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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 Sunday Wattage. Relax.

A blessed and hopefully relaxing Sunday to all .. if you’re working unwind when you get home. Practice wellness and self care.

Wattage!

Jody Watley Noted as Music Pioneer in New York Times Article

Jody Watley is noted as a pioneer and influencer in R&B nothing the significance of the Eric B & Rakim collaboration as contemporary R&B continues to try to find it’s way in the midst of continued Hip Hop dominance:

“R&B Blossoms With Hip Hop in Rear View”

New York Times Feature written by Jon Caramanica

AGMP Announces Jody Watley UK Tour Dates for 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Jody Watley, singer/songwriter/producer/independent label owner, 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, Watley forged the template that is now everybody’s playbook.

Listed as one of Billboard Magazine’s Top Female Artists and Top Dance Artists of All Time in 2018; Winner of the Best New Artist Grammy in 1987, Jody Watley’s entire career has been about looking forward, drawing inspiration from personal heroes and iconoclasts 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.

As an original member and the distinct female sound of the legendary disco soul group Shalamar singing on all of the pinnacle hits; Watley’s 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, 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, Bob Jones,  Soulpersona, Brian Power and Alex Di Ciò amongst others. 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 Jody Watley has focused on both her thriving solo career and the group project “Jody Watley & SRL.”  With musical influences that include Kaytranada, Anderson Paak, and Little Dragon, the music collective has released  chart-topping UK Soul Chart Top 3 singles “The Mood”  and “The Passion” mixed by Italy’s Alex Di Cio.

“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. I’m so excited to bring my show to the UK for these intimate dates – these will be my first concerts in Glasgow and Manchester – and my first full concert in the UK in almost 20 years, expect hits classic and new, deep cuts and one hell of a concert experience with my rhythm section as well as SRL.”

Jody Watley UK Dates Announcement Flyer

Today’s Thought. In The Moment.

Never forget to take a moment of pause to appreciate life despite any challenges or to let those you care about know how you feel. I think this is true more than ever with the increased mass shootings that are becoming all too common in this country.

That said, don’t be afraid to live life, we can’t stress over what we have no control over– always finding your best light in the process. Keep going, keep shining.

Jody Watley. Today’s Musings 80’s In The Sand 2018. New Music and More.

Morning.

Evening dinner with select fans – Wattage Crew full of love and light.

Showtime.

I can take it back to classics from my first two albums for the theme and have a blast make it all still feel new and fabulous.. tonight’s look was tulle and Marc Jacobs.

While continuing to keep it moving with new sounds and music. It’s all good!

Waiting In Vain – Jody Watley

https://youtu.be/T3cjwNLk2Rc

The Passion – Jody Watley & SRL

https://youtu.be/oRXyAfE_ZtU

Jody Watley Palm Springs Pride Event Reflections

About last night.

Just after the show in my dressing trailer at Toucans — Pride event. As a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community and human rights advocate with decades of love and support shown to me – to reciprocate the love is always special

Despite music/sound power outages at the Toucans Tiki Lounge Event.. I was totally fine to improvise and sing some familiar hits accapella as the crowd sang along, it was awesome .. show business is unpredictable just like life – you just keep it moving — everyone was apologetic, I laughed took it all in stride and said I guess we were too hot for the machine – didn’t get to do the house mixes we had planned.. that said, the vibe, the love, energy and roses were appreciated.

Much love to the gentleman who gave me this gorgeous bouquet. Thank you to Nate Allen Smith, John “Havic” Gregory and Rosero McCoy for not missing a beat even when there wasn’t one.

Wattage!!

Remembering Bernard Edwards.

Salute to Bernard Edwards. Birthday Remembrance Born October 31, 1952. Most don’t realize Bernard renowned for his work with Nile Rodgers & CHIC, The Chic Organization, Diana Ross, Sister Sledge to name a few helping redefine soul and disco music in so many ways.

Bernard Edwards also produced 3 songs on my solo debut “Don’t You Want Me” written with my BFF Franne Golde – my duet with George Michael “Learn To Say No” and “Love Injection” – powerhouse drummer Tony Thompson was also on those tracks as well. Before I secured a solo deal I asked Bernard if he’d produce some songs on my debut album and he kept his word, just like George Michael. Having Bernard on board also helped me get signed to have such a respected legend on board and in full support.

Rest in Eternal peace with love and respect to Bernard Edwards, a super nice person to have known.

Originally meeting him when I was in Shalamar I was /am a huge Chic fan and most all of their productions— I fondly recall Bernard gifting me a fabulous pair of red suede #maudfrizon (who was all the rage with fashionistas at the time) – disco roller skates with metallic stars – they were of course very chic! To have worked with him is very special, the music always lives on.