Brian Power Mix)
  9. Paradise – Album
  10. I Want Your Love – Remixes

 

Jody Watley Classics Top 5

  1. Looking For A New Love
  2. Don’t You Want Me
  3. Everything
  4. Real Love
  5. Friends ft Eric B & Rakim

Monday Wattage. Today.

Jody Watley Burgundy Hoodie Smile 2019

Today will never come again..so make it a good one of course for each day. Remember you are entirely up to you. Don’t let the actions of others mess up your day.  Look up, breathe, stretch. Keep going, kick ass – exude that inner light and shine.

 

Wattage!

 

Pass it on.

Welcome November. 5 Wattage Tips.

 

New video vlog for November. Short and sweet – check it out. Wishing everyone the best of the month..and here’s to utilizing those 5 P’s  and always living in gratitude.